As seniors crumble under debt burden, Baltimore Sun goes to Legal Aid experts

In the lead business section article on Sunday, the Baltimore Sun looked at the economic crisis many seniors face because of debt (“Seniors crumple under debt burden,” May 27).  The Sun went to two Legal Aid experts.

From the article:

Louise Carwell, a lawyer who works with low-income seniors at the Maryland Legal Aid’s consumer law unit in Baltimore, said her clients are dealing with a wide range of debt, from credit cards to medical bills.

Many seniors in Baltimore also are behind on property taxes, which puts their homes at risk of going to a tax sale.

Carwell and other public-sector attorneys who work with the elderly say indebted seniors want relief, a trend that has increased in the last several years.

“The anxiety that they get or they create within themselves from debt collectors, that’s really punishing,” Carwell said. “That’s why a lot of my folks file for bankruptcy.”

Mary Aquino, a staff attorney with Legal Aid’s Baltimore County Elder Law Program, said she recalled a 75-year-old client who was nine months behind on her mortgage, with $10,000 in credit card debt and an additional $36,000 in student-loan debt. The woman’s sole income was a monthly $1,100 Social Security check.

“She’s hoping to file for bankruptcy and keep her home,” said Aquino, noting that student loans are usually not discharged in bankruptcy.

To read the article (behind a pay wall), click here.

 

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