Linda Payne

Name: Linda Payne
Age: 49
Current financial situation: Back to putting incidentals on plastic, after taking a home equity loan to redecorate.
Paula Burkes, Staff Writer Published: April 27, 2008
Advertisement
;

photo -
Name: Linda Payne
Age: 49
Current financial situation: Back to putting incidentals on plastic, after taking a home equity loan to redecorate.
Largest amount of debt: $24,000 after the premature death of her husband.
Road to recovery: a graduate of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, she for a time operated only on cash.
Words of wisdom: "If I had it to do over, I would have saved up for redecorating and done a little at a time."

One-hundred percent disabled by post traumatic stress syndrome, Vietnam veteran Mike Payne had been receiving Veterans Administration benefits for only a few months when he passed away in early 2000 from PTSD-related heart problems.

As soon as he died, the VA immediately cut off the benefits, leaving his wife and two young children with their own stress.

The Social Security Administration also stopped paying Linda Payne her husband’s supplemental security income. The agency began paying her kids survivor benefits, but told Payne she didn’t qualify because she made too much money.

A banker, Payne was earning $24,000 a year then. The kids’ benefits were $995 each.

“I could pay my bills and mortgage, but would only have a little bit left for gas and groceries,” Payne said. “We’d take a calculator with us to the grocery store to make sure we didn’t overspend.”

Payne felt forced to use her credit card for all other necessities that arose, like tires, school clothes and house repairs. It wasn’t long before she’d racked up some $24,000 in debt.

“Every month, I’d try to pay more than just the minimum amount, but sometimes I couldn’t,” she said. Any tax refund she received, she’d pay it toward the debt.

Payne eventually was awarded VA survivor benefits of some $1,500 a month, but the legal battle took her two and half years and cost her 10 percent of the lump back-pay settlement, which she used to pay off her debt.

| |

Advertisement


Trending Now



AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Tennessee coach leaves amid toxic dysfunction
  2. 2
    Should Schools Introduce Dress Codes for Parents?
  3. 3
    Study: Dangers for casual pot smokers
  4. 4
    Teen sacrificed life to save other students
  5. 5
    Seahawks running back Christine Michael takes girl with autism to her prom
+ show more