Veterans just returning back to Orange, Riverside or San Diego
Counties from Iraq and/or Afghanistan in need of guidance? is here to help you.

We do not tell you where to go we actually work with you. Our
goal is to help as many returning Veterans get started with
Veterans benefits, Get Good Paying Jobs, A Quality Education.
We help you with your Post 9-11 GI Bill, Provide Legal, Vet Court,
Mental Health Professionals to work with you ( TBI & PTSD etc).
We provide professional Mentors and Counseling.

Get free and low-cost help from a trained, certified counselor who will assist you in
determining the best options to meet your individual needs.

Advise you on filing claims and refer you to professionals for your: health, legal, education benefits ;
Offer solutions to your current financial problems;
Develop a personalized plan to help you prevent future difficulties.
If you have severe debt, you may be eligible to enroll in a Debt Management Plan (DMP).

Will credit counseling stop legal action and creditor phone calls?
What do you charge for counseling services?

Here are some other tools that might be useful:

Will credit counseling impact my credit score?
Guidelines for selecting the right counseling agency
Frequently Asked Questions about credit counseling
What can I expect at a credit counseling session?

Housing Counseling

For many Americans, owning a home is the American dream.

If homeownership is your dream, too, it can become a reality, but not without realistic
goals, sound advice, careful planning, and a clear understanding of the costs involved. But
it doesn't end with buying a home. Indeed, owning a home can be even more challenging.

Advantages of Homeownership

Challenges of Homeownership

Our Member Agencies offer the following kinds of housing counseling:

Pre-purchase counseling: A housing counselor will sit down with you to work through and
evaluate the home buying process and ensure that you understand the mortgage lending
process and the financial commitment you are about to undertake.

Foreclosure Prevention: A housing counselor will work with you, examining your financial
situation, and offer guidance on how best to avoid default or foreclosure. Working together
you will explore different ways to resolve your mortgage situation and help keep your part
of the American Dream.

Reverse Mortgage: Our certified housing counselors provide seniors with information
regarding HECM (home equity conversion mortgage). Or reverse mortgages. Information is
presented in one-on-one sessions so that clients receive the information they need to make
an informed decision while also avoiding predatory lending practices.  

Bankruptcy Counseling

Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court that permits
you to obtain a discharge of your obligation to pay certain debts. The bankruptcy laws are
intended to allow an honest but unfortunate debtor an opportunity to get a "fresh start."

But bankruptcy is not a free ride. Depending on your personal situation and the laws of
your state, you may have to liquidate some of your property and assets. A bankruptcy filing
will become part of your credit report for 10 years and will make it more difficult and more
expensive to obtain new credit. It may be more difficult to rent an apartment, buy or rent a
car, or even buy insurance, because you will be considered a higher risk in any transaction
that involves credit or requires you to make a regular series of future payments. There is a
good chance that your credit cards will be cancelled if you file for bankruptcy, which may
complicate otherwise routine transactions that require a credit card for a deposit or as a
form of security. And, because bankruptcy is a matter of public record, you have to consider
whether it might carry a stigma in your community or interfere with employment
prospects in your chosen field

For most individuals, whether they should file for bankruptcy is one of the most serious
financial decisions they can make. Consequently, that decision should be made only after
knowing what the bankruptcy process entails, the consequences of filing for bankruptcy,
and the available alternatives to filing for bankruptcy. The pre-filing counseling session
will enable consumers to fully understand the potential advantages, disadvantages of, and
alternatives to, declaring bankruptcy before taking action.

The NFCC believes that helping veteran consumers to fully understand the implications of
bankruptcy and the possible alternatives will enable them to make an informed decision
about whether bankruptcy is the best option for their specific financial circumstances.

Individuals filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, will be required to
participate in a pre-bankruptcy filing counseling session with an approved nonprofit
budget and credit counseling agency within six months of filing. The agency providing the
session must be approved by the Executive Office for U.S. Trustees (EOUST).

Consumers who receive pre-filing counseling with an NFCC Member Agency can expect:
Estimated length: A counseling session of approximately 90 minutes.

Content: The session will include an overview of the bankruptcy process; a discussion of
possible alternatives to bankruptcy, including their advantages and disadvantages; and a
personalized budget analysis. The session also will include a discussion of the
circumstances that led the consumer into financial difficulty.

Format: Counseling will be face-to-face,
Consumers will receive a decision when finished indicating that they completed the counseling session.
Should they decide to file for bankruptcy, they will have to include the certificate in the
filing with their bankruptcy petition.

Before a bankruptcy is finalized and debts can be discharged, consumers will be required to
complete a pre-discharge financial education course from an EOUST (or Bankruptcy
Administrator) approved agency.

The pre-discharge financial management educational course will
provide more Americans than ever before with the financial know-how they need to
manage their money, keep their personal finances in order and reduce the chance of future
financial problems.

Here's what you can expect from the pre-discharge education:
Estimated course length: 2 hours

Content: Vets pre-discharge financial education course
will address financial literacy issues that will arm individuals with the tools to prevent
future financial problems. Among key topics: rebuilding finances after bankruptcy,
developing and following a budget, understanding and using credit, "predatory lending"
and identity theft.

Format: Face-to-face, over the phone, or via Internet.
Certificate of completion - Consumers will be given a certificate verifying completion of the
course, and will have to file that certificate with the Bankruptcy Court in order to have
their debts discharged.

Chapter 7

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is one in which the bankruptcy petition is filed under Chapter
7 of the Bankruptcy Code. Under Chapter 7, a Trustee is appointed to sell or liquidate any of
the debtor's "non-exempt" assets or property in order to raise cash to make payments to
creditors. As explained in the next chapter of this book, an "exempt" asset is property of the
debtor that the law specifically allows the debtor to keep. A Chapter 7 case is sometimes
referred to as a "straight bankruptcy" or a "liquidation case."

Chapter 7 bankruptcies have been the most common form of individual bankruptcy in
recent times. The vast majority of Chapter 7 cases are "no-asset cases" in which the Trustee
determines that there are no non-exempt assets that must be liquidated to pay creditors.

A Chapter 7 debtor who cooperates with the Trustee and complies with all of the provisions
of the Bankruptcy Code receives a discharge. A discharge is a Bankruptcy Court order that
releases the individual from the legal obligation to pay debts. Certain debts, such as child
support and some taxes, are not covered by the discharge and are known as
"non-dischargeable debts."

If you are in default on a loan that is secured by collateral, such as a home mortgage, the
creditor can foreclose on the loan and sell the collateral even after you receive a discharge
unless you specifically agree to remain legally liable for that loan under the original or
modified payment terms. This is known as a "reaffirmation agreement."

Chapter 13

In a Chapter 13 case, an individual with regular income repays all or a portion of his or her
debts over a three-to-five-year period through a monthly payment plan approved by the
Bankruptcy Court. For that reason, a Chapter 13 case is sometimes referred to as a
"wage-earner plan." The Chapter 13 Trustee does not take possession of non-exempt assets
but supervises the case and administers the payments to creditors under the Chapter 13

A Chapter 13 debtor who completes all payments provided for in the approved Chapter 13
plan receives a discharge. Under certain circumstances, a discharge also may be granted to
Chapter 13 debtors who do not complete the payments under their plan because of
circumstances beyond their control. A Chapter 13 discharge may allow the discharge of
certain debts that may not be discharged in Chapter 7, which may make Chapter 13 more
attractive to you, depending upon your unique circumstances. If the payment plan is not
successful, it may be possible to convert the case and obtain a discharge under Chapter 7.


It's never a good time to lose your job. However, the current economic
environment has resulted in business closures, downsizing and layoffs for
many Americans.

The unemployment rate hovers near 10 percent with recent graduates preparing
to flood the market.

OCHM CONSULTING AND VETS Counseling offers the following tips for
surviving a layoff, should one occur:
Allow yourself to be upset or even afraid. These are natural reactions. However, should
they become intense, be willing to seek professional help. Talking things through and
hearing another person's perspective can bring relief and restore your positive outlook.

Resist the urge to tell your boss what you truly think of him or her. Remember, you may
need him or her as a reference for a future job.

Take advantage of any assistance your workplace offers. Many companies provide
placement assistance, job retraining and severance packages. Make sure you are aware of
all benefits offered.

Apply for any applicable government benefits. Your HR representative at work will be a
good resource. If not seek us out immediately upon notice.

Resist the urge to solve your problems by spending recklessly. It may feel good for the
moment, but the high of spending won't equal the low of dealing with additional debt when
there is no income.

Don't be tempted to live off of your credit cards. Someone with a good line of credit could
actually support the family at the current standard of living by using credit, but there's no
guarantee a new position will materialize any time soon. One rule of thumb job counselors
use is to expect one month of job search for each $10,000 of annual income you hope to
replace. In other words, if you seek a $50,000 salary, it may take you five months to land
that job.

Take a personal inventory. Consider all assets, income and expenses. Hopefully, you will
not have to liquidate any assets to survive, but it is good to know what you have to fall back

Drastic times call for drastic measures. Nothing is off-limits. If necessary, consider selling
the second car, or any recreational vehicles, real estate holdings, rental properties or

After reviewing income versus debt obligations, if there is not enough money to make ends
meet, calculate how much is needed to meet the basic household living expenses. Your goal
is to pay everyone, but if you must make a choice, keep your home-life stable by paying
your rent or mortgage, utilities, childcare, insurance premiums, health care, food and
keeping gas in the car.

Have a family meeting that includes the children. You don't want people pulling in
different directions, and a joint effort yields a greater result. Make cutbacks wherever
possible, knowing that this austere lifestyle will only be temporary. Resolve to stop all
non-essential spending immediately.

Tracking your spending is always a good idea, but when money is tight, it's essential. Write
down every cent you spend. At the end of 30 days, review where the money went and make
conscious decisions on where to cut back. You'll be amazed by how much you can save and
not even feel the pinch.

Contact your creditors to arrange lower payments. Most major credit card issuers have
in-house help programs. Explain your situation and what you're doing to resolve it. The
creditor may be able to temporarily lower your monthly payment and reduce interest.

Call your mortgage lender or servicer and inform them of your situation. Be prepared to
provide them with documentation of the setback, and have a resolution plan in mind. Since
the average consumer doesn't know all of the loan modifications available, it is smart to
first sit down with a certified housing counselor and map out a plan. This way, you'll know
that you've selected the option