She need not worry about this. First, a collection agency's claim is only as good as the original creditor. And, if the ambulance service did not get paid because of improper coding, it's their negligence that resulted in them not getting paid. So, their claim is not valid; they don't get to recover from your mother when the result of them not getting paid is their own fault. Second, even if she did owe it, your mother is judgment proof as her SS income is exempt. She can also get them to stop pestering her by informing them: i) she doesn't owe the money because of the foregoing; and ii) even if she did, she is judgment proof. She should send them a certified, return receipt requested letter and demand they immediately cease and desist all further efforts to contact her and/or anyone else to collect this debt except legally mandated notices to you. The letter should inform them that any efforts to do otherwise will constitute a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and that you will report each and every violation to the Federal Trade Commission. Each violation carries at least a $1,000 fine, so that should be the end of any harassment. Until they file suit and get a judgment, they can do nothing. BUT, in the unlikely event they get a judgment, they still must collect it. And, since she has nothing but exempt income, they simply will have an uncollectible judgment. Whether or not they will even pursue this depends upon their assessment of the collectibility of a judgment. So, if they actually do send notice they are going to file a civil suit, if you can convince them there is nothing for them to get, and that if they were to pursue a judgment, your mom would simply file for bankruptcy protection and get the judgment discharged—and even if she has no intention of doing so, it is still good leverage with them because they do not know whether or not she would… then it is unlikely they will spend the time and money necessary to get a judgment they believe is uncollectible in the end.
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