Sunday, February 5, 2023

Play

Fare-free public transit benefits Kansas City residents and businesses; farmers prioritize food, not feed in the 2023 Farm Bill; and a new survey: students want a more diverse inclusive curriculum.

Play

The Democratic National Committee votes to shake up the presidential primary calendar, President Biden gets a better than expected jobs report before his second State of the Union, and lawmakers from both parties question the response to a Chinese data gathering balloon.

Play

Is bird flu, inflation or price gouging to blame for astronomical egg prices? Pregnancy can be life-changing or life-ending depending on where you live, and nine tribal schools are transforming their outdoor spaces into community gathering areas.

New Tool Offers Legal Resources for Common Issue: Debt Collection

Play

Tuesday, July 26, 2022   

A new website is helping Montanans answer tricky legal questions about debt.

The Montana Legal Services Association has launched MontanaDebtOptions.org to offer resources for those dealing with consumer debt.

Alex Clark, community legal education coordinator for the Association, said the website is designed for any Montanan with a debt question who is afraid of losing income or property due to debt collection.

"We created some custom answers based on people's individual experiences with debt collectors that are pretty common to give them an idea of what might be crossing the line and what is actually legal," Clark explained.

Nationwide, about 64 million Americans have debt in collections, according to the Urban Institute.

The Montana Legal Services Association helped more than 350 clients with consumer debt issues last year. The website also includes a garnishment calculator to verify if a debt collector is taking the right amount from a person's wages.

Clark pointed out many people struggle when they are served with a lawsuit. He noted to participate in a lawsuit, people have to file a written response to the court by the deadline outlined in the serving papers, but it can be hard to identify.

"As we all know, court papers are really scary," Clark stated. "They're hard to understand. It's not really clear-cut what to do, and if you can't afford an attorney, you don't know where to go. So we're trying to change that."

Debt lawsuits are among the most common civil court cases in the country. But less than 10% of people have legal representation in such cases, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Many simply don't show up to court, with about 70% of cases ending in default in favor of the debt collector. The website emphasized it shouldn't take the place of advice from a lawyer.

Disclosure: The Montana Legal Services Association contributes to our fund for reporting on Civil Rights, Human Rights/Racial Justice, Poverty Issues, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
A researcher examines Kernza grains. (The Land Institute)

Environment

By Jake Christie for Great Lakes Echo. Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Minnesota News Connection, reporting for Great Lakes Echo/Solutions …


Social Issues

By Gabes Torres for Yes! Media. Broadcast version by Kathryn Carley for Maine News Service, reporting for the YES! Media-Public News Service …

Social Issues

Tribal leaders from the eight federally recognized tribes in Utah gathered at a news conference at the state Capitol this week and called on state law…


In 2022, Ohio had 1,580,547 students enrolled in a total of 3,136 public schools across the state, according to the Ohio Department of Education. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Ohio's teachers are applauding the governor's recently announced plan to overhaul the state's reading curriculum for elementary schoolers and boost re…

Environment

As the economy has changed with the pandemic in the past few years, Indiana's small communities have seen an exodus of jobs and people. However…

The Biochar Research Network Act would have set up as many as 20 biochar research facilities across the country. (K.salo.85/Wikimedia Commons)

Environment

By Lisa Held for Civil Eats. Broadcast version by Eric Tegethoff for Big Sky Connection, reporting for Civil Eats/Solutions Journalism/Public News …

Social Issues

Students who are also parents face more challenges getting through college, but support for these students is getting an upgrade at Bowie State …

Social Issues

Arizona State University, YouTube and the video channel Crash Course have announced a partnership to offer a series of online courses for college …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021