What is HELPS? How Much Does HELPS Cost?

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1 Are you being harassed by collectors for debt you cannot afford to pay? Your Social Security and/or Pension is protected from collectors! When you are represented by HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm, a collector can no longer communicate with you; they must talk to us. What is HELPS? HELPS is a nonprofit law firm dedicated to helping seniors and disabled people keep the income they have, without fear of harassment by collectors. Federal law states that when you are represented by an attorney, collectors may not contact you. With HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm representing you, the calls stop! Peace returns to your life. HELPS is intended to assist you in dealing with unsecured debt you cannot pay - such as: credit cards, medical bills, signature loans, old judgments, and other types of unsecured debt. HELPS is not debt resolution and HELPS does not file bankruptcy. If you own a car or home that you intend to keep, you should continue to pay the lender as agreed. It is easy to enroll by phone. Call us toll free at: ; Please be ready to answer the questions asked in the enrollment form. We will need to know the name of your creditor, their mailing address and the account number. You will be asked a few brief questions by one of our attorneys to confirm that you qualify for HELPS. If you prefer, you may fill out the enclosed enrollment form and return it to us by mail. We will contact you by phone to have our attorney confirm that you qualify. We will then contact your creditors and demand that their contact with you stop immediately. How Much Does HELPS Cost? HELPS is very affordable and is based on your household income: Households with $750 or less in monthly income.enrollment Fee $0..Monthly Fee $20 Household with $750 to $1250 in monthly income.enrollment Fee $125.Monthly Fee $20 Household with $1250 or more in monthly income...enrollment Fee $250.Monthly Fee $20 If needed, payment arrangements can be made for the enrollment fee. By calling now, it is possible to be enrolled immediately and Toll Free Telephone: Visit our Website: HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm PO Box Salem, OR Toll Free Fax: HELPS-A1 Rev 10-12

2 What Happens After I Enroll with HELPS? If you enroll by phone we will: 1. List the information you provide us on an enrollment form. 2. Transfer you to a HELPS attorney who will ask a few questions to verify that you qualify. 3. When we determine that you qualify we will complete the process by arranging for payment of the enrollment fee. If you enroll by mail: 1. We will review the brief application. 2. An attorney at HELPS will call you to ask a few questions to verify that you qualify. When Accepted: 1. We send letters to the collectors you have listed on your application. It takes a short time, (about 2 weeks) for creditors to receive these letters and enter them into their system. The calls should dramatically decrease or stop entirely by this time. 2. If creditors call you during this period, you may give them our creditor phone number to call us directly. It is: (HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm) You may also give them our fax number: or our 3. If you receive a letter from a new collection agency, we ask that you send us a copy. We will immediately contact that creditor and let them know that they may not call or contact you by mail. If you get a call from a new collection agency, please let them know that you are represented by the HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm and give them our address and phone number. You do not need to give them any further information about you. Let us know that you received a call from them and try to provide us with the name of the company and the account number they were calling about. We will contact them immediately. 4. You may add new or additional creditors may be added at any time. Please provide us with the name of the creditor, address, the account number and in the case of a collection agency, a reference number. 5. Remember, it is always free to call our office with your questions. PLEASE NOTE: Banks can, and will take money from your account if you owe them money. If you have a checking or savings account at a financial institution where you owe money, we recommend that you move your account immediately to a bank where you do not owe money. Working together we can eliminate the terrible burden and stress caused by unwanted calls from harassing collectors. It is always free to call our office with your questions. We would rather have you call and ask than worry. HELPS A2 Rev 10-12

3 A) List your Information: QUESTIONS? Call HELPS toll free at: HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm PO Box Salem OR (855) Enrolling in HELPS is as easy as A-B-C Name Address Mailing Address City State Zip Home Phone Cell Phone Additional Contact Number How Did You Hear About HELPS? Attorney/Law Firm - Name and City: Advertisement: Radio Television Senior Newspaper (name) Other Referral: Please list: (Thank You!) B) List the names and addresses of the collectors or creditors you cannot pay below - or send a copy of your billing statements with the creditor name, creditor address, and account number. Only list creditors you will not be paying. You should not list your mortgage or vehicle loans if you intend to keep your home or vehicle. 1.) 2.) C) To enroll immediately or to get more information, call HELPS toll free at: When you enroll, HELPS immediately notifies your unsecured creditors in writing that your income is protected by federal law. HELPS accepts phone calls from creditors and stops creditor harassment. You may always call, write or us with your questions. There is never an additional charge. Visit our website at: HELPS - Help Eliminate Legal Problems for Seniors and Disabled HELPS A3 Rev 11-12

4 QUESTIONS? Call HELPS toll free at: HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm PO Box Salem OR (855) Additional Creditors 3.) 4.) 5.) 6.) 7.) 8.) If you have more creditors, please list them on a separate sheet of paper and attach to this list. Only list the creditors that you will not be paying. You may add creditors at any time. Do not list mortgage or vehicle loans if you intend to keep the home or car. Visit our website at: HELPS - Help Eliminate Legal Problems for Seniors and Disabled HELPS A4 Rev 11-12

5 1. Who does HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm represent? HELPS only represents seniors and disabled persons receiving federally exempt Social Security, protected disability and pensions for the sole purpose of stopping harassment by collectors. I think the biggest benefit is, it gave me peace of mind knowing that I was going to be backed, that I didn't have to deal with the creditors directly, that my lawyers would take care of that. HELPS Client-Antonia L. 2. Can my creditors continue to call me after I am with HELPS? Once a collection agency or collection law firm is informed that you are represented by counsel they cannot legally contact you again. Federal law allows original creditors to continue sending statements by mail, but laws in some states may not even allow this activity. What HELPS does, it gives you an attorney. When you are represented by a lawyer, collectors cannot contact you. As soon as they knew I had a lawyer, they understood that they could no longer contact me...that was the biggest relief...being able to say: Call my lawyer. Here is their phone number, call them! You can not call me legally any more. It is not your legal right. Being represented, it gave me the freedom to move forward. Helps Client - Susan H. 3. Will this affect my credit report? Yes, when you fail to pay your creditors it is reported on your credit report. Many of our clients' credit reports have already been negatively impacted before participating with HELPS. 4. May I still use my credit cards? It depends. Since you won't be making payments on the accounts you list with HELPS, they will be closed if this has not already occurred. Since HELPS is not bankruptcy, you only list the collectors or creditors from whom you don't want contact. Perhaps you have a credit card that is current that you wish to keep. It is expected that you may be able to keep a card (for example a gas card) as long as it is paid current. In other words, with HELPS you do not have to list all your creditors. HELPS-FAQ1-Rev 10-12

6 5. Can HELPS advise me on legal matters like a will, contract, divorce, etc.? No. HELPS only represents persons on Social Security, disability or pensions to stop harassment by creditors. HELPS will however, attempt to assist you in obtaining an attorney willing to consult with you on a pro bono (free) basis if you have a problem. Since our clients are on a very limited income there are attorneys where you live willing to talk to you and even help you for free. We will do our best to help you find such an attorney. 6. Are there ever any extra charges for using your services? No. You may contact us as often as you wish. We will always talk to you and notify your creditors as many times as necessary that we are your attorney. There is never an extra charge. 7. What happens if I get a collection notice from a different collection agency in the future? Forward it to HELPS immediately and we will contact them. There is, of course, no extra charge. The way HELPS works...they notify your creditors, the collection agencies, and tell them that you are represented by a lawyer. Legally, once you are represented by a lawyer, they are not allowed to call you anymore. They are not allowed to send you messages any more. Seniors should know what HELPS can do for them...the constant harassment from the nasty people that are on the other end of the phone is eliminated completely. You have no more stress. I can't press that enough. You have no more stress from creditors it is all taken care of. The low cost, and I mean the low cost, is absolutely the best part. they've done a wonderful job for me and I have no complaints. HELPS Client - Ron B. 8. What if I keep getting harassed? This happens rarely. Almost all creditors stop contact upon notice that you are represented by HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm. However, in the unlikely event contact continues by a collector, we will send the offending creditor a warning letter or letters. Remember, they are breaking the law when they do this. If you get a collection letter from a collector that has been previously notified, simply forward it to our office. If a creditor continues to violate the law, we may refer you to a local attorney experienced in federal and state unfair debt collection laws. There would be no cost to you for the assistance of such an attorney. In the unlikely event a lawsuit is necessary to stop the offending action the attorney is paid by the offending creditor. We will assist the attorney, if necessary, with preparing such a case. However, HELPS never charges for this assistance and never shares in any award that you or another attorney who represents you receives. 9. Can I be sued while represented by HELPS? Yes. However, remember your income is exempt. Notify us if you are served with a summons. We will notify the attorney or company suing you that your income is exempt. We normally will furnish proof of your exempt income. All monies in your bank account from Social Security are exempt as they come from an exempt source. A creditor would be violating that law if they were to attempt to take money out of an account after they received notice that the money in the account was exempt. HELPS-FAQ2-Rev 10-12

7 10. Will you represent me in Court? No. Remember HELPS is your attorney only for the purpose of creditors not being able to contact you by phone or mail regarding collection of a past due debt. We will however, write the creditor or their attorney suing you, advising them that your income is completely exempt and to not take any money from your account for this reason. We will furnish them proof of the exempt source of your income. What is important is that the collector be advised and notified that your income is exempt from garnishment. If you dispute the debt you can obtain an attorney to represent you. If you do owe the money then it is to be expected that a judgment would be obtained. Remember if your income is exempt the collector cannot take it from you. You should forward to us any document you receive regarding a lawsuit so that we can advise you about the unlikely event that you would need a local attorney. In this highly unlikely event we will assist you in finding an attorney to advise or represent you locally on a pro bono (free) basis. 11. Can you help me if I decide to file bankruptcy? The HELPS program is designed to assist persons who are receiving Social Security, pension, and/or disability income in stopping harassment by collectors by you being represented for the purpose of stopping communication from that creditor. HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm does not file bankruptcy for persons. At your request we can refer you to a qualified bankruptcy attorney in your area who will consult with you for free about the advantages or disadvantages of filing a bankruptcy. We do not ever receive any compensation for referring you to another attorney for help. With the HELPS program you don t have to pay those bills. You can take that money and get the medicine you need and stay healthier and live in your home, and have heat in your house. HELPS Clients - Ray and Margaret B. 12. What are reasons I might not qualify or want to participate in HELPS? HELPS is for seniors and disabled persons that receive federally protected Social Security, protected disability and pensions. Collectors cannot garnish Social Security or protected disability and pensions. HELPS does not represent persons with significant other income or assets. For example; Lets say you anticipate receiving an inheritance from someone that will pass away in the future. You might want to file a bankruptcy before you have assets from the inheritance that are not protected. Maybe you have a home with some equity... you might want to file a bankruptcy so that when you pass away, the equity in the home would go to your heirs, instead of to debts you might owe. Sometimes, seniors make enough money from Social Security and a pension that they can afford to file bankruptcy. They simply want to wipe out the debt. Many HELPS clients cannot afford the high cost of bankruptcy. When you enroll, you will speak with a HELPS attorney. We do not give legal advice but we will advise you if your qualify for HELPS. If you do not qualify, we will point you in the right direction to find a qualified, caring attorney near where you live, who can advise you about bankruptcy or other options. HELPS-FAQ3-Rev 10-12

8 13. Are there every any extra charges for using your services? No. You may contact us as often as you wish. We will always talk to you and notify your creditors as many times as necessary that we are your attorney. There is never an extra charge. Without it, oh man, I don t know what I would have done I don t think (seniors) have any idea there is such a program. Helps Client - George H. 14. What happens if I get a collection notice from a different collection agency in the future? Forward it to HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm and we will contact them immediately. There is, of course, no extra charge. 15. Can you answer other legal questions that I have? It depends, you may always call us with your questions. Remember, HELPS only represents persons that qualify for the purpose of having an attorney to prevent harassment under federal law. However, we will speak with you about your question. HELPS does not practice law by appearing in court, negotiating with creditors or giving legal advice about a particular problem. However if appropriate, we will contact an attorney where you live. There are many attorneys willing to speak with seniors or disabled persons and assist them pro bono. This means for free. If we determine that you need legal advice where you live, we will assist you in obtaining such an attorney. We will communicate with them so they can assist you. HELPS is a nonprofit law firm designed especially for seniors and disabled persons on Social Security and pensions that are being harassed for debts they simply cannot pay. Under state and federal law, collectors can no longer call you or send you letters when you are represented by an attorney. When you enroll at HELPS, we will write your creditors immediately and inform them that we represent you. We tell your creditors that your income is protected from collection. They are not allowed to contact you further. They must contact HELPS. HELPS President and Attorney, Eric Olsen Remember, you can always call us with your questions. Of course, we can t do everything, but we are here so you don t have to suffer any more harassment from collectors. You can use your money for the things you need like food, medicine and shelter. We at HELPS hope that what we do brings peace to your life. HELPS-FAQ4-Rev 10-12

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