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small-business-tables-occupied
Given the current global health crisis, many small businesses will now be needing the assistance of a Ch. 11 bankruptcy in order to stay in business.

Small businesses often struggle to reorganize effectively under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. To address this issue, Congress passed the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019, effective February 2020. The Act aims to make small business bankruptcies faster and less expensive, thereby making Ch. 11 a viable option for small businesses who previously could not afford to take advantage of Ch. 11 reorganization.

The Act applies to business debtors with secured and unsecured debts totaling less than $2,725,625. However, the CARES Act temporarily increased the debt limit to $7.5 million for cases filed on or before March 27, 2021 – so for the next full year.

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credit-confid-infoWhen you have an apartment or employment denial, you can call the numbers listed below for the screening company and request a copy of the background report:

  • Accurate Background, Inc. – Irvin, CA 800-216-8024
  • First Advantage Corp. – Atlanta, GA 800-845-6004
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pslfThe American Prospect published an article yesterday about our Lawson-Ross Public Service Loan Forgiveness (“PSLF”) success in the 11th Circuit – which was very persuasively argued by Dan Zibel of National National Student Loan Defense Network.

Two quotes that should give student loan borrowers comfort and should give pause to servicers spewing false promises:

Yet, too often the loan servicers have every incentive to put their financial needs ahead of borrowers’ best interests. Servicers are paid a flat fee per loan in their portfolio, leading to chronic underinvestment in customer service. This dynamic leads the loan servicers to shunt students into less affordable plans or botch simple paperwork rather than take the time to get consumers into the right plans that best match their individual situations.

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Covid-CARES-ActThe CARES Act was designed to help protect consumers’ credit reports from the massive job loss and economic harm caused by COVID-19 business shutdowns.  The idea is to ensure that someone’s credit is not impacted by a temporary inability to pay bills.  While the CARES Act is helpful for this, there are a couple gaping holes as explained below that will not protect everyone’s credit during these times.

Basically, this Act added a new subparagraph (F) to 15 U.S.C. Section 1681s-2(a)(1) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”).  This applies for anything that is a credit obligation including credit cards, auto debt, medical debt, home mortgages etc.

These temporary protections are only in effect for 120 days from March 27, 2020.  A couple areas of concern are in bold below:

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Will-or-trustWILL OR TRUST: HOW TO TELL THEM APART.

People are often confused about whether they need a will or a trust. The following list helps you to understand their differences, but you should consult an attorney to make sure that one of these devices is appropriate for your set of circumstances:

  • A will covers any property that is in your name when you die. It cannot affect property held jointly or in a trust.
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penny-hoarderMost everyone has heard of the forbearance on student loan payments until September 30, 2020 due to COVID-19 – but like everything, there are nuances to this.  I was fortunate to be interviewed to participate in Tiffany Connors’ very insightful article, 5 Questions to Ask Before Deciding if Student Loan Forbearance Can Help You” for the PennyHoarder which went up today.

Lots of good advice on whether forbearance applies to your loans, and the pros and cons of accepting it.  I’ve been following PennyHoarder for years and it’s a great publication for those wanting to become debt free and live an independent life!  In fact, I’m typing this blog now while camping at Fort DeSoto in Pinellas County, Florida – my husband is out paddle boarding but since it’s near 90 out at noon, I’d really rather be doing this!  But I do like looking out over the water!

Also there are more helpful tips on using the CARES Act to help manage your student loans appear in our past few blogs if you’d like to scroll back through a few.

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money-talks-1010I was super pleased to be interviewed recently on the radio show Money Talks.  In our 4/29/20 radio interview, we spent approximately 30 minutes covering some things people can do to address debt during COVID-19.  This includes student loan and mortgage forbearances and limitations under the CARES Act, discharging private student loans in bankruptcy, protecting and restructuring debt in a small business Chapter 11 under new rules and on and on.  Take a listen.  Maybe you’ll learn something you didn’t know before and can make this time work for you to reduce debt.

Please check out our News page where this interview is linked.

 

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small-business-openAs a small-business owner, you may have been especially hard-hit by the recent global health crisis. When revenue drops unexpectedly, it can be hard to keep a small business afloat.

At Christie D. Arkovich, P.A., we understand what you are going through. We are committed to helping you reduce your debts and regain control of your finances while keeping your doors open.

Our attorneys have many years of bankruptcy experience, including Chapter 11 cases of all types.  One of our attorneys also has an MBA, and her on the ground experience has helped many businesses over the years get back on their feet.

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heroes-actWe’ve been advocating for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (“PSLF”) to be fixed for a few years now.  Our class action lawsuit against Navient went nowhere, but the one against Great Lakes has been commended for a ruling last month by the 11th Circuit to help hold federal student loan servicers accountable when they talk to their borrowers:  like how their loans would be impacted by various programs for instance.  Something you’d expect a servicer to get right.  So when a servicer tells someone that their payments count toward PSLF, you can rely on that.

It’s now possible that Congress may work to fix the very serious problem where not all federal loans are treated the same.  Fixing this via legislation will impact a whole lot more borrowers than individual or even class action lawsuits.

Enter the proposed HEROES Act which would address problems with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which allows qualifying public servants to get their federal student loans forgiven after 10 years of repayment. Currently, only Direct federal student loans are eligible for forgiveness under the PSLF program. Borrowers who have commercially-held FFEL-program federal student loans and Perkins loans do not qualify unless they consolidate those loans via the federal Direct consolidation program. By consolidating, however, they would erase any progress towards the 10 year repayment period and would effectively be starting over. The HEROES Act would allow payments made prior to consolidation to count towards PSLF.

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