Strap in. It’s going to be a long and bumpy ride.
As many readers know, often from personal experience, the unemployment system here in Florida did not break, it was designed to be broken right out of the gate. The state lost 1.18 million non-agricultural jobs from February to April, and has gained back about 631,000 to date – enough to hammer the unemployment rate down to an average of 7.4 percent from over 11 percent. However, the numbers are misleading. The figures do not take into account those who are jobless and not in the system – largely because the EDD was designed to keep people from completing their application for benefits. Even six months in, the problems are unremediated, with numerous applicants still without benefits and the necessities of life going unpaid.
Now, even a thin lifeline of federal unemployment aid in Florida is being snatched back from desperate Floridians. Remember that extra $300 per week in aid?
Well, there’s a problem.
You see, in order to qualify for that aid, the state needs to spend 100 per week of its own money by giving it directly to applicants. Florida’s infamously miserly system doesn’t even get over that low bar, and Governor Desantis says that Florida can’t afford it. It’s been months of disappointment since the Senate did not pass a second relief package, but managed to shoehorn in judicial appointments and grandstanding investigations. Indeed, for these elected office-holders, the paychecks just keep coming, health insurance is rock steady, and they even get to go on vacation.
Though we’ve been pretty lucky in terms of low unemployment in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm beach counties, there are still so many reeling and in dire financial straits. From partial to complete loss of income, to arrearages in bills and mortgages and rent, to loss of child or spousal support, the hardships just keep coming. Some are experiencing collections, or even lawsuits and garnishments while the government sits on its thumbs and does nothing to aid the people – who are the economy’s driving force. The lack of action is driving people and their families ever deeper into a financial situation that it’s hard to get out of without help.
Even if you’ve been recently re-employed, that doesn’t make up for weeks and months with no income. If that retroactive money does reach your bank account, many times you’ll find yourself weighing rent arrears vs. food, or electric service vs. root canal. Just because the money comes in doesn’t mean that it’s not going to go back out again. It’s time to get some advice – and not the kind from your uncle who’s started selling MLM.
Some of the best advice we can give is on this blog, but we also have live Q&A sessions where our founding partner can offer more tailored advice for your situation. Bankruptcy is not the only thing we do, and there are numerous kinds of debt that require special handling, whether its student loans, car notes, medical bills, or credit card debt. Waiting around for federal unemployment aid in Florida might not be the best option, especially if your debts could easily swamp that fragile lifeline.
Car notes can be renegotiated, student debts may be put into forbearance or deferred. However, many people are not just in a temporary tight spot, but in real danger of being swamped by debt. Even in these circumstances, many people never consider filing for bankruptcy when their business or personal finances have reached the point of no return without significant intervention. There are so many different ways to handle personal and business debt, with or without saying the ‘b-word’ – bankruptcy.
Servicing debt is more expensive than the debt itself. Very little of your actual payment goes to paying back principal, but instead goes to service interest. This is true whether you’re paying down credit cards, loans, or even your mortgage. In fact, servicing debt instead of paying it down eats more of your money – but when all you can do is make minimum payments, you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. With federal unemployment aid in Florida either unattainable, delayed, or unstretchable, it’s time to take a long look at finances, then either commit to one of several courses of action.
Maybe you don’t need bankruptcy, and one of the other options will work for you. In any case, wouldn’t talking to an attorney who specializes in debt give you a better idea where you belong?
Van Horn Law was founded back in the down-and-dirty days of the Recession, and since 2009 we have been helping the people of south Florida protect themselves, their homes, and property. We know every trick in the book, and in 11 years of service, we have seen them all. How about putting that experience to work for you? We have offices in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, and your first consultation is always free. Get that paperwork together and make that call today!
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