In Florida and across the country, a growing number of Americans over 55 are filing for bankruptcy, while the rate is increasing even more quickly for those 65 and older. Since 1991, the number of people in this demographic seeking a fresh financial start has gone up significantly, typically because they are struggling with insurmountable debt and are unable to pay their bills. While bankruptcy can remain on a credit report for up to 10 years, it offers some important protections. People can discharge their debt, although many of their assets will be liquidated in the process.
Between 1991 and 2016, the number of people declaring bankruptcy between 55 and 64 rose by two-thirds. For those between 65 and 74, that figure more than doubled. While only 2% of all people filing for bankruptcy were over 65 in 1991, that age group now makes up 12% of bankruptcy filers. Medical debt is one of the most significant reasons why older people are filing for bankruptcy more frequently. Up to 60% of people over 65 who file do so because they are struggling with huge hospital bills that they cannot afford to pay.
In many cases, people who file for bankruptcy may no longer be working full time. Given the importance of medical debt in these cases, they may be unable to return to a full-time schedule, even if they had the opportunity.
For many older Americans, bankruptcy may offer an important path to debt relief after they find that they have run out of other options and are facing intense financial pressure. A bankruptcy attorney may offer advice as to how Chapter 7 bankruptcy can offer a new path for the future.