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Debt consolidation, debt settlement, and other debt relief programs in Virginia are available for those who are struggling to get out of debt. Being in debt is more common in Virginia than you might think. The average credit card debt a Virginian resident carries is over $5,000. Continue reading to learn more about Virginia’s debt relief laws, socioeconomics, and wealth and poverty statistics.

Debt Relief Laws in Virginia to Protect Borrowers

Virginia has a collection of debt relief laws called Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to protect residents from predatory lenders. Under Virginia law, a collection agency can only charge up to 6% interest rate. 75% of your disposable weekly earnings after tax or 30 times the nationwide minimum wage are also protected by Virginia’s debt regulations.

The commonwealth has a statute of limitations on debt. Collection agencies can only take legal action within five years of the date you went past due on your payments. If the loan was taken out in another state, however, Virginia’s statute of limitations doesn’t apply. You would have to look up the statute of limitations from the state in which you borrowed the money. Virginia’s statute of limitations is shorter for oral agreements and open accounts. A company only has three years in those instances to take legal action.

Virginia’s Socioeconomics

Virginia has a population around 8 million and is the 12th most populous state. Its total labor force is 3,597,100 with office and administrative support, sales, and food preparation and serving being the top three occupations with the most worker. The average credit card debt that Virginians carry is $5,329, which is higher than the national average of $5,235. Yet, Virginians have an average VantageScore credit score of 694, greater than the U.S. average of 687. Residents in the state also have a larger median household income of $64,631 than the national median of $51,017.

Wealth and Poverty in Virginia

The three most populous cities in Virginia are Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Chesapeake. The unemployment rate in Virginia Beach is 5.2%, the same as the state average. Norfolk’s unemployment rate is 7.2% and Chesapeake’s is 5.7%. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Richmond has the second highest poverty rate in Virginia of 24.6%. Lynchburg has the highest percentage of residents living in poverty of 24.8%. In general, the central city is where the racial minorities live in poverty, and the surrounding suburbs consist of wealthier whites.

How Debt Relief Can Help

Getting yourself out of debt is one of the first steps toward financial health. There are several debt relief programs in Virginia that you can sign up for to pay off your debt. These programs can help by consolidating your debts, decreasing the monthly payment, settling debt for lower amounts, and reducing interest rates. You have a higher chance of becoming debt-free when you follow a proven program.

Who Are Prime Candidates for Debt Relief?

Debt relief programs are ideal for people who feel overwhelmed trying to pay off their debt and need a helping hand. If you’ve been missing payments and struggling to pay your debt, then you’re a prime candidate for debt relief. To qualify for a debt relief program, you must be able to make monthly payments into a settlement fund. For most people, the monthly payment into a settlement fund is lower than the total monthly payments on their debts.

Virginia has a large number of people in its state that could benefit from debt consolidation and other debt relief programs. Fortunately, Virginia has several laws in place to help protect consumers from predatory practices in the debt collection industry. There is a five-year statute of limitations on debt from loans with a written contract. For verbal agreements, the statute of limitations is three years. A percentage of your wages is also protected by state law.