Can my mother get credit counseling in Russian before she files for bankruptcy?

The U.S. Trustee's website lists approved credit counseling agencies that provide services in Russian.

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Question

My mom needs to file for bankruptcy. Although she has lived here for many years, her English is still limited. She speaks Russian.  She will either get my brother or an attorney to help with her bankruptcy forms. But I was doing some reading online and discovered that she needs to get credit counseling before she files. Can she find an approved agency that has Russian-speaking services? She lives in Chicago, Illinois but is quite elderly and cannot travel far.

Answer

Yes, the U.S. Trustee’s Office has a list of approved credit counseling agencies that provide services in Russian. In fact, there is an agency with Russian-speaking counselors in Chicago. But if your mother prefers to do the counseling over the telephone, she has that option as well. Russian-speakers in most other states will have to do the counseling over the phone or Internet.  

The Bankruptcy Credit Counseling Requirement

Anyone filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy must participate in credit counseling – in person, over the phone, or online – within the 180-day period before filing for bankruptcy.   After participating in the session, the counseling agency will provide the debtor with a certificate of completion; the debtor must file this with his or her bankruptcy petition or within 15 days of the bankruptcy filing.  (Learn more about the credit counseling requirement for bankruptcy, including the rare instances when a bankruptcy filer does not have to get counseling.)

Finding a Credit Counseling Agency That Offers Services in Russian

In order to meet the bankruptcy requirement, your mother must get counseling from an agency that is approved by the Office of the United States Trustee. You can find a list of approved agencies, by state, on the U.S. Trustee’s website.  If you click on your state, you’ll find an extensive list of providers – but these counseling agencies only provide services in English and Spanish.

To find providers that offer services in Russian, scroll down to the section that says “Approved Agencies Offering Services in Languages Other Than English or Spanish,” and then choose “Russian.”  There is one agency in Chicago, Illinois that has Russian-speaking counselors. In many other states, however, Russian-speakers will have to get counseling over the telephone or through the Internet – both are sufficient to comply with the bankruptcy requirement. If your mother prefers not to travel to the Chicago office, she can get counseling over the telephone as well.

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