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Unexpected changes in income can trigger personal bankruptcy

In times of economic uncertainty, having steady income can be the primary difference between financial security and instability. When a person loses his or her job, even temporarily, it may be necessary to consider means to prevent debt from stacking up. In some cases, personal bankruptcy might be the solution.

Over the last couple weeks, the government shutdown has been a frequent subject of conversation on the news and on the street. As a result of the shutdown, several hundred thousand federal workers were furloughed, which means they are without work or pay. Other workers may be required to put time in, but their paychecks are likely to be delayed. According to a CNN report, one federal worker believes that being furloughed would require him to file for personal bankruptcy.

Of course, this post isn't intended to be any sort of political commentary. Rather, it's to show how a sudden change in financial circumstances can send waves through a person's finances. Without the security of regular income, obligations to creditors may simply become too much.

The previously mentioned federal worker, who works in information technology for the military and is the father of four, has significant credit card debt. Without income, he is certain he won’t be able to keep up with credit card bills and other expenses. His financial trouble started when he suffered a heart attack last year and needed to undergo surgery. At that time, medical bills began to pile up.

Although filing for personal bankruptcy may not be a simple decision, it might be the best way for the man to deal with income uncertainty and his current financial obligations. Credit card debt can be included in bankruptcy filings, which would provide significant relief.

At the time of reports, the federal worker was still waiting to hear if he'd be designated as a furloughed employee. The hope is that he and his family will find a solution to their ongoing financial predicament.

Source: CNN, "Shutdown may force me into bankruptcy: Federal worker," Oct. 1, 2013

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