More than 60,000 families have taken out more than $300,000 in credit card debt and a further 60,800 have received help with paying for childcare or medical bills.
A nationwide report on debt relief shows that nearly three quarters of people surveyed in February were unable to repay their debts on time, and almost one in five said they had missed payments on credit cards.
More than three quarters said they were still struggling to pay for basics such as rent, food, energy bills and utilities.
But they said the relief offered through debt collection and credit card companies was not enough to help them recover from their debts.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other advocacy groups are calling on Congress to make it easier for people to file for debt relief.
The debt relief program was established by Congress in 2013 to provide relief for those struggling with credit card debts and other consumer debts that are more than 90 days old.
Under the law, eligible families who have been charged more than the credit limit by a bank or credit card company may seek debt relief from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by filing an application with the Financial Institutions Reporting System (FIERS).
The application must include the name, address and Social Security number of the creditor and the creditor’s name and address.
If the creditor is unable to provide this information, it must also provide a copy of their credit report.
A creditor may be required to pay the debt relief application fee of $1,000.
The FTC has been working to improve the way creditors report debts and protect consumers.
In a new report, the consumer advocacy group Fair Debt Collection Practices (FDCP) highlighted that only 4% of credit card and debt collection applications received by the agency in 2014 had sufficient information on the identity of the individual to obtain a credit card or a debt relief order.
The report also found that in just a few cases, the creditor did not provide the information required to file the application.
In 2014, the FTC initiated a pilot program in which it would ask banks to report credit card payments to the Federal Credit Union Administration (FCUA) to help prevent fraud and to encourage the disclosure of information to consumers.
The FDCP has also launched an online tool that helps consumers learn how to file a debt recovery application.
The agency is also working to ensure that the debt collection companies comply with its consumer protection laws and have adequate monitoring and enforcement.FDCPs senior staff is on a five-year-long pilot program to help ensure the FDCPs debt relief programs are effective and efficient.
The program is funded by fees paid by credit card issuers and payment processors, which can be up to $3,000 per family.
The pilot program is a response to the FMCSA’s ongoing financial assistance review and will expand upon the pilot program that was announced in 2014.FMCSA officials are also reviewing existing legislation to ensure FDCPS programs are as effective as possible.
The agency has not yet issued a final rule, and FMCPS is expected to continue to work with Congress to revise the FFCSA and other laws.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) also recently said it will review the financial aid laws and regulations, including the FSCA, to determine whether they are appropriate for the FDCA program.
Under its rules, FDCPA debt relief is available to eligible families, and the FDBNY said that it expects to release a proposal to Congress by the end of June.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which oversees FDC, is also conducting a review of the FDSC.
A report by the CFPB’s Office of the Inspector General is expected by the first quarter of 2018.