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Do I Qualify for Debt Help?

Did you know that 40% of Americans report worrying about their debt? Given the pervasive concern over consumer debt, it’s not surprising that more and more debtors are looking into professional debt help programs. Such programs assist consumers in managing and repaying their debt affordably and in a timely manner. Consumers interested in debt help might hesitate to sign up for assistance because they’re unsure if they will even qualify for the service. Because every debt management program is different, there are not universal qualification requirements for all such programs. In this post, we will discuss the eligibility requirements of the three main forms of debt help: debt consolidation, debt negotiation, and credit counseling.

Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation is typically offered by a for-profit company that can apply reduced interest rates to consolidation customers’ accounts. These companies have negotiated lower rates with most major creditors, and these rates are available to consumers who sign up. Every consolidation company has different prerequisites, but consolidation companies tend to require the following of their customers:

  • At least $5,000 of unsecured debt
  • Relatively current on payments
  • Willing to cancel cards included in consolidation

Debt Negotiation

Also called debt settlement, debt negotiation is a more intensive intervention than traditional consolidation. Debt negotiation is meant for consumers with large amounts of debt, who are also possibly on the brink of bankruptcy. To qualify for debt negotiation, you will likely need to meet the following qualifications:

  • At least $20,000 of unsecured debt
  • Three or more months behind on payments
  • Have fallen behind or failed out of a debt consolidation program
  • Understand that debt negotiation requires customers to stop paying their bills for a time, which will damage their credit

Credit Counseling

Legitimate credit counseling is offered by certified, accredited, non-profit services. Typically, credit counseling is available for little to no cost to anyone with debt problems. Credit counselors can provide you with money management advice, solutions to financial difficulties, and a tailored repayment plan to help you become debt-free. For the most part, anyone with a desire to improve their financial situation and overcome debt can qualify for debt help with credit counseling. Some credit counseling might have a sliding scale fee structure, in which case consumers with higher incomes would have to pay more for the service.

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