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Debt and welfare benefits

One of the main reasons people fall into debt is an unforeseen change in circumstances (such as illness, separation or divorce) or unrealistic repayment expectations on the part of the creditor or the lender.

Debt problems rarely exist in isolation: many people face clusters of problems, of which debt may be the main or a component part. Over-indebtedness can be caused by, and contribute to, social exclusion, financial exclusion and poverty. It is also one of the main causes of depressive illness, and can be a barrier to obtaining work. For all these reasons, helping people to attend to their indebtedness is particularly important to us.

We provide a comprehensive service to help people who face problems with indebtedness, including income maximisation, budget preparation and advice and assistance with legal processes, including Debt Relief Orders, a legal remedy for debt designed for people with no assets. In some cases, it is possible to get debt written-off, but in the overwhelming majority of cases we can improve the situation for people by putting them back in control and easing the stress or pressure they were under.

The benefits system can be inflexible and overly complex, often leaving people confused about their entitlements and obligations. Processing delays and poor decision making mean that many people do not receive the money they are entitled to and in some cases decide not to pursue their claim.

The Welfare Benefits team provides help and advice in navigating this system, including assistance with claims, income maximisation advice and tribunal representation.

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