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Can’t afford DAS payments due to coronavirus

  • Sharon McDougall -
  • 17th July 2020 -
  • 3 minutes to read

The Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB) administers official debt procedures in Scotland, which include the debt payment plans that are a central part of the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS).

The DAS procedure is government-backed, and the Accountant in Bankruptcy has stated they won’t terminate any Debt Arrangement Schemes where payments have been missed due to coronavirus.

This acknowledges the devastating impact the virus has had on people’s livelihoods and the wider economy. You still need to take action if you can’t afford your DAS payments due to coronavirus, however, so what should you do?

Inform your money advisor/AiB straight away

Like other formal debt solutions in Scotland, the Debt Arrangement Scheme offers in-built flexibility if circumstances change during the term, and you find that you can no longer afford the payments.

If coronavirus has affected your ability to pay - through job loss, having to self-isolate, or take a cut in pay, for example - you should contact your money advisor in the first instance to let them know as soon as possible.

Some money advisors may be experiencing higher than usual levels of contact from their clients, so if you’re unable to get through to them you can inform the Accountant in Bankruptcy DAS Team and they will amend their system accordingly.

What if you’ve missed a DAS payment because of coronavirus?

Having to deal with a sudden and drastic drop in your financial circumstances is worrying, especially when you’re trying to escape debt through a formal procedure such as this, but open and honest communication with your money advisor and the AiB is vital.

Your money advisor may be able to reduce your repayments down to a manageable level, or suspend the arrangement temporarily so that you have a short-term financial ‘breathing space.’

If you’re having difficulty getting through to your money advisor in the light of the increased need, you can also apply to the Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB) yourself for a longer payment break of six months.

How do you obtain a DAS payment break?

To be eligible for a six month payment break on your DAS repayments:

  • Your residual income must have dropped by at least 50%
  • Your circumstances must have changed – in relation to coronavirus, this might include job loss, being unable to work due to ill-health, or having to meet caring responsibilities in relation to COVID-19

You can apply to the Accountant in Bankruptcy either online or by printing off and completing their application form. Your creditors must agree to the proposed new repayment amount, and they have three weeks to do so once they’ve been informed.

If your application for a DAS payment break is refused by creditors, your money advisor will look at the details and conclude whether the creditors’ decision is a reasonable one. They’ll advise you of the outcome once they’ve made their assessment of the payment break application, and discuss any further steps that you need to make.

Seeking support during coronavirus when you can’t afford your DAS payments

The Debt Arrangement Scheme can last for some time depending on your level of debt and ability to repay, and when events beyond your control affect your ability to meet the obligations under the scheme, it can be worrying.

If you need more expert help and guidance on managing payments to your debt payment plan, or indeed any other debt issues, please contact one of the team at Scotland Debt Solutions. Our partner-led team of licensed insolvency practitioners can provide reliable independent advice. We offer free same-day consultations, and work from offices around Scotland.

Sharon McDougall
Sharon McDougall
Manager
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