A new national report criticizes Connecticut for inadequate debt-collectors exemption laws that “don’t meet even the most basic of standards,” while families across the state trying to recover from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic face the triple threat of wage garnishments, bank accounts and debt assets, many of which are owed through no fault of their own.
The National Consumer Law Center Report – “Will States Let Debt Collectors Push Families Into Poverty As Pandemic Wards Expire?” – recognizes as an improvement the law passed in July (HB 6466, entered into force October 1) increasing the exemption from $ 75,000 on home equity to $ 250,000 and adding an exemption of $ 7,000 on the vehicles.
However, the report states that “Connecticut does not meet four of the five most important basic standards:
• Prevent creditors from seizing a portion of the debtor’s salary so large that the debtor is pushed below a living wage.
• Allow the debtor to keep a used car of at least average value.
• Preserve the family house – at least one house of median value.
• Keep a base amount in a bank account so that the debtor’s funds to pay for essential costs such as rent, utilities and travel expenses are not cleaned up.
“With weak exemption laws, families will face a wave of lawsuits,” said Carolyn Carter, associate director of the Law Center. “Weak exemption laws will hamper economic recovery and exacerbate the racial wealth gap.”
The report also notes Connecticut small business owners “who took a risk to start a business, and their businesses are vital to the Connecticut economy.” Many times people fall into financial difficulties through no fault of their own. They took a risk and got the wrong card … right after the COVID-19 pandemic. “
By updating its exemption laws, the report concludes, “Connecticut can prevent creditors and debt buyers from reducing families to poverty. These protections also benefit society as a whole, helping families regain their financial footing and contributing to the economy, keeping workers in the workforce, helping families stay together, reducing demand. fund for unemployment compensation and social services, and keeping the money in local communities where it will contribute to economic recovery.
The question then is whether the General Assembly on its return in February will improve its exemption laws?
I asked Governor Ned Lamont, Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, House Speaker Matt Ritter, Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly, and House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora what they thought of the charges. of the report and whether any of them would offer additional protections. None responded. If and when they do, I will post their answers.
Other exemptions from HB 6466
• Necessary clothing, bedding, food, furniture and appliances.
• Tools, books, implements, farm animals and animal feed, which are necessary for their occupation, profession or farming.
• Burial ground for the emitter and his immediate family.
• Public assistance payments and the salary of a public assistance recipient earned under an income incentive or similar program.
• Health and disability insurance payments.
• Health aids enabling the exempter to work or maintain health.
• Workers’ compensation, social security, veterans and unemployment benefits.
• Court-approved payments for child support.
• Wedding and engagement, ent rings.
• Cash value of any life insurance policy, unless the purchase, sale or transfer of the policy is made with the intent to defraud the creditor.
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