On the hook for her niece's bills



Guadalupe is about to have her wages garnished for her niece’s medical care. Two years ago, Guadalupe’s niece was involved in a car accident. She went to the hospital for non-emergency medical care. Since she was less than 18 years old, she needed an adult to sign authorization for care. Guadalupe’s husband went and signed the papers.

A few weeks after the accident, Guadalupe began receiving bills for her niece’s care. Oddly, the bills were in Guadalupe’s name. Curious why she was being billed, Guadalupe called the hospital. She explained that the girl’s mother lived in Las Vegas. The hospital told Guadalupe they would take care of it. She assumed that was the end of the matter. It was not.

A few months ago, Guadalupe learned she was in the debt collectors’ system. Curious as to why, Guadalupe called. It was her niece’s debt again! Guadalupe contacted the hospital again and was again assured the matter would be taken care of.

Recently Guadalupe received notice that her wages will be garnished—for debt that is not and never was her responsibility. Guadalupe’s husband is in the process of becoming a US citizen. As he has worked with the collection agency, he’s been bullied and threatened to have US marshals sent to his home. Guadalupe and her husband are afraid that if they don’t comply and pay a debt that isn’t theirs, his application for citizenship will be affected.