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Surviving Debt print edition cover image (a white ladder extending out of a hole)

Surviving Debt Resources—Keeping Track Charts, Helpful Links, and Sample Letters

Bulk discounts on Surviving Debt  are available at the NCLC book store.

Sample Monthly Debt Chart

Click here for a sample form for Keeping Track of any outstanding debts.  Available in PDF format.

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Image of sample debt chart

Blank Monthly Debt Chart

Click here for a blank form for Keeping Track of any outstanding debts.  Available in PDF and editable DOCX formats.

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Image of debts outstanding chart (blank)

Sample Monthly Expenses Chart

Click here for a sample form for Keeping Track of any monthly expenses.  Available in PDF format.

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Image of sample expenses chart

Blank Monthly Expenses Chart

Click here for a blank form for Keeping Track of any monthly expenses.  Available in PDF and editable DOCX formats.

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Image of blank monthly expenses chart

Sample Monthly Income Chart

Click here for a sample form for Keeping Track of all monthly income.  Available in PDF format.

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Image of sample monthly income chart

Blank Monthly Income Chart

Click here for a blank form for Keeping Track of all monthly income.  Available in PDF and editable DOCX formats

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Image of blank monthly income chart

Helpful Links


AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Locator
American Association of Retired Persons
https://secure.aarp.org/applications/VMISLocator/searchTaxAideLocations.action

Affordable Care Act Enrollment
U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid
https://www.healthcare.gov

Benefits Planner
Social Security Administration
https://www.ssa.gov/planners/credits.html

Center for Medicare Advocacy
https://www.medicareadvocacy.org

Child Nutrition Programs
U.S. Department of Agriculture
https://www.fns.usda.gov/cn

Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
https://www.insurekidsnow.gov

Counseling Agencies—U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/hecm_agency_look.cfm

Department of Housing and Urban Development
https://www.hud.gov

DirectExpress
prepaid card
https://www.usdirectexpress.com

Equifax
https://www.equifax.com/personal/

Experian
https://www.experian.com

Fannie Mae Loan Lookup
Federal National Mortgage Association
https://www.knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup

Federal benefits offset program
U.S. Department of the Treasury
https://fiscal.treasury.gov/top/

Federal Emergency Management Agency
Department of Homeland Security
https://www.fema.gov

Federal Student Aid
U.S. Department of Education
https://studentaid.gov

Feeding America
Hunger Relief Organization
https://www.feedingamerica.org

Find an Attorney
National Association of Consumer Advocates
https://www.consumeradvocates.org/find-an-attorney

Find Legal Aid
Legal Services Corporation
http://lsc.gov/find-legal-aid

Find Legal Aid Programs
https://www.lawhelp.org/find-help

Food and Nutrition Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
https://www.fns.usda.gov

Food Research and Action Center
https://www.frac.org

Free Annual Credit Reports
authorized by Federal law
www.annualcreditreport.com

FSA Feedback System
U.S. Department of Education
https://studentaid.gov/feedback-center/

Housing Counseling—Department of Housing and Urban Development
https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/housing/sfh/hcc

How to Apply for WIC
National WIC Association
https://www.nwica.org/apply-for-wic

HUD Lender List Search
Department of Housing and Urban Development
https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/housing/sfh/lender/lenderlist

IBRinfo
student loan income-driven repayment plans
http://www.ibrinfo.org

Internal Revenue Service
https://www.irs.gov

Justice in Aging
https://www.justiceinaging.org

LawHelp:
referrals to local legal aid and public interest law offices, basic information about legal rights, court forms, self-help information, court information, links to social service agencies, and more in your state
https://www.lawhelp.org

Lifeline
https://data.usac.org/publicreports/CompaniesNearMe/Download/Report

LIHEAP Map State and Territory Contact Listing
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ocs/liheap-state-and-territory-contact-listing

Loan Look-Up Tool FreddieMac
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation
https://loanlookup.freddiemac.com

Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic Map
Internal Revenue Service
https://www.irs.gov/advocate/low-income-taxpayer-clinics/low-income-taxpayer-clinic-map

Medicare
U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
https://www.medicare.gov

National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys
https://www.nacba.org

National Domestic Violence Hotline
https://www.thehotline.org

National Employment Law Project
https://www.nelp.org

National School Lunch Program

Food Research and Action Center
https://frac.org/programs/national-school-lunch-program

National Student Loan Data System
U.S. Department of Education
https://nslds.ed.gov/nslds/nslds_SA/

National Veterans Legal Services Program
https://www.nvlsp.org

Nationwide Multistate Licensing System
licensing/registration information on mortgage, consumer finance, debt, and money services companies, branches, and individuals
https://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org

National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) publications
Access to Utility Service
Collection Actions
Consumer Bankruptcy Law and Practice
Federal Deception Law
Home Foreclosures
Mortgage Servicing and Loan Modifications
Repossessions
Student Loan Law
NCLC bookstore

Red Cross Disaster Relief
http://www.redcross.org/about-us/our-work/disaster-relief

Rural Housing Service
Handbook HB-1-3555
https://www.rd.usda.gov/files/hb-1-3555.pdf

Save Your Home: Tips to Avoid Foreclosure
Federal Housing Administration
https://www.hud.gov/sites/documents/2008-5FHA.PDF

Sign up for WIC
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
http://signupwic.com/

Single Family Housing Policy Handbook 4000.1
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/sfh/handbook_4000-1

SNAP Outreach
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Food and Nutrition Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/outreach

Social Security Administration
https://www.ssa.gov

Student Loan Borrower Assistance
https://www.studentloanborrowerassistance.org

Submit a Complaint
Consumer Financial Protecton Bureau
https://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/

Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge
Department of Education
https://www.disabilitydischarge.com

TransUnion
https://www.transunion.com

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
https://www.va.gov

U.S. Trustee Program (Bankruptcy)
U.S. Department of Justice
https://www.justice.gov/ust

VA Home Loans
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
https://www.benefits.va.gov/HOMELOANS/contact_rlc_info.asp

VA Servicer Handbook M26-4
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
https://www.benefits.va.gov/WARMS/M26_4.asp

Veterans Pension Benefits
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
https://www.va.gov/pension/application/527EZ/introduction

Sample Letters

Stop Contact or "Cease" Letter

Click here for a sample Stop Contact or "Cease" Letter.  Available as sample PDF and editable DOCX format.

One strategy to stop collection harassment is to send the collector a “stop contact” letter, also called a “cease” letter.  After that, the collector can only acknowledge the letter and notify you about legal steps the collector may take.

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image of stop contact letter

Exempt Income Letter

Click here for a sample Exempt Income Letter. Available as sample PDF and editable DOCX format.

If your only sources of income are state or federal government benefits, your income may be “exempt” or protected from collection. If you inform the collector that government benefits are your only source of income, the collector may voluntarily stop contacting you about the alleged debt. You can inform collectors over the phone and you can also send a letter like this one, which is ready for editing.

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image of exempt income letter

Dispute Letter

Click here for a sample Dispute Letter. Available as sample PDF and editable DOCX format. 

If you do not think the debt is yours, think that the amount is incorrect, or believe that there is some other type of error, you should send the collector a dispute letter.  Collectors make a lot of mistakes, and disputing the debt may help resolve the matter. Federal law requires debt collectors to provide “validation information” about the alleged debt and your rights to dispute it.

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dispute letter image

Verification Letter

Click here for a sample Verification Letter. Available as sample PDF and editable DOCX format.

It is often not clear what debt a collector is contacting you about.  And, in that case, you should never pay the collector, at least not until you obtain more information. Federal law requires debt collectors to provide “validation information” about the alleged debt. It is best to send a request for verification within 30 days of receipt of the validation information.

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verification letter image