AFGE member gets on the road to financial recovery with union help
Sound, effective and legitimate credit counseling is needed now by many Americans who are struggling to get out of the debt trap. In fact, according to a Federal Reserve study, about 43 percent of U.S. families spend more than they earn.
Lisa Johnson, a member of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 709 and a psychologist at a Federal Corrections Institute in Colorado, was among them. By turning to one of her AFGE benefits, the Union Plus Credit Counseling Program, Johnson was able to stop the collection calls, and she’s now on the road to financial recovery.
“I knew the Union Plus Credit Counseling Program had to be reputable if the union was backing it. I have friends who regretted using some of the other commercial, so-called debt management companies. In fact, they ended up owing even more than they did originally. I’m glad I went with Union Plus program,” says Johnson, a 10-year union member.
Union members can access free credit and budget counseling either on the phone 24/7 or in person at more than 100 locations nationwide. Your free session includes:
- Complete financial review, budget analysis and credit management counseling
- Assistance in budgeting or advice on sources of additional income
- Advice on how to work with creditors
- A written Action Plan that summarizes your financial situation, provides a budget and timeline for reaching your debt management and repayment goals, and restates action items, and
- Referrals social service organization in your area, if appropriate.
For those who need additional assistance, a Debt Management Plan (DMP) is available. The DMP allows participants to make one monthly payment to the provider of the credit counseling program, who in turn, pays all creditors. Union Plus waives the set-up fee for union members for an initial DMP. And, after the first year of successful participation, 12 months of DMP fees are reimbursed to union members.
Johnson has been enrolled in the Union Plus-backed DMP for more than a year. The program helped re-negotiate her debt to creditors and set up a payment plan that Johnson could handle. In fact, the single monthly payment she makes now is less than the combined amount of all the bills she had been struggling to make.
The plan has brought not only financial relief for this single mother but also much-needed peace of mind. To ensure a financially secure future, Johnson, who holds a doctorate of psychology, is taking advantage of financial education offered through the Debt Management Program, including free webinars and trainings.
“I think more union members should know about union benefits like the Credit Counseling program,” says Johnson. “Being a union member offers me a lot, including access to additional professional training and meetings. I’m glad that I am a part of the union and I am thankful for representation and the unique benefits that I am entitled to.”
The Union Plus Credit Counseling Program is just one of many unique benefits offered by Union Plus aimed at helping union families during this difficult economic downswing. If you have had a Union Plus Mortgage, Credit Card or Insurance policy for at least a year and are facing financial difficulty, the Union SAFE program may offer assistance. Unemployment, disability, and hospital care grants are available to Union Plus program participants.
Even if you do not participate in a Union Plus program, help may still be available through education grants, free foreclosure prevention counseling, free bankruptcy counseling and a free medical bill negotiation service.