Debt relief order a ‘life saver’

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A Limavady debt advisor has welcomed a new government scheme offering an alternative to bankruptcy for the least well off in Northern Ireland, which she branded ‘a life saver’.

Introduced this week, the Debt Relief Order can only be accessed through an approved intermediary and costs £90.

In order to qualify for the Order individuals must owe less than £15,000, have gross assets of less than £300, not have a vehicle worth more than £1,000 and have disposable income of no more than £50 per month

Trudie McManus, Money & Debt Adviser at Limavady Community Development Initiative said: “What the Debt Relief Order effectively does, is offer people who cannot afford to go bankrupt because of the associated court fees an opportunity to free themselves from debt they cannot pay. This scheme is well overdue in Northern Ireland. We believe it is crucial that people who qualify for the scheme have access to it and accordingly I have been trained as an intermediary along with the other advisers within the Debt Action NI team who will be able to help people in financial difficulty across Northern Ireland apply for debt relief.”

Ms McManus said there “is a real human cost to debt and the stress and pressure it puts on individuals and families cannot be underestimated”.

“This Order will be a life saver for many and we encourage people to contact us to check if it suits their needs.

“Obviously, it will not be suitable for everyone as, for example, the limits on the levels of debt and assets make it unsuitable for homeowners and there are some restrictions that apply after the Order is granted.

“One thing for sure is that there will be less stigma attached for people choosing this option as, unlike bankruptcy, details will not be advertised in the press.”

Contact Ms McManus, Money & Debt Adviser, LCDI on 028 777 29148; visit www.debtaction-ni.net