A Guide To Debt Arrangement Schemes In The UK

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The Scottish government instituted the Debt Arrangement Scheme, or DAS, which allows residents to repay debts in an affordable manner.

Scottish residents turn to this debt management solution when they can afford to repay their debts but need a longer time to do it.

A qualified individual helps a debtor create a Debt Payment Program, or DPP.

This lists how much the debtor can afford to contribute monthly toward unsecured debt repayment, which determines the length of the DAS.

 Debt Arrangement Scheme Basics

If you live in Scotland, have one or more debts, and have disposable income remaining after paying living expenses, you may qualify for a DAS.

Per the 2011 regulatory reorganization of this debt management program, individuals with an unprotected Trust Deed may also qualify. Same-sex couples, civil partners, and spouses may be eligible for joint DAS if they are severally and jointly liable for one or more debts.

Only an accredited individual, called a Money Advisor, can help an individual with a DAS and we can help you find one. This person assists the debtor with establishing a DPP to repay debts. The DPP provides the debtor with an extended debt repayment term and protects the individual from negative actions by covered creditors.

A DAS is intended for repaying debts in full, not at a reduced level. However, interest and other charges are frozen while an approved DPP’s terms are being met.

Who Does And Does Not Qualify For A DAS?

Residents of Scotland who have personal debts that they cannot afford to repay according to established terms but have spare income may be eligible for a DAS. Individuals who are interested in a protected Trust Deed but are unable to release the equity in their homes often consider this debt management solution.

Unlike a Trust Deed, a DAS does not require you to turn over assets like home or vehicle equity.

People who are in an undischarged protected Trust Deed, are currently bankrupt, or are subject to a Bankruptcy Restriction Order or Undertaking are not eligible for a DAS. In some circumstances, those who are using a conjoined arrestment order to repay debts may not be eligible.

People who cannot afford to fully repay their debts, even if a longer timeframe is provided, are also not good candidates.

How A Debt Arrangement Scheme Works

With A DAS, you make a single payment for the total amount of debt, issuing the payment to an approved Payments Distributor arranged by the Money Adviser. This individual allocates the money to creditors according to the DAS arrangements. Payment is accepted via payment card, employer payment mandate, direct debit, and other methods designed to make repayment convenient for the debtor.

Once all covered debts are repaid in full, the DAS ends. However, it can also be cancelled due to failure to make the required payments. If three payments are missed, the DPP is likely to be cancelled and if payments are not made for six months, it must generally be terminated.

If this happens, the interest and other charges that were frozen when the DAS went into effect can be retroactively imposed.

If your financial situation changes while on a DAS, the administrator may propose changes to the arrangement, to which creditors are asked to agree. Debtors who find their disposable income reduced by 50 percent or more due to certain circumstances can apply for a payment holiday period of six months.

If this is approved, the DPP is extended by six months. While a DPP is in place, the debtor may not obtain additional credit without approval from the DAS Administrator. A DAS is recorded on the public DAS register, which will negatively affect the credit rating of the borrower.

Creditor Responsibilities With An Approved DPP

As a government program, a DAS is backed by legislation. Creditors covered by an approved DPP must fully comply. This includes freezing fees, charges, and interest on included debts. If the DPP is completed according to the outlined terms, these are permanently waived. Creditors may not correspond with you unnecessarily regarding debts listed in the DPP or take additional enforcement actions against you while an approved DPP is in place.

Applying For A Debt Arrangement Scheme

You have come to the right place if you are interested in a DAS. Jubilee Debt Management can instigate the process of setting up this debt management tool. Creditors are charged a maximum of two percent for the application and eight percent for payment distribution. This allows each creditor to receive at least 90 percent of what it is due.

Once you apply for a DAS, you can express an intimation of intention to the DAS Administrator. This is a request for a six-week protection period against creditors while the DPP proposal is being prepared and submitted. Creditors have 21 days to make a decision regarding the final DPP proposal.

Any who do not respond within this time are deemed to have consented. As long as no creditor issues a rejection or all creditors accept the DPP, it is considered approved. Even if a creditor does not accept the terms, the DAS Administrator can use criteria to determine whether the proposed DPP should be approved under a “fair and reasonable” test.

If the DPP is approved, protection remains in force as long as payments continue as agreed. Creditors may agree to complete the DPP prior to the scheduled end date. Otherwise, all included debts are deemed satisfied once the total agreed payments are made and the debtor is not liable for additional payments on included debt.

This plan is considered legally binding and as such, all parties are expected to abide by its terms. If the DPP is rejected, the DAS register is updated to reflect this and debt repayment must resume. Creditors may reinstate interest, charges, and fees retroactive to the DAS application date.

Debtors who find their DPP rejected by their DAS Administrator are not without options. They can pursue other ways to manage their debt including a Scottish Trust Deed or filing for bankruptcy. Their Money Adviser can provide guidance regarding these alternatives and in some cases, may recommend submission of a revised DPP. Debtors are also permitted to appeal on a point of law to a sheriff regarding a DAS Administrator decision to reject the scheme.

Positives And Negatives Of A Debt Arrangement Scheme

Advantages of a DAS as a debt management tool are:

  1. Affordable repayment of unsecured debt
  2. Money Adviser negotiates and administers repayments
  3. Some flexibility in terms of timeframe and structure based on financial standing
  4. Interest and charges frozen once approved
  5. Does not require release of equity in home or car
  6. Six-week protection against creditors available during DPP proposal period
  7. Protection against covered creditors once DAS approved
  8. Six-month payment holiday in certain cases where necessary
  9. Once all negotiated payments are made, covered debts are satisfied

Drawbacks of using a DAS are as follows:

  1. Only a Money Adviser can arrange it
  2. Debts will not be written off unless they are fully repaid
  3. Creditors are not obligated to accept
  4. When you cease directly paying your debts, your accounts may fall into arrears or further into arrears
  5. Your expenditure will be somewhat restricted to enable a reasonable payment to be made towards your debts
  6. If accepted, debtor must receive permission to obtain credit
  7. Will reflect on the public DAS register for six years, affecting the credit rating

DAS Vs. DMP

All residents of the UK have a voluntary debt management program called a Debt Management Plan, or DMP. A debt management company or charity administers the plan, which is a voluntary agreement between debtors and their creditors. A DAS offers Scottish residents a similar solution with added protection for the individual.

As a government-backed program, it provides legal protection to covered individuals. Either program can last for several years, making it even more important for the debtor to be protected.

Debt Arrangement Schemes In A Nutshell:

  • Formal debt management program designed to make debt repayment more affordable
  • Must be established by an accredited Money Adviser
  • Interest and charges frozen once approved
  • No requirement to turn over equity in home or vehicle
  • Protects you from creditor actions like forced bankruptcy
  • Repays debts in full over a longer period
  • Negative impact on credit rating

It can be confusing to figure out whether a DAS is right for you. A Scottish Trust Deed and bankruptcy are two alternatives for Scottish residents with an unaffordable level of debt. If you are unsure of whether your current disposable income will support debt repayment over time, let us help you by comparing this income to your living expenses and accumulated debt.

It is important to select the correct debt management solution because a bad decision can have lasting consequences. Jubilee Debt Management only works with experienced Money Advisers. We review your financial situation and if we determine that a DAS is a good solution, we will put you in touch with a Money Adviser who will work with you throughout the process.

In recent years, more people have started using a DAS due to the increased cost of living that has pushed many of them into debt. If we deem that you qualify and you are still interested, we get you quickly on your way.

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