Saturday, October 13, 2012

So, I have just found out disturbing news.

I am an EMT working in Colorado. For those that don't know, an EMT does not make good money. I'm surprised more people don't realize that EMTs make less than most fast food workers. I personally make less than $10 an hour. I have been struggling to make ends meet, and I do this because I love my job. At the moment, with student loans, car payment, insurance, living expenses, and the occasional wrench in the works, I barely make enough to get by. I'm lucky to have any money left after payday every other week.

The problem I ran into is this. I was being garnished back in 2007, I had a loan with a bank that went out of business, and the debt as sold. Despite numerous tries to contact the bank, and find a way to pay this loan, I gave up. Shortly after that, I was being garnished by a local attorney firm. I never received a summons from the county I live in. They state they served it to my brother at my parents house, where I wasn't even living at the time. I never got to argue my case, and show that I had tried for months to pay back my loan. I was being garnished for well more than I owed on the loan. I worked with the attorney firm to get the garnishment down to a reasonable amount. Which was like pulling teeth to get them to agree to that. They were rude, and wanted to do nothing to help me out.

Eventually, they garnished me for the 180 day maximum that is allowed in Colorado. After the initial 180 days, they would have to ask for a writ of continuing garnishment, if the debt wasn't paid. Remember, this was in 2007, with my last payment being in December of 2007. I was unsure if the entire amount was paid off, and in my stupidity, I didn't make an effort to find out.

Fast forward to Oct 2012, and I receive a writ of continuing garnishment. Except, instead of it being for the $359.25 that was still owed on the original garnishment, it is for $1200 dollars and change. I know that isn't a large amount of money, but when you literally are paying out more than you make, it's a ton.

The way these garnishments work, your employer is the one who is supposed to contact you about them, and they do, right about the time you get the first check minus the garnishment amount. Which is 25% of your disposable income. That doesn't sound bad, until you realize, that by disposable income, they mean any amount after taxes. The government considers any money you make after you pay them, to be disposable. So basically, they take 25% of your take home pay. In the state of Colorado, a judgement of this kind has a limitation if 6 years. So this attorney firm has every right to sit on a small amount of money, let it gain interest, and then continue the garnishment. Very unethical, and just down right wrong, if you ask me.

When I called the court, they couldn't even tell me what forms I would have to fill out to fight it. They couldn't tell me anything except that I had to contact the attorney that placed the garnishment. When I finally got in touch with the person handling my garnishment, she screamed over anything I tried to say, then hung up on me. When called back, of course, she couldn't take my call. This means, if they don't choose to respond to me, I have no way of trying to get the garnishment lessened to an amount that will not completely screw me.

At this moment, with my last check I received, I am unsure if I can even put enough gas in my vehicle to get to work for the next two weeks. And that is even after forcing myself to quit smoking cold turkey. (I hope I can). Basically, if this garnishment continues at the rate it is set out now, I will more than likely lose my job, or my car, or default on more of the debt I owe.

This is a plea for help, I am so defeated, and so upset over this, I would be willing to sell my car, and everything I own if I could pay this off in full. I want nothing more than for this to be behind me. I still owe on my car, so selling it really isn't an option. Considering I don't own much more than the clothes I wear, I really don't have anything of value to sell.

So, against what I feel is right, and swallowing as much pride as I ever have in my life, I'm asking for help. I'm asking for any help I can get, in any shape or form. If you know me and have $1 for me, I'll take it. If you know a lawyer that can help me, I'll take it. I can't afford a lawyer, it would cost more than the debt itself. I just want this paid off, so I can continue to try and get ahead. I spent a year unemployed, looking for my first job in my new field. (which is why I don't have anything of value to sell, it's all been sold already.)

Please help me if you can, with any amount you can. If you can help at all, I would be very appreciative.

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