RIP Medical Debt and Upsolve both work towards a common goal of helping Americans overcome crushing debt from financial shocks such as exorbitant medical bills. Our organizations have a common vision of a world in which no one’s financial wellbeing is ruined because they needed medical care. At the core of both of our missions is a commitment to ensuring Americans don’t have to live in financial distress and are able to focus on what matters most to them and their families.
Upsolve was included on TIME’s list of The 100 Best Inventions in 2020. Read our Q&A with Upsolve to learn how they have joined the fight against medical debt by supporting families in financial distress through the complex but powerful process of filing for bankruptcy:
Q: What problem is Upsolve working to address?
Upsolve is working to address the interrelated problems of severe financial distress and low-income families being unable to afford civil legal help. We fight these problems by helping low-income families who cannot afford lawyers file bankruptcy for free, using an online web app. To date, Upsolve has relieved over $300 million in debt for families suffering from predatory loans, layoffs, and medical bills.
Q: What should people know about bankruptcy?
Although bankruptcy is a powerful lifeline for low-income families with crippling debt, few know that it is. Bankruptcy relieves debt from financial shocks, improves credit, and increases people’s chances of getting a job.
Too often, people are ashamed of filing bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is sometimes mistakenly seen as admitting failure or a sign of financial irresponsibility. In reality, most people who file bankruptcy fall into debt because of a one-time unexpected financial shock. For example, 71.5 percent of bankruptcy filers list medical emergencies as a reason. There shouldn’t be anything shameful about getting the financial fresh start that you need.
Q: What’s next on the horizon for Upsolve?
Our team is quite excited about our vision for Upsolve in the coming years. We have developed a 10-year goal of becoming the best place in America for low-income families in financial distress to learn about and access their legal and financial rights. We believe there’s a missing brand to be built. Although our bankruptcy tool remains our core focus, we believe we can apply what we’ve learned from helping low-income families access bankruptcy to other areas of poverty law and financial distress. In the coming months we will be publishing hundreds of articles on our website about foreclosure, credit problems, debt collection, and many other issues that people in financial trouble face.
Q: What does it mean to do this work in this moment?
A year has passed since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. Since then, economic, racial, and health inequities have grown substantially. While Upsolve’s work does not solve the immediate problem of what leads people into crushing levels of debt, we see our work as an integral part of our country’s pandemic recovery and the collective effort underway to close these appalling inequities. As bankruptcy rates skyrocket and debts accrued during the pandemic enters collection, Upsolve and RIP Medical Debt will be at the forefront of helping marginalized Americans get a financial fresh start, debt-free.
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