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Third stimulus check not protected from private debt collectors

On The Money-NerdWallet-Emergency Fund
Posted at 9:12 AM, Mar 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-14 10:42:11-04

(WXYZ) — For Americans in debt, the news of a third stimulus check comes with worry. This time, the checks are not be protected from private debt collectors.

“If they take this money, then I'm stuck,” said Chakusola Guinn, who lives in metro Detroit. "I'm afraid that the debt collector, they may take this opportunity and say well she’s not working, she’s getting this money, let's take it.”

Guinn says she has been in debt for years from student loans and unpaid store credit cards. While the last two stimulus bills came with protections for people like her, this one does not.

“No one is talking about it, they’re talking about it as if it’s a great victory,” Guinn said. "Everyone who’s in debt is poor and they’re depending on it to keep a roof over their head.”

In a statement, the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Democrat Ron Wyden from Oregon, said in part “While Democrats intend to protect the third payment from private debt collectors, Senate rules did not allow us to include that protection in the American Rescue Plan. I will be introducing standalone legislation to ensure families receive their much-needed relief payments.”

However, Guinn fears it won’t be enough.

“It's too late for that," Guinn said. "The money is going out today and I know there's some aggressive debt collectors, they’re probably making the court filings now.”

Sen. Wyden said he is hopeful his bill will get bipartisan support.