Most people are working to pay down something. A mortgage, a credit card balance, a car note. There’s another kind of debt too—accounts that have fallen behind. They’re called delinquencies; they can wreck a credit score and stick around for years.
KERA's series One Crisis Away: Drowning In Debt has the story of one man working to get out from under a mountain of missed child support payments.
Triple A Data Communications in south Dallas is a quiet place to work. Angelo Collins likes it that way. He’s alone in a small office filled with boxes full of validators for DART busses—they’re basically wireless “easy-pay consoles” for riders to use.
A Job He Can Count On
Collins programs each one; downloading software and repacking the box once the device is ready to go.
It’s a full time job with benefits that pays $18 an hour-- money Collins is grateful to have. He’s working to become debt free after getting divorced last year.
“I had to kind of regroup myself and mentally prepare myself to put things back in order," he says.
Collins has two teenagers. He and his wife were separated for several years before the divorce was finalized. Child support bills piled up while he worked and went to school. In 2014, he took on a full course load studying electronics and telecommunications.
“And I just concentrated on school for that one year, so that kind of dropped me, put me back on child support," he says.
He fell $6,000 behind. He’s back to making payments now, but hates the pile of debt with his name on it.
"In nowadays that we live in, that stays on your name. Wherever you move, that moves with you, that same mountain, you pull that mountain behind you," he says.