I am a very troubled 26 year old who is greatly inexperienced with such an ordeal. I don't know what parts of my story I should leave out, so I figured to give you the best understanding I should tell you all of it if you don't mind reading. I would greatly appreciate any help and advice you can give.
I opened a Discover card in 2013 but do to worsening health issues I was out of a job after I had minor surgery in 2015 and haven't worked as an employee anywhere since. That same year my parents moved from our home state of NY to AZ, but I chose to stay behind and live at my grandparents, who raised me almost as equally as my parents did. I did this because I had a good insurance plan through the state marketplace I didn't think could be matched anywhere else, and I wanted to continue seeing my specialists. I was able to make the minimum payment on month every time, mostly by selling stuff on ebay.
This lasted until 2017, when my parents offered to pay for a web development course so I could find a job in a field that worked better with my issues. Though since I planned for this to be temporary move I didn't ship all of my stuff there, thus I had nothing else to sell on ebay while I was there. I knew I had to get a job as soon as I got there, but that didn't pan out with my issues and I started missing credit card payments.
I didn't ask my parents for help because my mom's health sharply decreased around that time. She was diagnosed with systemic sclerosis. It's a nasty autoimmune disease with no cure, mostly ineffective treatment, and can be fatal. She only received one absolute from her doctor, she will get worse and stress will speed that process up. This ordeal put my parents on rocky financial ground, one had to quit their job and took another one that paid much worse but offered much better health insurance. After that I cancelled my old insurance and they put me under their insurance so I could still see good doctors in AZ for my issues too. Now they're both planning for the eventuality where my mom will no longer be able to work. They were already paying off loans for our medical bills and paying for all my other expenses, and are looking like they're increasingly struggling. I couldn't possibly tell them I was in debt let alone ask for money. It's not their burden to bear, and I'd rather sabotage my own life than send my beloved mother to an earlier grave with all this extra stress. Also one of my parents works in finance, and she's told me before she legally has to report any debt, and I don't know if my debt would affect that.
Discover called and emailed me quite a few times, but like the coward I am I couldn't muster the courage to answer because I had no way of paying them. I thought once I could start working again I'd call them back and set up a payment plan. However, despite completing the course I still wasn't able to find any job in web development, or any job for that matter, that could work around my health issues. The only work I've done is freelancer work like online transcription and survey taking, but in total I've probably made about $100 from it in the past few years. The last thing I heard from Discover is an email which said my account was terminated for multiple delinquencies.
Fast forward to today. I get a box from my grandparents with stacks of letters that were sent to me over a period of almost 2 years. My grandparents and I don't talk very much anymore. My grandfather has advancing dementia and my grandmother and I had a bit of a falling out when I visited last year over unrelated family matters. The times we've spoken over the phone she has never mentioned letters to me. I used to only get junk mail, so I figured she just threw them out. But in that stack of letters were two of note, one from Discover saying if I don't pay up they were forwarding my account to a collection agency, and another that is a court summons from that collection agency, suing me for about $7000, happening next week, that I never responded to. The letter was from last year, it sat all this time at my grandparents until it was sent to me a few days ago. I get a bunch of robo callers daily so I never pick up unknown numbers anymore unless I am expecting it, but there was nothing from this collection agency ever in my voicemail, nor in my email.
I never changed drivers license or my address on these accounts because I figured I was moving back to my grandparents if this job hunt didn't pan out, and I didn't want my parents to see any letters. Of course if I did get any job there I would. So the collection agency and court summons is in NY next week, and I have no way to show up because I can't afford travelling there. And even if I could I would definitely lose the case because the debt is valid. To say I am panicking is the biggest understatement of my life.
I was reading about what happens if I can't pay. I have no assets to my name and $1 in my bank account right now, so I think I'm judgement proof. I also don't see myself working again anytime soon, as I've been looking for jobs that fit my requirements for nearly 2 years and not one single interview. I've applied for SSI disability once before as was denied but I will apply again. Also although we're not sure when, my parents are definitely moving in CA sometime in the next few months. My mom was offered a job there that she knows she can handle for the time being. This further complicates everything for me, but I guess after I move there I will change my address, get a new license, then apply for disability again.
So as you can see this is a very complicated mess and I don't have a lot of time, so I would greatly appreciate it if you can answer some questions.
1. Where do I even begin? I found links that suggested writing a judgment proof letter to the collector, but is it too late at this point? If it's lot, ahould I call them up and explain my situation, or send them a letter?
2. Is there any way I can avoid a creditor's examination if they get a judgment? I can't travel to NY for one, but then if I miss it a warrant will be placed out for my arrest right? I guess I will have to let the creditor and/or the court know I'm living out of state and can't attend it? If they really want to do one, would it be possible for the examination to be done here in AZ and the interview is sent to them?
3. The one and only bank account I have is the same one I've been using ever since my mom consigned it with me while I was a minor to open it. The credit card was not consigned, but if the bank account was does that give the creditors the right to go after funds in my mother's bank account, an entirely separate one from a different bank that I don't have access to? If yes, will closing my bank account before the court date stop then from going after her? I was thinking about closing it anyway, I hardly ever use since I'm not making or spending much money, so I'm paying the monthly maintenance fee for nothing
I would greatly appreciate any help you can give me, I've never been more desperate in my life. I think at this point a judgment is inevitable, but I have no problems paying off my debt after I'm finally able to get SSI. I just want to make sure I'm able to sort out the possible creditors examination problem if it arises so I'm not in any criminal jeopardy, and I want to make sure the creditors don't have any way to go after my parent's money. Please let me know if there's other information you need to know about in order to give advice. Thank you so much!
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