My babysitter was recently hospitalized and now needs to file for bankruptcy. She speaks Vietnamese. I can help her with the bankruptcy forms (I speak some Vietnamese), but she is worried about the credit counseling requirement. Can she do the counseling in Vietnamese? She doesn’t know anyone who is fluent in both languages who can go with her. She lives in California.
Your babysitter will be able to find an approved credit counseling agency that provides services in Vietnamese. Most likely, she’ll be able to complete the required session over the telephone or through a packet of printed materials in Vietnamese.
The Bankruptcy Credit Counseling Requirement
Your babysitter must participate in credit counseling – in person, over the phone, or online – within the 180-day period before she files for bankruptcy. The counselor will go over her income and debts, and suggest nonbankruptcy solutions to her debt load, if there are any. Even if the counselor comes up with a suggested nonbankruptcy alternative, however, your babysitter can still file for bankruptcy.
After participating in the session, the counseling agency will provide her with a certificate of completion; she must file this with her bankruptcy petition or within 15 days of her 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 an Approved Provider That Has Vietnamese Speakers
In order to meet the bankruptcy requirement, your babysitter must get counseling only 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 a list of providers that speak Vietnamese, scroll down to the section that says “Approved Agencies Offering Services in Languages Other Than English or Spanish,” and then choose “Vietnamese.” The listed credit counseling agencies in California that can provide Vietnamese services only offer it over the telephone or through a packet of printed materials. But these methods are sufficient to meet the bankruptcy requirement. Some states have agencies that can provide Vietnamese counseling in person.