Shmita Debt Release Campaign
Every dollar you donate forgives $100 in Medical Debt
מִקֵּ֥ץ שֶֽׁבַע־שָׁנִ֖ים תַּעֲשֶׂ֥ה שְׁמִטָּֽה׃
Every seventh year you shall practice remission of debts. Deuteronomy 15:1
The year 5782 on the Hebrew calendar (beginning September 7, 2021) is the Shmita (sabbatical) year, the culmination of the seven-year agricultural cycle, described throughout the Hebrew Bible as a sabbath of years. (Exodus 23:10–11; Leviticus 25:1–7; Deuteronomy 15:1–6.)
The Shmita year – typically thought of as a year to rest the land and refrain from agriculture – is also a year for remitting debts. (Deuteronomy 15:1–6; Nehemiah 10:32.) Remitting debt was meant to push a reset button, mitigating poverty, preventing hyper-concentrations of wealth, and preventing social and economic decay, in the same way that resting the land allows for a healthier ecosystem. See: Toward a Jubilee Economy & Ecology in the Modern World | The Shalom Center
In contemporary American society, growing economic inequality has been accompanied by growing personal debt. Debt compounds economic inequality, damages credit, and takes an immeasurable emotional toll. Two-thirds of bankruptcies in the U.S. are tied to medical debt.
Shmita is sometimes referred to as the year of “release.” Releasing people from medical debt helps repair credit, opens up housing and job opportunities that have been blocked by bad credit, and mitigates against the economic structures that drive poverty and inequality – the very purpose of the Shmita year.
To learn more about the Shmita year:
Judaism Unbound has an ongoing series of episodes exploring the implications of the Shmita year in contemporary Judaism.
Landing Page | Shmita Project The Shmita Project’s wide variety of resources include texts related to Shmita, information about events, and videos.
What Is Shmita, the Sabbatical Year? | My Jewish Learning Short article on Shmita.
Campaign Support Recipients
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Fundraise for This Campaign
Start a fundraiser to help those in need. Set a personal fundraising goal and track online donations easily with RIP.
How RIP Works
Over a hundred million Americans, one in three, struggles with the weight of medical debt.
Here’s how we lift them up.
You make a donation
With every donation, RIP uses its precise data analytics to pinpoint the medical debt of those most in need of relief: households whose income is below twice the federal poverty line or are insolvent.
RIP buys medical debt at a steep discount
Your donations allow us to buy debt in bundles. That allows us to buy debt at a fraction of the original cost. So whatever you donate has 100x the impact.
Together we wipe out medical debt
People receive a letter that their debt is gone. No taxes. No penalties. Just like that, they're free of medical debt.
Yes. We are a 501(c)(3) charity and your donation is 100% tax deductible.
When we purchase a portfolio of medical debt, we abolish debt for individuals who:
- Earn less than 2x the federal poverty level (varies by state, family size).
- Debts are 5 percent or more of annual income.
- Facing insolvency — debts are greater than assets.
We only buy debt that has been pre-qualified by our partners to meet at least one of these three criteria.
We never collect on debt we purchase, only relieve it.
No. With your help, we abolish medical debt permanently. Recipients have no adverse tax consequences, obligations, or strings attached.
For those whose medical debts are relieved, the relief is a gift from a detached and disinterested third party (RIP) as an act of generosity, so relief of the debt does not count as income to the debtor. We will not file a Form 1099-C with the IRS.
Due to HIPAA laws, RIP Medical Debt cannot disclose the names of the debt relief beneficiaries.
RIP Medical Debt cannot relieve debt by individual request.
While we would love to help everyone who needs assistance, RIP Medical Debt cannot abolish medical debt for specific individuals. We approach the problem of medical debt by acquiring large portfolios of debt to help thousands of people at once.
Because medical debt affects so many people who may not have debt accounts in the portfolios we purchase, we have compiled a list of resources that may be able to help in ways RIP Medical Debt cannot.