In October of 2005, bankruptcy law changed. Now anyone filing for bankruptcy must receive credit counseling before filing, and credit education before the debt is discharged.
|"Our bankruptcy counselor took the time to explain what needs to happen, and how to make it so." |
Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Northeastern Iowa has been offering pre-filing bankruptcy counseling and pre-discharge credit education since 2005, in compliance with guidelines from the Department of Justice (the federal regulator on bankruptcy). That means we meet Department of Justice standards for counseling and education. (DOJ does not endorse nor assure the quality of any provider’s service.)
Our counselors continue to see hundreds of new clients each month. Many have fallen on hard economic times and must review the option of bankruptcy. CCCS counselors try to help people with ideas on saving money or getting extra jobs to earn money.
Occasionally a counselor can help the person find a better alternative. Our goal is to help the client find a meaningful way of handling his or her debt for now and the future. Debt is with us for all of our lives—it just must be manageable debt.
Your First Step
Bankruptcy law is complicated. CCCS counselors will give you the necessary information before you even contact your attorney. They prepare you for your legal step. Contact an attorney for legal advice. CCCS counselors just make it a bit easier. Turn to us for the required counseling.
Here is what you can expect when you come to us for pre-filing bankruptcy counseling:
- Financial Disclosure You read and sign forms to give us full disclosure of your finances so we can help you plan a course of action.
- Credit Report Review Your counselor pulls a current credit report and reviews it with you.
- Budget and Action Plan Using the above information, your counselor helps you set a budget and an action plan for staying on budget, to help you get your finances under control.
- Financial Education Your counselor gives you tips on controlling expenses and/or increasing your income, possibly even finding alternative ways to erase debt.
- Certification When you’ve successfully completed the above steps, we provide an original, signed certificate for you, and e-mail a copy to your attorney as requested.
For pre-discharge bankruptcy education, we provide:
- Two-hour scheduled course You are assigned a time to take the course, either in an agency classroom, over the phone or via the Internet.
- Money In Motion financial education You receive a hard copy of the textbook to keep; if you take the Internet class, you may print a copy to keep.
- Certification When you successfully complete the class, we prepare a certificate for you to give your attorney.
- Discharge Only upon certification can your attorney have your debt discharged in bankruptcy court.
CCCS charges some of the lowest fees in the nation for bankruptcy counseling. Each client receives 1 to 1 ½ hours of counseling time with a certified credit, housing and bankruptcy counselor. We charge a fee for this service to recover some of our costs. For pre-filing, the fee is $65. For pre-discharge the client receives a two-hour credit education course, and the fee is $35.
These fees can be reduced or waived if attorney and court fees are waived. Also, fees can be waived if your income is below poverty level under HUD guidelines and you request a waiver for that reason.
Whom We Serve
CCCS provides educational counseling to persons filing bankruptcy in the Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa, Northern District of Illinois, Western District of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota.
By completing the class, living within your budget, receiving your certificate and following through with your attorney, you know you have survived bankruptcy. It is now up to you to take what you have learned from the bankruptcy education and continue your life, having learned more effective ways of managing your money.
Call the CCCS Bankruptcy Hotline at 1-888-235-8977 or 319-235-8900.