What are we doing? Troy UMC is giving 15% of our December offerings to relieve medical debt for residents of Madison County. Considering that medical debt can be purchased for a penny on the dollar we hope to give away $20-30,000 to abolish somewhere between $2-3 million worth of medical debt.
Why are we doing this? This is a tangible way to show people in our community the gospel of Jesus Christ! Furthermore, as a large church, we have a chance to make a large impact on our area. Medical debt is a huge problem and it cripples families. In addition to the mental and financial stress, people often have money garnished from their paychecks. This can make it difficult to purchase even the essentials, not to mention that outstanding debt drops their credit score making borrowing difficult and may even be an issue for future employment.
How are we doing this? We are partnering with RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit whose sole purpose is to locate, purchase and then abolish unpaid and un-payable medical debt as a benefit to society as well as the recipient. Since inception, RIP has abolished over $1 billion in medical debt with help from folks like us!
- who earn less than 2 times the federal poverty level
- whose debt payments exceed 5% of their annual income
- who are facing insolvency – their debts are greater than their total assets
- who are residents of Madison County
Isn’t this debt from people who will most likely never pay it off anyway? YES! That’s the point. Just because they will never be able to pay it off doesn’t mean they don’t want to pay it off. Almost everyone is grateful for the medical care they received. They just can’t afford to pay for it.
Can Troy UMC choose whose debt to pay off? RIP Medical Debt purchases the debt in bundled portfolios. This is one of the reasons these individuals face no tax burden from the gift (see below).
Do we know whose debt is paid off? Due to HIPAA privacy laws, these individuals will remain unknown unless they choose to reach out to us. In late February or early March they will receive a letter from RIP Medical that informs them their debt has been paid off by Troy United Methodist Church. What they do from there is up to them.
Are those who have their debt paid off required to pay taxes on the income? For those whose medical debts are paid off, the gift is from a detached and unbiased third party (RIP Medical Debt) as an act of generosity. Because of this, the forgiveness of the debt does not count as income to the debtor.
What do we expect in return from people whose debt is paid off? Nothing, that’s what a gift is. We’re not asking them to become a member of Troy UMC or even to come to a service here. We only want them to know that God’s people care about them but more importantly, that there is an amazing GOD that cares about them, and for them!
How can you participate? 15% of our offerings in December will go toward this debt relief. So, participate by giving! Cash or checks collected in December offerings.
- To give online: www.troyumc.org/give
- Text an amount (i.e. 100) to: 618-205-9952
- Send a check directly to our office postmarked before December 31st to: 407 Edwardsville Road, Troy, IL 62294