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I have 55,000 in credit card debt and due to hardships am struggling to pay bills. Do I have to be behind in payments in order to get help? I am not behind yet but will be soon.

It really depends on the type of debt relief you choose. With a debt settlement program you do need to be behind on your payments because it is a negotiation process. Your creditors are unlikely to negotiate debts if they are getting paid by you month after month because they are happy and making their money back. However, in some cases people still sign up with a debt settlement firm even though they are presently current. In that case the company will tell you to stop paying your creditors and instead make a predetermined monthly payment into a holding (trust) account. The money will accumulate in that account causing your accounts to go into default until the negotiaions begin.

If you are current, you only want to purposely go into default if you really have few other choices. That is, if your balance keeps growing and you are falling so far behind, you don’t ever see how your income can support or eventually be enough to repay everything you owe. However, it sounds like you may be heading in that direction making settlement an option to consider.

With a different solution, debt management, your bills are still paid on time by the debt management company who works with your creditors to reduce the interest rates and fees to help try and prevent the debt from getting too out of control that there is no way out given your income.

I hope that’s helpful. You may read more about how debt settlement works here and how debt management works here.