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Ask Creditnet: I'm a Disabled Vet - Who Can Help Me Fix My Credit Problems?

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Dear Creditnet: I am a disabled veteran who ran into a lot of financial trouble and really messed up my credit reports. Long story short, I basically went crazy and stopped paying my bills because I thought I was going to die every day. Now, my actions just haunt me every day with horrible credit.

I am married with two children and one on the way, and I am nervous that my bad credit is bringing my family down. My wife has good credit and a great job so I feel like I am the only one holding us back. Please, is there an agency or someone who can help me fix my credit problems?

Answer: First, let me thank you for your service in the military. I have a great respect for you and all the veterans who have sacrificed much to serve our country.

Now, in regards to your credit, the positive news here is that your wife still has good credit. In my opinion, there's really no reason to hire an agency or a "credit repair" guru to help you rebuild your credit history. You can do it yourself, with the help of your lovely wife, and the support of members in our free discussion forum on Creditnet - Credit Talk.

The first thing you should do is have your wife add you as an authorized user on a few of her oldest credit cards with low credit utilization and good payment histories. As soon as those accounts show up on your credit reports, your FICO credit scores should receive a nice boost.

This technique is known as "piggybacking", and it still works. As your wife continues to make on-time payments, her positive payment history will become part of your permanent credit history and your personal credit scores will begin to climb once again.

Next, I urge you to join our Credit Talk Forum, and post what negative items remain on your credit reports. The forum members, including myself, will help you develop a strategy to clean up your credit reports as best as possible. It will take some time and effort, but believe me, you can do it yourself and the results will definitely be worth the effort on your part.

Finally, you may also want to reach out to your local Vet Center to see if there are other services or programs that might benefit you and your family. Check out Vetcenter.va.gov to find a center near you and get more information about the wide range of free services available to help veterans make a successful transition from military to civilian life.  You've earned these free benefits through your service, so make sure you're taking advantage of them in every way possible.

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Joshua Heckathorn's picture

Joshua Heckathorn was President of Creditnet, is a credit expert and has been featured on CNNMoney, FOX Business, Yahoo Finance, The Street, and many other national publications during the past ten years.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Management (Finance) from Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Business and earned his MBA from Seattle University.

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