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Many may not recognize the faces of those forced to file for bankruptcy. More than ever, bankruptcy filings are due to reasons other than the loss of a job or irresponsible use of consumer credit. Gone are the days where two good fulltime jobs with health insurance policies and a house in the suburbs make one immune from bankruptcy. One Florida family who was forced into foreclosure and ultimately bankruptcy after the birth of a child with disabilities knows this all too well.

Their story begins with the birth of their little girl in August 2007. Both parents had children from previous marriages and after a normal pregnancy they were excited for the arrival of their first child together. The excitement quickly changed to confusion however when shortly after her birth, the baby girl was rushed to the neonatal intensive-care unit at Winnie Palmer.

After the baby came home, it became clear that the child’s mother needed to quit her job as a teacher to care for the little girl. Around the same time the family sought Social Security Disability benefits and Medicaid for their daughter. Both were denied. The girl made multiple trips to the doctor each week for testing and to try to determine a diagnosis. The family spent nearly $20,000 the first year.

It was not long before the family was facing foreclosure. In an effort to save their house they unsuccessfully sought a loan modification. After almost two years, despite one parent being employed fulltime and having health insurance, the couple was forced to declare bankruptcy.

We will continue this discussion in our next post focusing on the climate that caused a middle class family with protections in place to be forced into bankruptcy.


Orlando Sentinel: “Despite insurance, medical bills push family to bankruptcy,” Kate Santich, July 30, 2011