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Facing a Traumatic Brain Injury and Debt. What Do We Do?

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"Dear Steve,

My husband has a traumatic brain injury and currently in therapy. He was on the job and he does get the workman's comp pay each week.

I have been told that when my husband goes back to his job they plan to fire him asap. He will not be able to do the job he had before the injury so they will have to find him something to do.

Not sure when he will be returning back to work and it has been 5 months since his injury. I'm worried sick about our bills the house payment. I'm the caregiver for my husband I wasn't working when he was injured due to taking a family medical leave for my mother who has since passed away.

We are behind on our house payment via 2 months due to extra expense and a big car repair. Mortgage company has send me paperwork to sign stating they can help and I have agreed to a payment plan with them to get caught back up.

Husband is a 20yr Navy Vet. Are there any sources that can help us get caught back up on our house note ... maybe with the military or some other resources I have seached on the internet and haven't found anything.

Also we don't want to lose our home what can we do to save it. If we get a settlement from the workman's comp I plan to pay as much as I can on our house and refinance the balance. We are also waiting for Social Security to approve or denial him disability.

Bobbi"

Answer

brainDear Bobbi,

Thank you for writing to me for help. I'm so sorry to hear about the injury and how much it has impacted your family.

There are a number of issues going on here. The first is the traumatic brain injury (TBI). I'm worried about how severe it was and what the future impact of his injury is going to be on his ability to work.

Depending on the TBI prognosis and your ability to work and earn an income, the plan for the future might be different than what we could possibly forecast now.

I don't think there is a clear path just yet but the following should be considered.

If you have not contacted a local personal injury and or Social Security lawyer that specializes in work comp cases and disability, you should. I think it makes logical sense to get professional help to make sure your settlement is processed and disability benefits he receives are fairly processed and you receive the proper amount.

Is the home loan a VA loan? If so, that makes a difference.

When a VA-guaranteed home loan becomes delinquent, VA provides supplemental servicing assistance to help cure the default. The servicer has the primary responsibility of servicing the loan to resolve the default. However,in cases where the servicer is unable to help the veteran borrower, Loan Guaranty has Loan Technicians in eight Regional Loan Centers and two special servicing centers who take an active role in interceding with the servicer to explore all options to avoid foreclosure. Veterans with VA-guaranteed home loans can call (877) 827-3702 to reach the nearest Loan Guaranty office where loan specialists are prepared to discuss potential ways to help save the loan. - Source

Based on his income potential and your ability to work it seems as if expecting you to be able to afford your current bills and obligations would be a reach.

In that case, while he may get some sort of disability in the future, we really won't know what the benefit is or when he will begin to receive it without some indication from Social Security. The prudent action to take would be to base any action on as much factual information as we can get right now.

And what we know right now is the income is insufficient to meet your expenses. So we'd need to think about alternatives like intervening with the debt and discharging it with a consumer bankruptcy to give you enough room to make the mortgage payment.

You can click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney and talk to them for free about your specific situation. Get the facts and then you can make an informed and educated decision if bankruptcy is right for you.

If there is not enough debt to discharge to make a difference and allow you to make ends meet then we need to consider changing your circumstances and downsizing your living expenses. That might mean selling the house and finding a less expensive place to live.

At the end of the day we have to get your expenses to fit within your income and include an allowance for you to save money at the same time.

Because the big car bill is looming I'm assuming you don't have money in an emergency fund right now. Your situation sounds all too common. Less than half of all families could get their hands on $2,000 cash in 30 days to deal with a similar emergency.

Since he is no longer in the military, the military resources I'm aware of would not apply.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.



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