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When you're struggling with debt it's a difficult period in your life. It can affect you life in various ways, including lack of sleep, fear of bailiffs at your door or your friends and family finding out about the extent of your money problems.

There is good news - we can help at Debt Support Trust. Our charity offers not for profit money advice to help resolve your money issues.

You can call Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226 or complete our debt analyser form to understand which debt solutions you may be suitable for.

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Help to Resolve Money Worries

Your money worries could be as little as £100 or it could be larger than £100,000. We help everybody with money problems, little or large. If you're unemployed but have a £100 debt then that can be harder than a large debt which is into the thousands.

Resolving money problems starts with you taking proactive steps. You could read about the debt solutions on our website, give us a call to speak to a friendly advisor or get help via our debt analyser form. There is always at least one route back out of debt and we can help you start this process.

A life in debt has a negative impact on relationships, work and your general well being, but struggling with debt alone is not necessary. There are a variety of debt solutions which you could be suitable for depending on your income, expenditure, level of debt and equity in your assets.

It's our responsibility to take the burden of debt off your shoulders and help you back to a debt free life. We do this by completing a 15 minute questionnaire over the phone. It's informal and if you don't know any of the answers, like the exact amount of debt you have, then that's not a problem. Our charity advisors will be able to give you general advice based on your rough situation in this instance.

At the end of your call you will have at least one route to consider which will help you become debt free again. You don't have to struggle with debt alone, we can tell you which debt solutions you would be best suited for.

Struggling to Pay Debt On Time

If you're struggling to pay your contractual obligations on time then you may already know that you have a debt problem. It's by rectifying these debt problems that you get your life back on track.

You may feel the debt is too large to repay in full or that you will be in debt for the rest of your life. Many debt solutions will allow you to repay your debt in an affordable way and some even allow you to write off some of the debt so you're not in debt forever.

There are some debt solutions that will guarantee to freeze your interest and charges too. Most debt solutions will affect your credit file and a default could be added which would last for 6 years and could mean obtaining credit in the future is harder. However, your credit rating can improve again after you have resolved your money worries.

If you're struggling with debt and need help to get your debt problems resolved then speak to a number of charities about your money worries. You'll get confidential advice and be taking the first step towards a debt free life.

You can call Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226.

When it comes to deciding which debt solution to choose there are often two or three options to consider. A decision may be to decide whether you should enter bankruptcy or an IVA to resolve outstanding debt problems.

The right debt solution is often dependent on your expectations as much as your financial situation. In the end, only you can decide which solution will be better for you. At Debt Support Trust our charity advice team can offer guidance on which solution you may wish to enter.

You can call us on 0800 085 0226 to get advice on bankruptcy and other debt solutions, or complete our debt analyser enquiry form. This will give you a guide as to which debt solutions you may wish to consider.

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Debt Advice for Bankruptcy or IVA

There are several available debt solutions which resolve money worries, but not everybody is suitable for all of the plans. In order to understand which debt solutions you can enter you should seek debt help.

The debt advice you receive should lead you towards a debt solution or perhaps a couple different routes which could all get you debt free. The advice you receive will be based on your income, expenditure, assets and level of debt.

It's vital to get debt help before entering a debt solution as a lot of them cannot be reversed once you've entered the plan. Most recently we heard about a 48 year old who had entered bankruptcy and wanted help to avoid the Official Receiver selling their property. The property had £40,000 equity and the debt was only £15,000. This assistance we could offer was limited, however there were a number of other options which would have been more suited, rather than bankruptcy.

Difference between Bankruptcy & IVA

You may have heard about a bankruptcy before - it's the most commonly known debt solution and evokes memories or monopoly when you don't have any money left and have no assets to sell (houses or hotels). You may even know somebody that has entered a debt solution, like a bankruptcy, and they tell you it's the best thing they ever did. What happens to one person in a debt solution is not necessarily the same for everyone.

A bankruptcy and IVA are both insolvency debt solutions. However, there are variations of an IVA and bankruptcy. Typically an IVA will last 5 years, while the bankruptcy will last 1 year.

Repayments: If you can afford to repay money each month then you will have to contribute towards your bankruptcy each month for 3 years in total. The cost of bankruptcy is typically £700. There is no upfront cost to enter an IVA. You can't negotiate your bankruptcy payments, but you can put a proposal to your creditors in an IVA where you set what you can reasonably afford each month.

Assets: In a bankruptcy your assets with equity are sold. A third party (friend / family member) can purchase your share of equity if they can afford it, however, usually assets like a house are sold on the open market. In an IVA you are asked to remortgage near the end of the solution. If you are unable to remortgage and release equity then the IVA is extended for 1 extra year and you retain your property and equity.

Debts: In both the Bankruptcy and IVA you repay what you can afford and any remaining debt is written off.

Lump Sum IVA / DRO: There are variations of the bankruptcy and IVA. If you can't afford a monthly payment to your debt but you have a lump sum of money then you could offer this money in a full and final IVA. The rest of the debt would be written off and the IVA would last usually 1 year.

The DRO is a £90 bankruptcy for people who qualify for the debt solution. The Debt Relief Order and IVA don't require you to go to court, whereas traditional bankruptcy does.

Enter a Debt Solution

If you are ready to resolve your debt problem then an IVA or bankruptcy could be your best option. What Debt Support Trust will do is help you understand which debt solutions best meet your needs. If you are unemployed, with no assets and debts of around £10,000 then you may be best entering a Debt Relief Order. If you are in employment and want to avoid bankruptcy, then an IVA could help.

There are other debt solutions too, like a debt management plan, which you could qualify for. We will give you all of your options, with the pros and cons of each option so you can make an informed decision.

Start today by calling 0800 085 0226. Or, why not complete our confidential 10 minute debt analyser? It gives you a list of potentially suitable debt solutions.

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Debt is known to cause problems with relationships, work, eating and sleep. Money problems can make people sad, worried and depressed. However, there are solutions to become debt free again. There is no need to remain in a negative situation when there are routes back out of debt. The first stage is to get information on your situation so you can make a decision which option will be best for you.

The sooner you start the process of dealing with debt the quicker you will be able to regain normality. It's not uncommon for people to tell us that by simply sharing their financial problems with us makes them feel better. By speaking to a debt advisor you are taking positive steps to rectify money worries.

You can call Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226. If it's outwith our opening hours, then why not complete a debt analyser online. This will give you ideas of appropriate debt solutions which you could be suitable for.

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Can't Sleep At Night Because of Debt

A lack of sleep is a common issue associated with debt, as is problems with relationships. If the debt is the last thing you think about at night and one of the first thoughts you have in the morning, then seek help from a not for profit charity.

You can take steps to improve your financial situation by contacting a debt charity, either via telephone, email or debt analyser.

There isn't one ideal debt solution, but instead most people are suitable for two or three options. Each debt plan has its positives and negatives and will be administrated slightly differently, but they can all get you back to a debt free life.

Before entering any debt solution, ensure you are making an informed decision by speaking confidentially to a qualified debt advisor. You can speak to Debt Support Trust in confidence on 0800 085 0226. Our friendly advisors are available from Monday to Friday 8am - 7pm. You can also send us an email and ask us to call you back. Our email address is contact@debtsupporttrust.org.uk.

What Can Our Advice Team Do?

Firstly, we know that taking the initial step is difficult. Most people spend a great deal of time thinking about their debt before getting in touch. So, we know you need accurate advice from supportive people.

We will ask about the debt, what income you have every month and what you have to spend out every month. We can then consider what assets you have (house, car etc) so we can best protect these.

There are a number of different debt solutions you could consider including:

Token Payments: An informal agreement to pay a small amount per week to your debt, usually around £1 per week. The debt will not clear the debt but it will buy you time until your situation improves.

Debt Management: If you can afford at least £100 per month you could enter a debt management plan. You repay all of the debt but it will potentially freeze interest and charges.

IVA: If the debt management plan will take too long you could consider an IVA. Your house is secure in an IVA but you may be asked to release equity. If an equity release is not possible your IVA would last 6 years, instead of 5. You pay what you can afford into the IVA and all interest and charges are frozen.

Trust Deed: A similar solution to the IVA but the Trust Deed is only for Scottish people. It lasts for 4 years and all interest and charges are frozen.

Bankruptcy: There are various routes to go bankrupt across the UK. Before proceeding with bankruptcy get advice as you could be asked to repay money into the bankruptcy for 3 years.

Our advice is based on a not for profit basis and we never share your information with anybody, without your permission. We also don't register your advice on your credit file - it's an informal chat about your options.

You can start the process of becoming debt free by completing the debt analyser below.

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Some credit cards offer excellent 0% interest free periods, where after balance transfering from one credit card to another, there are no fees for a period of time. One of the best balance transfers is almost 3 years at present, however it can lead people into financial trouble in the future. Credit card debts can cause financially difficulty but there are other options to resolve these money worries.

Once the interest free period comes to an end usually you could try and get another deal with another credit card company and pay the balance transfer fee. The transfer fee is a percentage of the total amount being balance transferred.

If you can't get a balance transfer because you've used the introductory offer before or your credit score isn't high enough, then you would be forced to pay the interest on the existing debt. It's here that debt problems occur.

Credit Card Debt Problems

The RBS has conducted research which found that 37% of people thought they would be able to balance transfer and clear the debt, but were then unable to do so. This meant they had to repay the outstanding balance with the interest rate included, or find another interest free free card.

The research also uncovered that 57% of people didn't realise what their interest rate would be once their interest free period was over.

If you have credit card debt then the interest free period could help you clear the debt so you don't need a debt solution. A debt plan would be helpful if the debts won't be cleared in time for the interest free period being completed, or if you have multiple debts with different companies and are struggling to manage the repayments.

There are various debt solutions including a token payment plan, debt management, trust deed, IVA or bankruptcy which can help with debt problems. If you would like help with your credit card debts call our charity on 0800 085 0226 or complete the debt analyser below.

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At the charity we're receiving an increasing number of calls from people who have been made bankrupt by a creditor, despite not being insolvent. Being insolvent means that you can't afford to pay your debts as they fall due, and you don't have assets which outweigh the debt. For example, a house with £30,000 equity and unsecured debt of £10,000.

The helpline at Debt Support Trust is supporting an ever increasing number of people who have been made bankrupt but have equity in their assets.

One such case was a couple who hadn't paid their council tax and the local authority took action and made the couple bankrupt. Their property had £80,000 equity in it and the official receiver began proceedings to sell their house. The unsecured debt for council tax was £7,000.

What Can You Do To Avoid Bankruptcy?

If you want to avoid bankruptcy then there are some tips and advice we can provide, these include:

1. Deal with the debt: When debts begin to increase it can feel like they are uncontrollable, but by dealing with the debts you will be taking positive action to rectify the problem.

2. Get a solution: Entering some debt solutions will protect you from bankruptcy and losing your property.

3. Negotiate with creditors: If you speak to the companies you owe money to then they you can organise a payment plan and avoid bankruptcy.

4. Seek help: Our debt charity can help you with advice and support you through dealing with your debt.

You can call for advice on 0800 085 0226 or complete the debt analyser enquiry form today.

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Can't I enter an IVA when I'm Bankrupt?

The IVA debt solution is suitable for people who have assets and want to protect them from their creditors. However, once bankruptcy has been awarded against you, then it's impossible to enter an IVA.

The IVA would protect your house and assets but you would need to proceed with this debt solution before bankruptcy has begun.

What Can I Do Once Bankrupt?

If you have been made bankrupt and the official receiver or bankruptcy specialist wants to sell your property to give money back to your creditors then there are only a few options available to you.

Your property is considered as an asset. If there is equity in the property then they can use this equity to repay your debts.

The official receiver does not have to sell your property but they do have to get the equity. This is the same for any asset, whether it's a house, car, shares or any other asset.

If you are able to release the money, typically via a third party (family or friend) offering the money, then the official receiver would allow you to do this and this would help you keep your asset.

One of the most expensive monthly expenditures is rent or your mortgage, but coupled with this is the council tax, home insurances and energy costs. The energy costs for gas and electricity can be difficult to pay when you live on a low income, but there is help available.

You can call Debt Support Trust for specific help for you, or if you are struggling with debt you can get help on 0800 085 0226.

British Gas Customers

The energy giants want to help people on low incomes with discounts. British Gas has their own deal which started in 1st May 2014, known as the Warm Home Discount.

This offer helps people get £140 off their electricity bills throughout the winter of 2014/15. You can call British Gas on 0800 294 8604 if you have a prepayment meter or 0800 072 8625 if you have a credit account, to discuss whether you are eligible.

If you are in receipt of pension credit then you automatically get the discount.  However, you could also receive the discount if you have a number of other benefits, including income support, jobseekers allowance, income support or universal credit.

Should your family income be £16,010 gross per annum and you spend 10% of your money on energy bills, or you have somebody living in your house with a mental or physical disability (or an illness) then you would be suitable for the discount too. If you earn £16,010 gross in your household per year and you have a child under 5, a person of pensionable age or somebody with a vulnerability then the discount would be applied.

There are various offers at other energy suppliers too.

The discounts are not automatically applied and you must phone the energy supplier, spend 10 minutes going through your financial situation and then the discount can be applied for. It can help during the difficult winter months.

Available to Everybody

There is help and support available for everybody, not just British Gas customers. You can get free loft and cavity wall insulation to help keep the heat in your property. This is a project to help reduce the carbon footprint and can reduce your energy bills.

You can get free loft and cavity wall insulation from most energy suppliers and British Gas is offering this service to everybody, even if you are not a customer with them.

Finding out that your partner has debt problems can be a difficult situation, but one which can be managed and resolved. Often there are mixed feelings about why the debt occurred and a fear over the future, but Debt Support Trust can help with debt advice.

The initial shock of the debt can be frightening and you may worry about how the money will be repaid. There are ways we can help you at the charity to get debt free again. You can call our advisors on 0800 085 0226 or complete our debt analyser to get online debt help.

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Deal with Unexpected debt

debt-couplePeople who contact Debt Support Trust don't always realise the debt has existed. The shock can be worrying and mean you lose sleep and relationships are affected. There are certain tips we can give you to get the debt under control. These tips include

  1. Don't panic: There are different ways to deal with debt and we help thousands of people every year with their debt problems.
  2. Income & Expenditure: Take30 minutes and create an income and expenditure. Sit down and look at your bank statements to understand what you spend every month and what you have coming in. Include all your benefits, income and pensions.
  3. Debts: List all of your debts on a piece of paper, with a rough idea of the outstanding balance. Don't worry if this isn't 100% accurate, a rough guide is enough.
  4. Get help: Speak to Debt Support Trust to understanding which debt solution would be best for you. In many circumstances we can help you come to an arrangement with your creditors.

There are questions you may have about your partners debt, so we've created a frequently asked questions section below.

Can my partner's debt affect me?

Usually your partner's debt will not affect you because the debt is personal to them. However, if you have assets, such as a house, which is jointly owned then your partner's creditors could ask for any money in the assets. You will retain your share.

If you don't have any assets then your partner's creditors will only be able to ask your partner for the money back.

The debts are joint, what do I owe?

If your debts are joint with your partner then you are both liable for the full amount of the money. Most people think the debt is split 50/50 but in truth each person is liable for the full amount. This means that if one person can't afford to make repayments then the other party can be responsible to repay the full amount.

Can bailiffs take my possessions?

Bailiffs are not allowed to take your possessions but they can take items belonging to your partner.

Will my credit rating be affected?

Typically your credit rating will not be affected because of your partner's debt, however, if you are 'associated' with your partner on your credit file then it can impact on your credit score. You can speak to the credit referencing agencies (Experian, Equifax and Call Credit) to understand how you improve your credit score.

There are debt solutions which can give you legal protection from your creditors, giving you peace of mind and a legal solution to debt problems. These debt solutions have positives and negatives, but at Debt Support Trust debt charity we're here to help you.

When debts seem impossible to repay, or the cost of simply maintaining the interest payments is overbearing then it's best to look at debt solutions. There are formal and informal options available. An informal arrangement offers no guaranteed legal protection from your creditors, but can help get the situation back under control. Formal debt solutions guarantee to protect you from your creditors if they accept the proposal.

If you would like to discuss your debt situation with a qualified advisor then Debt Support Trust can help. You can call on 0800 085 0226 or complete our debt analyser.

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Legal Protection via a Debt Solution

There are debt solutions which can give you legal protection from your creditors, meaning they can't continue to telephone you or demand payment. All of the debt solutions which enable you to gain protection from your creditors will also write off the debt you can't afford to repay at the end of the solution, along with interest and charges.

The debt solutions which best help you to become debt free and give you protection from your creditors are an IVA, Trust Deed Scotland and bankruptcy.

The highlights of each solution are:

IVA: Typically a 5 year solution, the IVA allows you to pay one amount to one company and freezes interest and charges. Debt which is not repaid after the 5 years is written off.

Trust Deed: The Trust Deed debt solution lasts 4 years usually. You make an affordable monthly payment and stop all other payments to your creditors. Your interest and charges are cleared at the end of the solution along with any remaining debt you have not repaid.

Bankruptcy: There are various routes to enter bankruptcy throughout the UK but they all mean you gain protection from your creditors and become debt free again.

These debt solutions enable you to put a proposal to your creditors, which is often accepted. The negative is that your credit file will have a default added, lasting for 6 years.

What You Shouldn't Do

When you're in debt there are some top tips to deal with the debt. Our top debt advice

You should not:

  1. Bury your head in the sand. By avoiding the debt problem you are delaying the process and will be in debt for longer than necessary.
  2. Enter a solution without getting advice. You could be suitable for two or three debt solutions so get advice to ensure you're making the right decision.
  3. Enter a solution without being aware what will happen to your assets. If you own your house, or have a mortgage on the property, you may wish to avoid some debt solutions as it could impact on your house.

You can call Debt Support Trust for advice on your debt problem by calling 0800 085 0226 or via our debt analyser form.

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One of the most popular thoughts people have when they are struggling financially is to consolidate debt into one monthly loan repayment. This involves taking a number of loans and credit agreements and merging them into one payment, with one rate of interest.

It makes the debts easier to manage and understand, with one interest payment and one amount leaving your bank every month. These loans still exist and it is possible to still get a consolidation loan, although it was far easier before the credit crunch.

The chances are that consoldation loans will want you to have a good credit rating, so you can get a lower rate of interest.

Debt Support Trust and our friendly advisors can help navigate you through your options. You can speak to us on 0800 085 0226.

Struggling to get a Consolidation Loan

If you are unable to get a consolidation loan then you may have to think about other solutions. Everytime you apply for a loan it will leave a mark on your credit file, and the more you apply the less likely you are that a lender will give you the money.

You can get debt help to become debt free from Debt Support Trust. This involves considering your debt level, monthly income, your expenditure and any assets you own.

We can assist you with advice on how to apply for the loan and ensure your credit file is as accurate as possible. If the consolidation loan isn't applicable for you, because the debt is too large or because your credit file has got too many defaults, then we can look at other debt solutions which work similarly to the debt consolidation loan.

Alternatives to Debt Consolidation

If you can't receive a debt consolidation loan then then next step is to consider debt solutions. There are similar benefits to the consolidation loan and some debt solutions. For instance, a debt management plan will allow you to pay one affordable payment each month to one company.

A Trust Deed or IVA would help you to repay what you could afford over a fixed period of time and write off the debt you can't afford to repay. You could also consider bankruptcy too.

There are pros and cons to the debt solutions and one of the negatives is that each debt solution will leave a default on your credit file, whereas a loan would not.

If you want to discuss your debt options then Debt Support Trust can talk through all of your options, providing the positives and negatives, for you to consider. You can call 0800 085 0226 to get information about consolidation loans or debt advice.

Tax credits are given to families to top up their income in the form of child and working tax credits. However, many families find that because of a change in their circumstances, they have tax credit debts. This can cause stress and distress but Debt Support Trust can help.

If you would like help with your tax credit debts, please call our helpline on 0800 085 0226 for debt help.

Tax Credit Debts from Overpayment

The debts to the HMRC tax credit department can vary from hundreds to thousands of pounds. When HM Revenue and Customs reevaluate your account they may inform you that you've been overpaid. Last year over 1.5 million people fell into this problem. The Government overpaid £1.5 billion in the year 2012-2013 to people claiming tax credits.

New powers which will be introduced in 2015 will mean HMRC can take the money from a person's bank account. In the meantime, HMRC can refer the debt to debt collectors who are taking action to recover the money.

The first stage from HMRC is to ask for the money back. They will write and call to make an arrangement to get the money back. You won't be asked to repay the money in one payment if you can't afford it, but usually will be asked to create a payment plan.

When you create the payment plan you won't usually face the threat of debt collectors, but if you fail to make contact with HMRC they could take further action.

HMRC Debt to Tax Credits

If you are struggling to repay tax credit debts along with credit cards, overdrafts and loans then you're not alone. Thousands of people contact Debt Support Trust with debt problems and we're able to assist them back to a debt free life.

If you need help with any element of tax credit advice call our helpful money advice team on 0800 085 0226.  We'll be glad to help you with your query.