Being unable to repay your creditors within a set time span or being stuck in a situation where your money-related issues seem to be spiraling out of control can be a cause of constant stress and worry.
If that is happening to you, it is time to take charge of your financial situation and plan an implementable debt strategy that can give you a measure of control over your monetary affairs.
One of the options available to you, if you are a resident of Scotland, is a Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS). If DAS is the right debt solution for you, it can help you deal with your existing debt and start afresh.
What Is a Debt Arrangement Scheme?
A debt arrangement scheme is a legal debt management scheme introduced by the Scottish Government to facilitate individuals, couples and businesses in repaying their outstanding debt. DAS also offers some measure of protection against lender-initiated court action and additional fees.
Under debt arrangement scheme regulations, you can apply for a Debt Payment Programme (DPP) through which you can repay all your debts in full over a reasonable period of time. A debt payment plan will enable you to do that by reducing your principle borrowing into affordable monthly installations.
Once you have a debt arrangement scheme in place, you will only be required to make one monthly payment into the debt payment. The paid sum of money is then divided between your creditors. You can apply for a DAS, regardless of the amount of money you owe.
Once you and your creditors have agreed on a DAS, your lenders cannot pursue legal action against you to pressurize you into paying. All interest, penalties, fees and charges on your debt will also be frozen.
However, if you are unable to pay the monthly amount that you agreed on with your creditors, they are not obliged to freeze interest, penalties and fee charges. This may cause your debt to increase.
How Does a Debt Arrangement Scheme Work?
Before any debt agreement is prepared under a debt arrangement scheme, a professional money advisor will take into account your disposable income and expenditure. The monthly repayments will be determined on the basis of your disposable salary.
The total duration of your debt payment plan depends on the amount of debt that you have accumulated and how much of it you can manage to repay. Your creditors will continue receiving the monthly payments you agreed on with them.
Advantages of Debt Arrangement Scheme
Using a debt arrangement scheme to formulate a debt payment plan has the following benefits:
- Your monthly payments under a DPP are based on your disposable salary which means that you will still have money to cover utility bills, basic household expenditure and living costs.
- If you stick to your DPP, all the interest and additional charges on your debt will be frozen.
- You will receive no further correspondence from your creditors
- DAS extends legal protection to you; your creditors can no longer take legal action against you.
- If your circumstances change during the duration of a debt arrangement scheme, you can apply to alter your payments or obtain a six-month repayment break.
- After your DPP is over, you are no longer liable for any payments towards the included debts.
- DPP has no effect on the employment opportunities open to you
- Unlike some other debt options like bankruptcy or trust deeds, DAS is not a form of insolvency. This means that you will not be required to sell your belongings or property.
- There is an application fee legally set at 2% of the total debts and payment distribution fee cannot be greater than 8%. So creditors will receive 90% of their debt back.
Disadvantages of Debt Arrangement Scheme
A debt payment plan, negotiated under DAS, has the following drawbacks:
- The contractual agreement you set up with your creditors through a money advisor may require you to make monthly installations over a long period of time.
- You will have to pay a monthly fee to your Payment Distributor
- You can only apply for DAS through a professional money advisor
- Setting up a debt payment plan would influence your credit rating as long as you are in the DPP. Typically, a DPP shows on your credit file for six years. However, you will show on the DAS register until the DAS is completed which could make it harder for you to obtain a loan or mortgage until then.
- There are restrictions on the amount of money you can borrow during your DPP.
- You can apply for a debt arrangement scheme only once in a year so if your application is rejected, you will have to review other debt solutions or reapply after a year.
- Unless the application is not approved in which case the application fee MAY still be payable (there is an application fee legally set at 2% of the total debts).
Is Debt Arrangement Scheme Suitable for Me?
In order to benefit from a debt arrangement scheme, you need to be residing in Scotland (for England and Wales, see Debt Management Plan). DAS may be the right debt management solution for you if you have some income left over at the end of the month after deducting all your essential expenditure including household and living costs. One of the main considerations in DAS is whether you can repay the money you borrowed within a reasonable time period or not.
Debt arrangement scheme may also work out for you if you do not wish to sell your house. If you opt for DAS, your assets are at little or no risk of being sold off to repay your creditors. Some people also prefer DPPs for professional reasons since a DPP does not restrict you from bearing public office or working in certain fields.
Speaking to a professional Money Advisor about your financial solution can help you decide whether a debt arrangement scheme would work for you or not. Your money advisor can also suggest debt relief alternatives if DAS does not work for you.
How to Get a Debt Arrangement Scheme?
The following steps will help you apply for a debt arrangement scheme:
Step 1: Gather and document your financial data including your debt record and payment slips.
Step 2: Talk to a professional debt expert or a money advisor to decide whether a debt arrangement scheme is the right choice for you.
Step 3: If you feel a Debt Arrangement Scheme is for you, we will refer you to our partner.
Get Debt Solutions from Experts
Money Advisor is committed assisting all those who need help with their finances. If you are struggling to make ends meet or perhaps have experienced a change in circumstances that have affected your ability to manage your finances, please contact us as soon as possible, we will complete an impartial assessment of your situation and put you on the road to financial recovery.