Our agency is committed to assuring the privacy of individuals and/or families who have contacted us for assistance. We assure you that all information shared both orally and in writing will be managed within legal and ethical considerations. Your "personal financial information", such as your total debt information, income, living expenses and personal information concerning your financial circumstances, will be provided to creditors and possibly others with your specific authorization.
We may also use aggregated case file information for the purpose of evaluating our services, gathering valuable research information and designing future programs. Your anonymity will be maintained through the use of your client number or by using aggregate data in all circumstances.
We may disclose your information to the U.S. Trustee in connection with oversight of our service, or during the investigation of compliants, during on-site visits or during quality service reviews. In all other situations, your information may be released to appropriate individuals or agencies ONLY UPON YOUR WRITTEN REQUEST, or when our staff has been served by a valid subpoena.
Before providing counseling, we disclose and you acknowledge and agree to the following:
Pre-Filing Bankruptcy Counseling Disclosures:
- Counselor Qualifications
All of CCCS Counselors must meet certification requirements as set forth by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). Counselors are required to successfully complete the primary certification requirements and maintain Certified Credit Counselor status by upholding the NFCC Code of Ethics and completing continuing professional development education. Counselors cannot give legal advice but can refer you to an attorney.
- Bilingual Counseling
Counseling services are available in English and Spanish. In the event a client lacks proficiency in either language, we will provide counseling services through a professional interpreter at no additional charge. In addition, Client may visit the U.S. Department of Justice website at www.justice.gov/ust to locate agencies that offer services in languages other than English or Spanish.
- Cost of Services/Fee Waiver Eligibility
To help defray the cost of providing this session, CCCS charges a fee of $50.00. Payment may be made by money order, credit or debit card or bank draft. No individual will be refused counseling if they demonstrate the inability to pay, due to income level and/or hardship situation. A fee waiver will be based on whether Client’s current household income is less than 150% of the poverty guidelines updated periodically in the Federal Register by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
To request a fee waiver, in whole or in part, Client must submit supporting income documentation to CCCS either in-person; via Email at gro.agoonattahcfosccc@ofni; by Facsimile at (585) 546-5693; or by mail by addressing CCCS of Chattanooga, 5600 Brainerd Rd Suite E-1, Chattanooga, TN 37411. Upon receipt, CCCS will determine fee waiver eligibility based on documentation received. Client will be notified within one business day.
CCCS policy prohibits paying or receiving fees or other compensation for the referral of Clients.
- Funding Sources
Funding sources received by CCCS for the provision of its services are through the following:
- Monthly service fees and a one-time enrollment fee from clients enrolled in our Debt Management Program (DMP). These funds are used to help defray administrative costs of the DMP and are not fees for counseling.
- Fair Share Contributions received from DMP creditors as dictated by their guidelines.
- Grant funding from entities that support financial literacy education and program services, including, state and federal governmental agencies and creditors.
- Credit Report Impact
- Budget and Credit Counseling services do not produce a negative impact on a consumer's credit score.
- If the consumer enrolls in a Debt Management Program, a notation may appear on their report that the consumer is making payments through a third party and that the account is closed. That notation is noted at the discretion of the lender and a consumer’s score is not negatively affected simply by enrolling in a DMP.
- Filing for Bankruptcy does negatively impact a consumer's credit report. The bankruptcy notation will remain on the report for a period of up to 10 years.
- Alternative Payment Arrangements
Client has the opportunity to negotiate an alternative payment schedule with regard to each unsecured consumer debt. We will discuss alternatives to bankruptcy, including the option to negotiate an alternative payment arrangement with your creditors. We will discuss any potential impacts on credit reports of all alternatives that we discuss with you. If you should decide to enter into a Debt Management Plan (DMP) (which will be explained in the course of this session) you will be provided with fee information, separate agreement and disclosure forms.
CCCS is obligated to promptly provide a certificate upon completion of the counseling. Only after completing this session, will you be provided with a certificate that you will need should you decide to file for bankruptcy. The certificate is valid for 180 days from the date counseling is completed. There is no additional cost for the generation of your certificate.
- Privacy Disclosure
In order to assist you, it is essential that you provide us with information that is as accurate and complete as possible. For that reason, we may ask you to authorize us to access your credit history. We may disclose your information to the U.S. Trustee in connection with its oversight of our service, or during the investigation of complaints, during on-site visits, or during quality service reviews. In all other situations your inforamation may be released to appropriate individuals or agencies ONLY UPON YOUR WRITTEN REQUEST or when our staff has been served by a valid subpoena. The U.S. Trustee has reviewed only our credit counseling services and our personal financial management instructional course. The United States Trustee has neither reviewed nor approved any other services we provide. CCCS services are available to the public regardless of income, sex, age, place of residence, or any other demographical criteria.
I have read and agree to the above listed terms, conditions and counseling fees.