COVID-19 & BANKRUPTCYJune 23, 2020
What a year 2020 has been. Most of us looked forward to the beginning of the 20’s with optimism, particularly after 2019 seemed to have had its share of scary events.
However, nothing could have prepared any of us for COVID-19. In most of our lifetimes, we have seen many tragic events, but we have never dealt with a situation like this pandemic. An invisible virus was able to shut down a roaring economy and change the lives of all of us forever. Additionally, none of us are old enough to remember when the last world-wide flu pandemic occurred in 1918. Therefore, none of us had any idea how to prepare. This is true of businesses and governments too.
The purpose of this blog is to examine what we do now. I am limiting my discussion to solutions that can be found through the Bankruptcy Code. This is a place where a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy can be very helpful.
As many of you are aware, the Federal Government provided a $1,200.00 per person stimulus payment which most folks received in May of 2020. This off set layoffs, furloughs and other loss of income experienced by many people. Additionally, the Federal Government also provided legislative relief which allowed mortgage forbearance for many people up to six (6) months, while State governments also provided relief from utility shut offs and foreclosures.
Unfortunately, many of these one-time remedies are now ending, or will end very shortly. It is hoped with the reopening of businesses, most people will return to their jobs with the hope of continuing their regular income.
However, what about the lost income for those folks who either did not receive stimulus payments, enhanced unemployment or government benefits? What do you do if you have missed mortgage payments, car payments or other recurring payments due to the loss of business or income during the pandemic?
This is where Chapter 13 can be very valuable. When the state-wide moratorium on mortgage foreclosures is lifted, and utility shut offs can occur, a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy can act as a stay “to keep the lights on, and to keep you in your house.”
Additionally, Chapter 13 can provide a way for you to pay delinquent bills over the sixty (60) months of a normal Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan. This can make even a large mortgage arrearage comfortable for most budgets.
If my firm can assist you in this matter, please feel free to call me at Steven P. Miner, Esquire, (717) 724-9821 or firstname.lastname@example.org.