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What if I am over 60 or disabled and I can not pay my debt?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed December 2019

If you are:

  • over 60 or ‘handicapped,’ and
  • have only exempt income and property,

the court is required by law to:

  • dismiss the case against you and
  • suspend the order
  • so that you will not be required to return to court to show you cannot pay the debt.

The court will count you as ‘handicapped’ if

  • you have a physical or mental problem. The problem must severely limit you or prevent you from participating in at least one major life area; or
  • you get state or federal disability benefits.1

If you are handicapped or over sixty, bring proof to show the judge. You may also want to send the proof to the plaintiff’s attorney. The plaintiff may agree to dismiss the case so you do not have to go to court.

If the plaintiff tells you he has agreed to dismiss the case, call the court to make sure the hearing is cancelled before you decide not to go. Do not miss your hearing.

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