Debt Education & Certification Foundation (DECAF) provides the following disclosures about bankruptcy pre-filing credit counseling and pre-discharge debtor education courses. Before providing counseling we disclosed and you acknowledged and agreed to the following:
Debt Education and Certification Foundation (DECAF) is a nonprofit agency. DECAF provides online and telephone counseling and education courses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Students may receive counseling from Money Management International (MMI) in the event of natural disaster, system failure or maintenance.
DECAF counselors will educate and advise you on money management and budgeting pertaining to your financial situation. Counselors are not attorneys and cannot give legal advice. If you want legal or tax advice on issues regarding bankruptcy, you will need to seek appropriate assistance from other parties. DECAF counselors have received or are in the process of obtaining certification from the National Association of Certified Credit Counselors or from The Center for Financial Certifications. For information on qualifications of individual counselors, contact DECAF at 1-866-859-7323 or MMI at 1-888-492-1740.
DECAF Supervising counselors have completed 100+ hours of training in credit counseling, personal financial matters and bankruptcy counseling and have conducted 100+ one-on-one sessions for credit counseling, personal financial matters or bankruptcy counseling.
You authorize DECAF to provide your attorney and/or bankruptcy judge/trustee with copies of your action plan (if created), pre-bankruptcy counseling certificate, pre-discharge certificate as well as any other required information gathered during the counseling or debtor education session. The pre-bankruptcy counseling certificate you will receive at the conclusion of your counseling session is required before you can file personal bankruptcy. Please give a copy of this certificate to your attorney (if applicable) when you meet. This certificate is valid for 180 days from the date of your counseling session. If you do not file a bankruptcy petition within this time frame, you may be required to complete pre-filing counseling again in order to file personal bankruptcy.
Course completion certificates must be filed by the client or the attorney with the appropriate court to avoid case dismissal or closing if you are in bankruptcy case. DECAF will make every effort to forward the course completion certificate to your attorney, and Financial Management Course Certificate to the Court, when authrorized by your attorney, whenever possible, but DECAF is not responsible for case dismissal or closing if the certificate is not filed timely. Please confirm your attorney has a copy of your completion certificate and contact DECAF immediately if you or your attorney does not have a copy. DECAF has an obligation to promptly provide a certification upon completion of the counseling or debtor education session. Completion certificates will be distributed no later than one business day following course completion, although they are generally immediately available. Completion certificates will only be issued and provided if all counseling requirements have been met.
Attorneys who authorize DECAF to file their clients Financial Management Course Certificates agree to hold harmless DECAF for any fees, damages or liability that may result from error related to cases or case dismissals. DECAF is approved in all US court districts* to file ECF pursuant to amendment to Rule 1007(b)(7).
*New Hampshire Bankruptcy courts do not allow ECF filing of Financial Management Certificates by course providers.
DECAF credit counseling and personal financial management sessions have been reviewed by the Executive Office for United States Trustees (EOUST), but other non-counseling services that may be provided by our agency are not reviewed by the EOUST.
DECAF does not receive ongoing funding from credit card companies or other types of lenders. DECAF is funded by students completing credit counseling and debtor education courses. DECAF does not pay or receive fees or other consideration for the referral of students. Payment or receipt of referral fees is expressly forbidden.
DECAF does not provide services for debt repayment plans, debt settlement or debt negotiation, although opportunities may be available to negotiate alternate payment schedules through other avenues. Clients have an opportunity to negotiate an alternative payment schedule with regard to each unsecured consumer debt under terms set forth in 11 U.S.C. 502(k), although DECAF does not provide this service. If requested, DECAF may refer you to another approved agency that offers this type of service. DECAF does not charge a fee for this type of referral, but fees may be incurred with the other service provider.
The completion of a credit counseling or debtor education course does not negatively affect your credit rating and is not reported to credit reporting agencies. Filing for bankruptcy or participating in a Debt Management Plan (DMP or credit card repayment program) are options we discuss that are not provided by our agency. Bankruptcy or entering into a Debt Management Plan are reported to credit reporting agencies and do reflect negatively on your credit rating, although it is common to already have negative information on your credit report before seeking this type of assistance. Various types of credit or loans are likewise typically reported to credit reporting agencies, with the positive or negative impact to your credit largely dependent on amounts borrowed and making timely payments. If considering a bankruptcy, seek legal counsel before obtaining new credit or loans.
The fee for bankruptcy pre-filing credit counseling is $50.00 per household, whether taking the course jointly with a spouse or as an individual. The fee for bankruptcy pre-discharge debtor education is $50.00 per household, whether taking the course jointly with a spouse or as an individual. Course fees must be paid to DECAF using a debit card or credit card or through your attorney. If your attorney has an account with DECAF, you may receive discounted course fees below the normal fee of $50. The fees for a course will not exceed $50, regardless of how the client is registered. Any discounts from the regular fee or fee waivers must be credited to, and provided for the benefit of the client only. DECAF will not refuse services to anyone due to their inability to pay. A fee waiver is available in cases where the debtor has income less than 150 percent of the latest poverty guidelines published by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) (https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines). You may review these guidelines to see if you qualify and download a 'Fee Waiver Request Form', click here. or send a written request, along with evidence of income, to: DECAF, 112 Goliad St., Benbrook, TX 76126-2009. Please contact DECAF at 1-866-859-7323 for further assistance.
Text messages may be periodically be sent to you. Standard text message rates will apply.
Limited English Proficiency
Translation services will be provided to limited English Proficient clients at no additional charge if requested. Translation services for languages other than English or Spanish will be provided using an outside vendor or another counseling provider. An appointment may be scheduled to provide the translation services if a translator is not available at the time of the original call.
To access educational courses provided by DECAF you must register and pay a course fee (please see above for fee waiver information if you believe you cannot afford course fees). Payment of the course fee and registration sets up and activates an account that allows you to obtain pre-bankruptcy credit counseling or pre-discharge financial education. Once payment and registration are complete, the created account will remain active for one year. After one year the registration will expire, and the account can no longer be used. The payment for the expired registration may be refunded by requesting a refund. Credits may be provided for payments made by attorneys, in lieu of a refund, at the discretion of DECAF. To request a refund, please contact DECAF by emailing: [email protected] or mailing a request to the DECAF address at the end of this disclosure. If a refund request is not received and acknowledged by authorized DECAF personnel, no refund for an expired registration will be given.
DECAF understands the importance of your privacy. We believe it is important to let you know how we use the information collected through our courses. The following is our policy regarding Internet privacy and usage.
DECAF is continually researching and implementing the best reasonable security options available for protecting data internally and transmitting data over the Internet. Information you provide is not transferred to any third parties, other than Money Management International in case they provide counseling. Client privacy is important to us and the counseling services we provide are confidential. However, as part of the counseling process, it may be necessary for us to contact specific creditors, with your permission, to secure information that will assist us in providing you with accurate guidance. Agencies authorized by the United States government or organizations charged with monitoring the credit counseling industry may review your file for quality assurance, compliance or research purposes. DECAF may disclose client information to the United States Trustee in connection with the United States Trustee’s oversight of the agency, or during the investigation of complaints, during on-site visits, or during quality of service reviews.
When you send confidential personal information to us, we require that a "secure session" first be established using Secure Socket Layer (SSL). SSL was developed by Netscape Communications Corporation, released in 1996, SSL is the internet standard for secure data transmission. SSL provides data security between application protocols such as HTTP (The protocol used by the Web) and the networking protocol TCP/IP. SSL sits between the network I/O and the data on your web server. SSL establishes a secure connection between the server and an SSL-capable browser then encrypts and decrypts information as it is sent and received. By encrypting messages, SSL can assure that transactions are private and that information has not been altered during transmission. SSL can also authenticate the server to the browser by providing the server's certificate to the browser. The browser must be capable of using the SSL protocol, including verifying certificates and encrypting and decrypting messages. Several browsers, such as Spyglass Mosaic, Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator, support SSL. (The above text is from O'reilly Web Site Professional Advanced Topics).
Be attentive to the following situations to ensure you do not compromise your own data privacy. The following may result in your privacy being compromised:
- if someone else has access to your computer, and is able to read emails or files stored on your disk drives
- if you print an email to or from DECAF or MMI, and someone finds the paper
- if you use a workplace computer - your employer has a legal right to read your email on that machine
- if you accidentally make a mistake on the email address and send it to someone other than your DECAF or MMI representative
- if someone obtains the login information to your account
- if you talk about it to someone
Most people are satisfied with the safety of SSL technology. However, you are the only one who can determine your level of comfort. Please contact DECAF at 1-866-859-7323 if you have questions or need further assistance.
You can visit our website without revealing any personal information about yourself or telling us who you are. We do not collect personal information, such as your name, address, phone number, or email address, while you browse. We do, however, gather information in aggregate on how this site is used, such as the number of visitors to the site, length of each visit, and which pages are most commonly used to enter and exit the site. Some areas of the DECAF and MMI websites utilize browser cookies. These cookies are used for enhancing the usability of the website. You have the option of disabling cookies in your browser's preferences/options area (refer to your browser's help system for further explanation).
There are now, and will be, sections on this website that are provided for the benefit of the consuming public. You may request consumer educational information or other services in these sections. For DECAF and MMI to fulfill your request, you may need to provide us with your email address, regular mail address, or telephone number. Our use of that information will be limited to the purpose of providing the requested information. While on the website, you may voluntarily choose to complete our online courses. In that case, several types of personal information are gathered for use in your confidential counseling session with one of our certified counselors. Confidential information collected in the courses includes name, address, telephone number, social security number, employment information and creditor information, possibly including account numbers. The information gathered will be used to determine the best solution to your financial situation. Specific uses of this information are:
- To help complete requirements of the Executive Office of the United States Trustees
- To contact you and to confirm your identity when you call us.
- Demographic data is used for statistical studies (names are not used without specific permission).
DECAF and MMI do not sell, rent, loan, trade, or lease any personal information collected at our site, including Confidential Online Applications or email lists. All personal information is used solely by DECAF and MMI as directed by the consumer.
DECAF and MMI cannot and does not guarantee or warrant that files available for downloading through the site will be free of infection, viruses, worms, or other code that manifest contaminating or destructive qualities. You assume total responsibility and risk for your use of the site and the Internet.
All information submitted to DECAF or MMI is transmitted via industry standard methods of data collection and transmittal. Our data storage devices are designed to accurately and safely store your data, thereby substantially minimizing the possibility of data corruption. If for any reason, you need to contact DECAF for the purpose of correcting inaccurate data transmittal, contact us at [email protected]
By using this website, you agree that you understand and accept our Disclosures and Policies. You authorize DECAF and MMI to the use of the information we receive and collect as stated herein and in ways we may notify you of in the future. By providing any personal information to this site, you acknowledge that you fully understand and consent to the collection and processing of such information. We reserve the right, at our discretion, to modify these Disclosures and Policies at any time. Your continued use of this site following the posting of changes to these terms means you accept these changes. You agree to indemnify and hold DECAF and MMI, and its subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, agents, employees and representatives, harmless from any claim or demand, including reasonable attorneys' fees, and claims by any third party due to or arising out of the use of this site and courses except as outlined in 11 USC § 111 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.
DECAF personnel can be reached at:
112 Goliad St.
Benbrook, TX 76126-2009