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Terry L.
Terry L., Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 2670
Experience:  Better Business Bureau. 18yrs bankruptcy experience. Chicago Bar Assoc. American Bankruptcy Institute member.
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I have registered with VA Legal Aid and met with an attorney,

Customer Question

I have registered with VA Legal Aid and met with an attorney, who informed me that Legal Aid could not assist me because I am unemployed and without health care benefits. This seems to be discriminatory. I lost my job after 10 years with no advanced warning, and with it my insurance. Since this can happen to anyone, someone who currently has a job and insurance would be accepted by Legal Services provided they met the other requirements, which I have already been assured I do. Then after filing, at no cost to themselves, they lose their job, as I did. They have no insurance and then have a medical expense for which they can seek bankruptcy protection. I am as likely to find a job and insurance as someone low income is to lose their job and insurance after filing Chapter 7
This seems innately unfair and in direct contrast to the mission statement of Legal Aid. Lawyer fees run from a low of $1000 to $2000+. I do not have this amount, nor do I have any assets from which to raise this amount. If Legal Aid was correct in denial of service, then what do I do?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  cfortunato replied 7 years ago.

Hi Customer,

Were you trying to get legal assistance with filing a Bankruptcy?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yes, due to extended unemployment, I have depleted all financial resources, and am now nearly two payments behind on my car. My son has just be approved for federal SSI medical disability, but the payments still won't allow im to contribute much to household expenses.
I have been told, during free consultation with Bankruptcy specialist attorney, that my case should be quite routine, but due to the changes in federal laws it still requires an expert to make certain all forms are correctly filled out and filed.
Expert:  cfortunato replied 7 years ago.

I used to work with a legal aid company, so I know the probable reason they would not take your case is you are considered to be "judgment proof", which means that there are no wages or assets for creditors to garnish.

You may be able to get help from the Virginia Bar Association's pro bono program. The number is(NNN) NNN-NNNN

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
As I made clear in my initial post, the only reason Legal Aid would not accept my case was because I did not have medical coverage, and to quote the attorney "what wouild happen if you incurred a major medical expense after filing chapter 7 now?" He did not mention anything about wages or assets, except for general questions about savings, stocks, 401K, etc. He clearly stated that no job and no medical coverage were were the means by which Legal Aid "kept lines from forming around the block".
Expert:  cfortunato replied 7 years ago.
You can still the Bar Association.

Edited by cfortunato on 9/7/2010 at 10:25 PM EST
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
My basic question concerned legal aid policy in requiring an applicant to have a job and health insurance. I will call the Virginia Bar Association number, but to say that I am "judgment proof" does not address the incessant collection calls and mailings, or the fact when I am employed I will still be susceptible to collection attempts.