Photo: Pastor Tim Lucas of Liquid Church (Tim Lucas/Facebook)
Liquid Church recently announced that more than 3,800 individuals and families struggling with unpaid medical debt will receive a surprise letter in the mail this month notifying them their “debt has been paid in full.”
Working in partnership with RIP Medical Debt, a non-profit organization that uses donations to buy large portfolios of medical debt at a fraction of their value, Liquid used generous financial donations from its congregation to forgive $13.7 million in medical debt for New Jersey families.
“When we started investigating the crisis of medical debt, we learned how it’s destroying the financial stability of families in our communities,” said Tim Lucas, lead pastor and founder of Liquid Church. “Medical debt is tied to two-thirds of bankruptcies in America, and it ruins credit for families, impacting their ability to secure housing, car loans, job opportunities, and more. In response to the pandemic, our church had a heart to give some fresh hope to our neighbors in need. We want them to have a clean slate to start 2021, and to remind them that they’re loved and God has not forgotten them.”
The donation from Liquid Church, one of New Jersey’s fastest-growing churches, effectively eliminated all medical debt accessible through RIP Medical Debt in three New Jersey counties: Monmouth, Somerset, and Union. Additional medical debt was paid down in Essex and Passaic counties. When the medical debt is paid, there are no taxes or penalties to the beneficiary. Just like that, they’re free of medical debt.
“Although the process for paying off medical debt is anonymous, we know we’re serving our neighbors. These are families living below the poverty line who are no doubt struggling under the weight of crushing hospital or healthcare bills they simply can’t afford,” said Lucas. “We also know that for some families, their existing medical debt was exacerbated by the cost of care for COVID-19, and this was a key driver for us to take action now. This unprecedented pandemic has left so many local families devastated, with some on the brink of financial ruin. This is one way our church can help and tangibly show the love of Jesus to our neighbors.”
RIP Medical Debt will send forgiveness notices to the benefiting families in New Jersey, and subsequently help the recipients repair their credit reports in an effort to renew access to resources needed to achieve stability for their families.
“This has become an exciting trend, with churches around America – in Texas, Ohio, Massachusetts, and beyond – wiping out millions in medical debt in their states. I believe churches are at their best when we’re a blessing to real people in our community, and I’m so proud of the hundreds of people at Liquid who made a donation to make our large-scale gift possible. Working together, we multiplied our impact,” said Lucas.