As I see it, either a person honors their commitments, or they do not. That aplies in all things.
I think that if circumstances make it impossible for one to honor their financial commitments, than that person is morally obligated to file for bankruptcy.
With bankruptcy, there is at least full disclosure, and the strong possibility of partial recovery of debts or property by the most senior or deserving creditors. By not filing bankruptcy, your creditors may endure additional costs trying to collect an unpayable debt. The way I see it, you owed it to your creditors to do it right.
It is just about impossible to be too poor to file for bankruptcy. One can do it themselves, and there are many legal aid services which will help you do it. Many law schools set up a community aid foundation where a law student will help you do it for free. The actual filing can be done for less than $100, IIRC, and there are ways to get that waived. Many creditors will even assist you financially in the filing, as well as many of the free credit advising services. If you get aid in that, that may be one of the debts you may be required to pay after your bankruptcy.
What you term as “wealthy” people who file are actually just regular people with significant interests. When they’re defaulting on their debt, it is crucial that they file properly, so that employees receive severance and benefits, suppliers can reclaim inventory and senior creditors get first crack at what’s left.
To not file is the abuse.
Once you’ve filed, I don’t think you legally owe those debts, or morally owe them.
Once you’re back on your feet again you may have another moral obligation. You have been provided relief which has allowed you to recover. While you shouldn’t pay back your original creditors (who have settled the debt,) it may be morally incumbent upon you to redress the system so to speak. If one feels that way, there are lots of ways to help. Becoming a credit counselor or aiding a credit counsel financially is a good way.
I think that not filing for bankruptcy when the situation called for it was wrong.
Those debts needed to be addressed, if only to notify the creditor of your permanent inability to pay. Since you have not done so, the implication was that they would be paid.
My advice is that would be a good idea to speak to a credit counselor and determine your legal liability for those past debts, and how they should be addressed.
The moral obligation that you may or may not feel is yours entirely to deal with to the best of your abilities.
But, I do feel that simply ignoring the debt was wrong.