- You work in the New Orleans school system for 30 years.
- Like others, you pay into the Louisiana state retirement system in lieu of Social Security.
- In the course of 3 years, each year you lose a loved one; 1st one adult son and the following year another adult son is killed in a fatal car wreck and the following year your husband passes away.
- One year later, your home burns down. You move in with your sibling in New Orleans.
- Then Hurricane Katrina hits. After 3 days, you’re rescued and then evacuated and resettled to Greenville.
- One year later, you become very ill and are hospitalized for an extended period. You have no insurance and you start to get large medical bills.
- Soon after, you’re hit with a social security overpayment and tax refund intercepts. The Social Security Administration ruled that client should NOT receive husband’s survivor’s benefits because of special circumstances related to the Louisiana state retirement program.
If you think you would be filling pretty low right now, you’re perfectly normal.
Sadly, this scenario really happened.
Fortunately the widow in the fact pattern called South Carolina Legal Services. In September 2008, Beth Des Jardins filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition for the widow. The purpose of the bankruptcy filing was to discharge: (1) the client’s huge medical debts, and (2) her social security disability overpayment.
Can a social security overpayment like this be discharged as an unsecured debt in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy? After much research, consultation, and debate over other legal tactics, the in-house decision was that there was no clear consensus. Ms. Des Jardins pursued the Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition.
Earlier this month, at the creditors’ meeting the Chapter 7 trustee, Randy Skinner, declared this a ‘no assets’ case.
Congratulations to Beth Des Jardins and Maureen White, who filled in for Beth at the creditors’ meeting!