Household incomes in Northern Ireland have been negatively affected by the pandemic.
Many people here are more financially vulnerable than ever before and find themselves in debt.
NI Advice and our members across Northern Ireland are here to help you with free, unbiased and confidential debt advice and we can help anyone in financial difficulty or in need of help managing their debt. It is important that people realize that they are not alone.
With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of debt solutions that people may not be familiar with:
Debt management plan
If you’re struggling to pay off your debts on things like credit cards, loans, and bank cards, a debt management plan may be the right solution for you.
A Debt Management Plan (DMP) is an informal agreement between you and your creditors to pay off your non-priority debts, which are things like credit cards, loans, and store cards.
A DMP is not legally binding, which means you can cancel it at any time. It also means that creditors could still sue you. You can set up this plan yourself with the help of a debt counselor or it can be managed by a debt solution.
Debt Relief Order
A Debt Relief Order (DRO) is a form of insolvency and may be a viable solution for you if you owe £ 20,000 or less, don’t own your own home, have no other assets, or valuables and / or not having much spare income.
Your creditors cannot force you to repay your debts as long as a DRO is in place and it usually lasts for a year, this is called a moratorium period.
During this period, you will be placed further restrictions, but in the end, most of your debts will be written off. You can only request a deputy returning officer every six years. The DRO application fee is £ 90.
Belfast Live financial expert Sinead Campbell is responsible for money, debt and quality at Advice NI, Northern Ireland’s largest independent advice provider.
Advice NI and the Independent Advice Network have 69 members and over 300 advisers across Northern Ireland, providing free and confidential advice to individuals and businesses.
To access NI money and debt advice and unlock your future, call 0800 915 4604 or visit here.
To request a deputy returning officer, you will need to speak to a deputy returning officer, who will help you complete the application and submit it to the insolvency department. Advice NI debt counselors are trained intermediaries and provide free, impartial and confidential advice.
Another option for solving debt problems is bankruptcy. A creditor can bankrupt you if you owe them £ 5,000 or more, or you can file for it yourself if you owe less. Bankruptcy is a legally binding form of insolvency.
Bankruptcy can have consequences for you, it can impact your job, and it is expensive. You may want to consider other debt solutions and speak with a debt counselor to go through all of your options.
Bankruptcy usually lasts 12 months (it may take longer depending on the circumstances) and after that most of your debts will be written off.
Further information on all debt solutions is available on the Advice NI website: https://www.adviceni.net/money-talks.
If you care about managing your finances or debts during the pandemic, you don’t have to deal with it alone.
You can contact Advice NI by calling the toll-free helpline on 0800 915 4604 to speak directly to an advisor between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can browse our website, www.adviceni.net/debt for full service details, including contact details and the location of advisors in your area.