U.S. Virgin Islands Debt Relief
16 MIN READ
Published April 25, 2023 | Updated November 27, 2023
United States Virgin Islands Debt Relief
With a cost of living higher than the national average, a lower-than-average income, and destructive natural disasters, debt-free living is difficult for many residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Once you’re stuck carrying a heavy debt burden, it can be hard to eliminate, especially without assistance. Fortunately, TurboDebt is a debt relief company offering several options to help Virgin Islands residents address their debt. Whether you’re dealing with credit card balances, medical bills, payday loans, or other debts, we understand the importance of tailored debt relief options for those living in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
We saved our clients an average of 46% of their total debt enrolled with us before fees in 2022. Get in touch today to see how much we might be able to save you, and read on to find key debt relief information, options, and financial hardship resources.
Economic Overview of the U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands has a small population of just over 87,000. These northern Mariana Islands are an incorporated territory of the U.S. located in the Caribbean Sea. With millions of visitors annually, tourism and trade are the main drivers of the economy, employing half the labor population and contributing the largest amount to the GDP.
The average household income is $40,408, lower than the United States national average of $67,000. Major recent economic hits include the closing of the Hovensa oil refinery, hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, and the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020. All of these have contributed to higher public and personal debt, slowed economic development, and financial hardship.
How Does Debt Relief Work in the U.S. Virgin Islands?
Debt relief in the U.S. Virgin Islands works through efforts of the local government, the U.S. government, and private initiatives.
Certain government relief programs, along with non-profit and for-profit debt relief companies like TurboDebt, provide assistance for those living and working on the islands of St. John, St. Thomas, and St. Croix. These organizations offer various debt relief programs in the U.S. Virgin Islands through personalized debt payment options.
Debt and Finance Statistics in the U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands has a tiny population and sometimes is left out of national surveys and reports. Therefore, some vital data is lacking. However, based on our key findings, here are the best available details on different aspects of public debt and finance in the U.S. Virgin Islands:
Student Loan Debt
Many students receive financial aid through grants and scholarships from the local and federal government, college institutions, and other private organizations. On average, a first-year University of the Virgin Islands student may receive an average of $9,258 in financial aid. While students may receive financial help, graduates still owe an average of $16,282 in student loans.
The latest data from the 2020 U.S. Census shows a median home price of $290,558 in the Virgin Islands, which is higher than on the U.S. mainland and in Puerto Rico. On the territory itself, houses are most expensive in St. John’s and lower-priced in St. Croix, with St. Thomas landing in the middle.
Rising interest rates and inflation-elevated construction costs have left many residents struggling to afford homes.
Bankruptcies are filed in the District Court of the Virgin Islands with an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeal of the Third Circuit. As of September 2023, the U.S. Virgin Islands had 23 pending cases of bankruptcy. Although this number is small, it represents a 9.5% increase from the previous year, indicating more residents find themselves in financial hardship and need help to discharge or reorganize their debts.
Average Income and Employment
Employees in the Virgin Islands earn an average hourly wage of $23.01. Jobs in the government, hospitality, and trade sectors employ the most residents.
The unemployment rate for the U.S. Virgin Islands was 9.7% in 2020. Unemployment may continue to rise due to slow economic growth and a shrinking population in the islands since the pandemic.
The U.S. Virgin Islands has an average credit score of 676, which is only 6 points above the rating of 'good' and below the national average.
FICO calculates credit scores based on several historical factors to determine credit risk. The higher the score, the more likely you are to get a loan at favorable terms, including lower interest rates. With rates soaring post-pandemic, a good credit score can potentially lower your debt risk. However, this number can easily slip down to the “fair” category, putting more residents at risk of carrying lower credit scores.
Identity theft usually involves another person using your identity to commit a crime or claim some unwarranted financial benefits and is a crime under the Virgin Islands' criminal law. According to the FBI, 158 residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands fell victim to internet crimes in 2022, which include identity theft. Damages totaled over $800,000 for these victims.
It’s important to stay vigilant against this type of monetary loss, which can make you liable for financial commitments you didn’t make. Identity theft may also affect your credit score, especially if the thief took out a loan and defaulted on it.
Banking and Tax Information
There are at least three major banks – First Bank, Banco Popular, and Scotia Bank, as well as several smaller banks with locations throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Virgin Islands use the U.S. dollar, and you can open a bank account in person and online with valid identification and a deposit.
Residents file income tax returns with the Virgin Islands Bureau of Internal Revenue rather than the IRS. However, the tax system follows the same laws as the U.S.
You can only file for the following tax credits upon confirmation with the BIR:
- Earned income credit
- Additional child tax credit
- Credit for other dependents
- American opportunity tax credit
How TurboDebt Helped the U.S. Virgin Islands With Debt Relief in 2022
TurboDebt assisted 33 total clients in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2022. Seventeen of those individuals enrolled in our debt relief program, leading to a total enrolled debt of $515,853. This constituted an average client enrolled debt of $30,344.
Top Types of Debt To Get Relief From in the U.S. Virgin Islands
TurboDebt offers tailored debt relief programs in the U.S. Virgin Islands, helping with the following top types of debt:
Credit Card Debt:
Credit card debt in the U.S. Virgin Islands includes principal, interest, and penalties for various infractions. The interest depends partly on your credit report and may be as high as 30% because it’s considered an unsecured debt.
Because of low incomes and frequent economic upsets from natural disasters, delinquency on credit cards is not uncommon for residents. TurboDebt offers credit card debt relief through an effective plan. We can help you renegotiate a revised payment plan that encompasses new interest rates and more manageable monthly payments to help you become debt-free quickly.
A divorce settlement is one of the top causes that may lead to debt in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Coupled with the legal costs, settling marriage debts and the expenses of starting over can put personal finances in disarray.
Virgin Islands divorce debt relief services include customized programs that help you pay off debt accumulated from a costly divorce. A reputable debt relief company like TurboDebt can provide respite as you build a new life.
Sometimes, businesses in the Virgin Islands have trouble avoiding crushing debt. Aside from paying wages, purchasing inventory, and financing growth, business owners also contend with the after-effects of disasters like hurricanes, which frequently cross the islands. Many small businesses can’t take care of these incidents without taking on debt and may risk closure due to lack of funds.
However, TurboDebt offers help for business owners in the U.S. Virgin Islands through our customized debt relief programs. Get started today with a free consultation.
Many of the Virgin Islands' low earners face trouble affording health care. Even among those employed, 29% are without health insurance coverage.
Virgin Islands medical debt relief options include debt consolidation, debt settlement, or debt forgiveness (although uncommon). A debt relief company like TurboDebt can advise you on the best debt relief option and even negotiate better terms in certain cases.
Homes typically cost more in the Virgin Islands than in the mainland U.S.. Aside from high mortgage costs, many homeowners are also victims of destructive hurricanes. As such, many homeowners have to deal with repair costs on top of the regular mortgage payments.
Local and federal interventions provide some relief, but often, this is inadequate. Sometimes, the only alternative to losing a home is taking on more loans, making homeowner debt one of the most significant portions of personal debt.
TurboDebt can advise you on the best debt relief options if you’re having trouble with your mortgage or other home-related debt.
Retirement debt is often difficult to overcome for those living on a fixed income. When you retire, your income usually decreases while living costs increase, especially concerning medical expenses.
U.S. Virgin Islands retirement debt relief involves options that allow you to become debt-free in the shortest amount of time. Contact the experts at TurboDebt today to learn how you can overcome debt and live out your retirement in financial peace.
Options for Debt Relief in the U.S. Virgin Islands
Here are some of the best and most effective debt relief options available to residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands:
Debt Management Programs
Debt delinquency can happen due to an inability to track multiple payments each month. Numerous payments may also expose you to several different interest rates, which may be more expensive to pay off.
The most effective form of debt management programs help you renegotiate with your creditors to consolidate your debts so that you can make one monthly payment at a reduced interest rate.
With a debt management program, you’ll have to commit to making the monthly payment and not take on more debt. This option is ideal for those overwhelmed by their many creditors who can benefit from a single monthly payment plan.
Debt Consolidation Loans
Like debt management programs, debt consolidation loans are ideal for those with many creditors. This solution involves taking out one big loan to pay off numerous smaller loans, which may help you avoid the costs of delinquency.
For instance, if you owed $20,000 on a rewards credit card and $5,000 toward unpaid medical bills, you could borrow $25,000 to pay both off, then start making one monthly payment toward the consolidation loan.
Consolidated loans may reduce what you’re paying in interest, helping you pay off your debt for less. Some lending institutions even grant a grace period before you begin repaying or an intro period with 0% interest.
One of the most aggressive ways to pay off large sums of debt is through a settlement. You can do this on your own or enlist the help of an expert company like TurboDebt that can negotiate with your creditors to settle for less than you owe them. Many creditors are willing to forgive up to 50% of your debt rather than risk you defaulting or filing for bankruptcy.
If you owe $20,000 on your credit card bills, you could reach a settlement for as little as $10,000 before fees, as long as you paid it in one lump sum or committed to revised monthly payments.
Effective debt relief can begin with credit counseling. A company like TurboDebt usually starts by evaluating your financial situation before deciding how to proceed.
A credit counseling company helps you work out a financial plan that covers your financial obligations with as little debt as possible. Most of these are non-profit organizations that provide debt counseling. Such organizations have qualified personal finance professionals who will train you in managing your finances.
Bankruptcy gives U.S. Virgin Islands residents a chance to start over again. During bankruptcy proceedings, the court may determine that you have no reasonable way to repay your debts, thus forgiving them. Or, they may work out a payment plan by selling your assets.
It’s also possible to apply to a court to restructure your debts so that you can pay them off without losing your property. In this case, you won’t be discharged from your debts until you pay off all you owe.
A creditor may choose to forgive part or the whole of a debt if they deem it worthy. Debts you can apply to your creditor to forgive include medical and homeowner debt, especially after a catastrophic event.
Although debt forgiveness programs are rare, you may qualify for assistance if you work for the government or meet certain other stringent requirements based on your job or income.
Debt and Financial Hardship Resources in the U.S. Virgin Islands
Here are some resources that can help you through financial hardship in the U.S. Virgin Islands:
Temporary Assistance Programs
The U.S. Virgin Islands Temporary Assistance to the Needy Families program is run by the Department of Human Services under the official name of the Family Improvement Program. The program aims to lift residents from financial difficulty by providing working opportunities or cash payments. Recipients can use the money to pay for food, housing, and clothing.
To qualify, you must be a citizen resident in the Virgin Islands, residing through a Green Card, or a Native American born outside the U.S. Your income must also be low, and you may have dependents under 18 years.
Virgin Islanders may also benefit from the SNAP program sponsored by the federal government. SNAP benefits can only be used to buy designated food products.
State Health and Human Services
The Departments of Human Services and Health run programs to alleviate financial hardship occasioned by health issues. One of the main programs, Medicaid, is a comprehensive medical coverage the federal government provides to low-income earners in the Virgin Islands.
Water is also a cause for concern in the Virgin Islands. Without government intervention, many low-income citizens wouldn't be able to afford it. The Low Income Water Assistance helps the less fortunate afford clean water.
Both the federal and U.S. Virgin Islands governments provide specific relief services for those with kids. Having dependent minors qualifies you for higher benefits or prioritization. The Department of Health Services provides child-specific medical care for free or at subsidized rates. Other than Medicaid, children also have access to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to extend their medical coverage.
Shelters for the Homeless
The U.S. Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority operates emergency houses that can be used by people who have had to leave their homes suddenly. To qualify, you need to be a victim of domestic violence, be able to pay for utilities, and be represented by a service provider.
Several other private charity organizations provide help to homeless residents across the islands through shelters and emergency support systems.
Free Transportation Services
VITRAN operates three bus routes in the U.S. Virgin Islands at the affordable fare of $1, discounted to $0.75 for students with ID and seniors. Persons with disabilities get to ride free.
Find Debt Relief in the U.S. Virgin Islands
Debt relief in the Virgin Islands begins with a reputable debt relief company. It’s important to do your due diligence to avoid scams or poorly rated options. Check reviews from trusted sources and investigate the company’s website to understand how their services and fees work.
As one of the best-rated debt relief companies serving the U.S. Virgin Islands, TurboDebt has a proven track record of success helping individuals work towards a debt-free life.
Contact us today for a free consultation. Together, we can evaluate your debt situation to determine how much we might be able to save you with our effective debt relief services.