Proposed law aims to protect low income residents from burdensome debt collection


BOSTON (WWLP) – Nearly one in four Massachusetts residents has a debt in “collection,” due to non-payment of a bill. Under current law, your property or earnings above $28,000 can be seized to satisfy a debt you owe.

Dozens of people came to the State House Monday for the Committee on Financial Services’ public hearing on 20 bills dealing with banking and debt settlement.

One proposal would reduce the limits on how long a creditor has to sue you for non-payment of a debt from six years to four years. Money or property could only be seized on earnings above $51,000.

Matthew Brooks of Greater Boston Legal Services testified that low income consumers are most affected by current debt collection laws. “If you’re earning this kind of money and you’re trying to raise a family on your own, you can’t absorb that garnishment,” Brooks explained. “Something’s gotta give; you’re not going to be able to pay rent. You’re not going to be able to buy groceries.”

The Committee is currently reviewing public testimony on the bill before making recommendations.

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