Home to 3,380,800 people, Utah is known for its diverse, beautiful geography — particularly its mountains —, unique culinary scene, Sundance Film Festival, and thriving Mormon community.
For residents, the average personal income is $53,400, while the average individual consumer debt is $71,900. The overall poverty rate is 8.9% — the second lowest in the country.
While Utah is a great place to live for many people, it’s still on the expensive side with a cost of living index of 102.8. If you’re thinking about moving to the Beehive State — or you’re already there, here’s what you should know when it comes to Utah debt relief and financial hardship resources.
Utah debt statistics
The debt and credit statistics change regularly, but here’s the most recent information for some of the main ones:
- Average household debt (debt per capita): $71,900
- Average student loan debt: $32,835
- Average credit score: 730
- Median mortgage payment: $1,497
- Personal bankruptcies (2020): 7,641
- Personal income/Annual mean wage: $53,400
- Child poverty: 9.5%
- Unemployment: 2.4%
Debt collection laws in Utah
Utah follows the federal guidelines set by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Debt collectors in Utah must follow the law when trying to collect a debt. Among other things, debt collectors:
- Have to identify who they are and why they’re calling when contacting a borrower
- Cannot try to deceive someone when collecting a debt
- Can only contact the person who owes the debt (except if they’re trying to get their contact information)
- Must only communicate with the borrower’s attorney (if they have one)
- Cannot call anytime they want (ex. outside of certain hours) or harass a borrower at work or at home
- Must not use harassment, threats, verbal abuse, or manipulation to collect a debt
- Can only collect on a legitimate debt (such as one that’s still within its statute of limitations)
The Utah State Courts website adds to the FDCPA while detailing the rights consumers in the state have. It also provides information on how residents can deal with debt collection or dispute a debt that is not theirs. The site also provides different forms for plaintiffs and defendants to use in court.
Debt relief options for Utah residents
If you’re struggling with debt, here are some of the most common types of debt relief in Utah:
- Debt settlement: Typically done through a debt settlement agency, debt settlement involves communicating with your creditors to reduce how much you owe on an unsecured debt.
- DIY plans: It’s possible to settle your own debts through a do-it-yourself plan. This involves negotiating with your creditors or debt collectors on your own to lower monthly payments, waive specific fees, reduce interest charges, etc.
- Debt consolidation: A debt consolidation loan combines several debts (usually with a higher overall interest rate) into one larger loan with a fixed monthly payment. With this option, you could save money on interest payments and better manage your debts.
- Debt Management Plan: A DMP, offered through credit counseling companies, is a three- to five-year plan that helps you manage and pay off large amounts of debt. In some cases, you may also be able to reduce interest rates or get a better repayment plan.
- Personal bankruptcy: As a last resort, filing for bankruptcy — either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 — could give you a fresh start. Consult an experienced attorney before going this route.
Debt settlement in Utah
If you’re on the verge of filing for bankruptcy, consider debt settlement instead. A debt settlement plan could help you reduce how much you owe toward different consumer debts. This can also make it easier to pay off the remaining debt quickly.
Here are some of the most common types of consumer debts a debt settlement plan could help with:
- Credit cards
- Department store credit cards
- Personal lines of credit
- Personal loans
- Loans (ex. student) in default
- Old judgments
- Other unsecured debts
Debt settlement can be risky since it could lead to late fees, more interest charges, and damaged credit. But if it’s successful, you could see a significant decrease in how much you owe on your settled debts.
During the process — if you go through an agency —, a professional will negotiate with your creditors on your behalf to settle your debts. While they do that, you may need to start making payments into a secured account, which will be used to pay your creditors once an agreement is reached.
The agency may also recommend that you stop making monthly payments on the debts they’re trying to settle. You may also need to stop using any credit cards (except one for emergencies) during the process.
READ MORE: Debt settlement pros and cons
Utah debt relief companies
If you’re looking for additional help with your debts, here are some of the top Utah debt relief companies to consider:
- American Credit Foundation: 7720 S 700 E, Midvale, UT 84047 or 1100 S. Powerline Road, Suite 101 Deerfield Beach, FL 33442; (801) 208-1000 or (800) 259-0601
- PDS Debt: 2526 Valley JCT Dr. Eden, UT 84310; (435) 660-4722
- Bolt Credit Services: 735 E 9000 S #200 Sandy, UT 84094; (801) 948-2030
- InCharge Debt Solutions: 5750 Major Blvd, Suite 300 Orlando, FL 32819; (866) 721-3925
- Consolidated Credit: 5701 West Sunrise Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, FL 33313; (844) 402-4295
Debt relief attorneys
Utah also has several highly-rated attorneys that can help with issues including bankruptcy, debt settlement and other forms of debt relief.
- Pearson Butler: 1802 South Jordan Pkwy Suite 200 South Jordan, UT 84095; (801) 683-5813
- Blue Bee Bankruptcy Law: 225 South 200 E Suite 140 Salt Lake City, UT 84111; (801) 285-0980
- Lincoln Law: 921 West Center St. Orem, UT 84057; (801) 854-7088 or (801) 471-2426
- Roger A. Kraft, Attorney at Law, P.C.: 7660 South Holden Street Midvale, UT 84047; (801) 871-8353
- Morrison Law Group: 290 25th St., Ste 102 Ogden UT 84401; (801) 456-9933
READ MORE: Do you need a debt settlement attorney?
Debt resources for Utah residents facing hardship
Utah offers many free and low-cost resources for residents facing hardship at the local, state, and federal levels. Whether you need help with rent or utility payments, childcare costs, or healthcare, options are available.
Besides this, Utah also has food pantries and food banks to help the 288,970 residents (one in 11 people) dealing with hunger or food insecurity. The state’s biggest food bank is the “Utah Food Bank,” located at 3150 South 900 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84119. The main phone number is (801) 978-2452.
The Utah Food Bank is funded through corporate sponsorships, grants and foundations, government contracts, and community donations. In 2022, it distributed over 56 million meals’ worth of food to its extensive network of food pantries all over the state.
Income and employment in Utah
Utah ranks 30th in job creation with 56,600 new jobs by the end of July 2022 — an overall increase of about 3.5%. Currently, there are about 1,664,300 jobs throughout the state.
The state’s unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the country at 2.20%. Like the rest of the United States, Utah’s unemployment rate increased significantly during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to 10.00%. However, this was still relatively low in comparison to other states.
The Beehive State has right-to-work and employment-at-will laws:
- Right-to-work: An employee is not required to join a labor union or pay dues to obtain a job. The downside is that, without a union, there may be less fair representation in the workplace.
- Employment-at-will: Employers may terminate any employee (barring an existing contract) with or without cause or notice. This could lead to reduced job security.
How to apply for unemployment benefits in Utah
Before applying for unemployment benefits, make sure you have the right documentation. This includes:
- Your Social Security number and state driver’s license or identification card
- Alien Registration Number (if applicable)
- Information about your labor union (if applicable)
- Employment and income information since October 1, 2021
You can file for benefits online from 2:00 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. any day of the week. It takes about half an hour to complete the initial process. If you stop the process at any time, your information will be saved to continue it later.
The process itself is straightforward. Begin by verifying your eligibility and identity online. Next, input some personal and employment information and details about your ability to work. Be prepared to provide details about why you are no longer employed. Finally, review your information and submit a claim.
If you don’t have an account, you must create one before filing a claim. You can also use your account to file new claims, reopen old ones, and submit your work filing requirements. This includes finding at least four new contracts for full-time employment each week.
Banking and taxes in Utah
Utah has a flat personal income tax rate of 4.85%. The state has a 6.10% sales tax.
In the United States, roughly 4.5% of people are unbanked. This number is much lower in Utah at just 1.2%. Unbanked people do not have checking or savings accounts.
Utah housing market
Approximately 70.5% of Utahans are homeowners. The average resident pays $1,671 for their monthly mortgage payment. In contrast, the average rent in Salt Lake City is $1,691.
Throughout the country, the average home value is $328,745. On average, homes in Utah tend to be much more expensive at $500,077. The state’s real estate cost has risen 2.8% in one year.
The Utah Homeowners Assistance Fund (UHAF) program helps homeowners impacted by COVID-19 by providing financial aid for mortgage charges, taxes, and required assessments. To be eligible for this federally funded program, you must prove hardship due to the pandemic and have an income below the area median.
Retirement in Utah
On average, Utah residents have $315,160 saved up for retirement. The average resident needs about $692,093 to live comfortably in retirement.
Average Utah insurance premiums
Utah’s average car insurance premium for $250,000 dwelling coverage is $696 annually. This is about $800 lower than the national average.
A typical car insurance premium — for full coverage — in Utah is $1,186 a year. This is less than the national average as well.
Payday lending status in Utah: Legal
Payday loans are legal in Utah. A typical payday loan looks like this:
- Maximum loan amount: N/A
- Maximum Interest Rate (APR): 652%
- Minimum loan term: N/A
- Maximum loan term: 10 weeks
Statute of limitations on debt in Utah
Utah’s statute of limitations on debt ranges from about three to six years on most types of consumer debts.
- Medical debt: 6 years
- Credit card: 6 years
- Auto loan debt: 4 years
- State tax debt: 3 years
State hardship programs
Along with many federal hardship programs, Utah also offers state-specific resources and programs to help residents who need them. Here are a few of the main ones:
- Utah Housing: This program helps residents through emergency rental assistance. As of February 5, 2023, the program is not accepting new applications. However, if you’ve already applied, you may still be eligible for funding.
- Single Family Housing Repair and Grants Program: This program offers loans for hazard removal and modernization for very low-income homeowners. It’s often referred to as the Section 504 Home Repair program.
- Utah Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program: Known as HEAT in Utah, this program provides year-round assistance for low-income households who need help paying for their water and heating bills. To be eligible, the household income must be equal to or less than 150% of the federal poverty level.
- Children’s Health Insurance Program: This program provides affordable state health insurance to children from low-income families.
- SNAP: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program offers cash assistance for food based on income. This can help offset food costs and combat hunger or food insecurity.
- Combined Application Projects: This resource makes it easier for eligible individuals to apply for the Food Stamp Program and Social Security benefits.
- WIC: The Women, Infants, and Children program provides nutrition information and supplemental food assistance to qualifying pregnant women and women with children. Eligible households will typically receive an eWIC card, which they can use in lieu of a debit card on certain items at grocery stores.
- Organization for Refugees and Immigrants: This resource helps refugees find the help or information they need, such as employment services and help with community integration.
Utah also has several grant programs that can help residents through monthly or one-time stipends.
Help for Veterans
Utah is currently home to about 120,447 veterans. The Utah Department of Veteran Affairs is committed to helping veterans, activity service members and their families during financially trying times. The department can also assist with first-time homebuyer grants, veterans benefits and tax abatements.
Facilities in Utah
If you need a VA facility in Utah, here are some of the biggest ones in the state:
- George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center: 500 Foothill Boulevard Salt Lake City, UT 84148-0001; (801) 582-1565
- Grand Junction VA Medical Center: 2121 North Avenue Grand Junction, CO 81501-6428; (970) 242-0731
- Cache Valley VA Clinic: 2380 North 400 East, Suite G North Logan, UT 84341-1769; (435) 787-9921
- Ogden VA Clinic: 3945 South Washington Boulevard, Suite 1 South Ogden, UT 84403-1825; (801) 479-4105
- Orem VA Clinic: 774 South State Street Orem, UT 84058-6308; (801) 235-0953
- Salt Lake City Vet Center: 84 West 4800 South Suite 100 Murray, UT 84107; (801) 266-1499
- Salt Lake City Regional Office: 550 Foothill Drive Salt Lake City, UT 84113; (800) 827-1000
- Fort Douglas Post Cemetery: 405 Chipeta Way Salt Lake City, UT 84108; (303) 761-0117
Employment resources for Veterans
The Department of Workforce Services also offers employment services for veterans and other military members (and their spouses) looking to transition into the civilian workforce. Along with this, here are some other job-related resources available for veterans:
- CareerOneStop has various career-related resources, including job advice and an online job search portal.
- MilitaryHire.com works with veterans and their spouses to transition into the civilian workforce.
- VeteranRecruiting.com offers online career fairs for vets who want to transition into the civilian workforce.
- Helmets to Hardhats helps veterans find work in the construction field.
- Hiring Our Heroes connects veterans with prospective employers through networking events while helping them with job-related resources and training.
- My Next Move works with current and ex-military members ready to transition into the civilian world who want to use their skills.
- Warriors to Work helps companies and veterans by connecting them.
The bottom line
Utah residents — new and old — have many options when it comes to financial assistance and debt relief. Some of the more common debt relief options include debt settlement and debt consolidation. There are also low-cost or free professional services, like pro bono legal consultations and credit counseling, to help residents recover. If you or someone you know needs assistance, consider contacting some of these organizations or companies for help.
This depends on the type of debt, but most debts in Utah are collectible for up to six years.
The statute of limitations on debt begins when a contract is first breached — for example, when a payment is late, when a payment is received or when a charge was last made on the account.
In Utah, the court will typically split joint debts based on what the judge considers fair. This might not be a 50/50 split, so you could be responsible for your ex-spouse’s debts. Debts incurred for a family-related reason are also usually divided.