02/25/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Financial Meltdown: How Some Families Are Coping With Debt

The existing bailouts claim to open credit lines to the consumer. Neither government restructuring of debt programs are available; nor is any real monetary assistance being provided for the consumer.

Companies are freezing hiring and recruiting initiatives. Americans continue to lose their jobs at an alarming rate -- the unemployment rate has surpassed a 14-year high at 7.2 percent. While the U-6 unemployment rate may be as high as 13.5%.

Consumers are turning to debt relief programs for help. Debt relief companies can negotiate with creditors on the consumers' behalf to settle their debt for less than what they owe.

2.3 million American homeowners went into foreclosure in 2008, an 81 percent increase from 2007.

To avoid foreclosure, thousands of families, especially those who are unable to refinance, are entering loan modification programs offered by private companies or by the federal government.