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Medical expenses, student loans hit young, working poor

Many Long Island residents are struggling with debt, but some of the worst problems are borne by the young, working poor who have been saddled with debt from health care costs and student loans. These people are seriously in need of debt relief.

One man recently told a reporter about his plans to live in his pick-up truck, at least through the summer months in order to save money. The financial problems that pushed him into the outdoors began with student loans and medical debt. The man took out loans to attend culinary school, but could not find adequate employment in kitchens after he graduated. While scraping by with low-paying jobs that did not provide health insurance, he suddenly needed emergency surgery to remove a large kidney stone.

The man is now $80,000 in debt, but doesn’t make enough at his job in a retail store to even make his monthly student loan payments. He told one reporter that if he had known how much the surgery was going to cost he would have left the hospital and let himself die from kidney failure.

It really doesn’t have to come to that. There are ways to reduce, reorganize or eliminate debt and get a fresh start on one’s finances.

Debt collectors can sometimes be overly aggressive in going after debtors, but often lenders are open to negotiation. They are often open to the idea of reducing debt or at least reorganizing a payment plan so that debtors can better manage their payments. In some cases, personal bankruptcy is a good option. Long Islanders who are stuck with what feels like an impossible burden of debt can get help.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, “Boise man buried under student, health debt,” Audrey Dutton, April 25, 2013

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