Many people in Northern Ireland are struggling financially because of the effects of the pandemic. With the end of government support measures such as the leave scheme and the rising cost of living, it is becoming increasingly difficult to manage for many households, and some will resort to debt accumulation for s ‘get out.

In 2020, our debt service handled over £ 28million of debt in over 7,500 deals and we anticipate this could worsen as 2021 progresses.

Debt is still a taboo subject, and many people feel ashamed and do not know where to turn for help. NI Consulting and our members provide free, confidential, end-to-end service, helping people with debt regain control and move towards a more positive outcome.

With that in mind, I’ve compiled a guide, so you know what to expect when contacting Advice NI or one of our member centers for debt advice.

Ways to get in touch

NI Advice and our 69 members have over 300 Advisors operating across Northern Ireland, providing free, unbiased and confidential advice to individuals and businesses on a wide range of topics, ranging from benefits, debt, issues housing and immigration to consumption and employment issues.

To get in touch with Advice NI, you can call the toll free number on 0800 915 4604 or send an email to advisor@adviceni.net. You can visit our website https://www.adviceni.net/money-debt/debt to use our online chat or download self-help materials.

To contact our Member Center in your area, simply visit https://www.adviceni.net/money-debt/debt/local-debt-advice.

What happens on your first date?

After you’ve spoken to an advisor, they’ll ask you to tell your story. They will ask questions to help them understand your situation. This helps them identify and resolve pressing issues so they can begin to work out the options available to help you manage your debt. If necessary, they will offer to refer you or direct you, with your consent, for a control of the services or to another service such as advice.

Explore the solutions

Your advisor will assess your income and expenses, including your assets, to find ways to maximize your income and reduce your expenses.

They will also collect information on all of your debts and then work with you to explore potential solutions. These solutions could include a debt management plan, a full and final settlement, a debt relief order, or bankruptcy.

We have developed this guide to help you understand what information may be needed: http://www.adviceni.net/money-debt/money-talks-help-guides/debt-management/meeting-your-debt-adviser.

Once you have decided on a solution, your advisor can contact and negotiate directly with your creditors on your behalf. They can prepare a financial statement, fill out all the necessary forms or deal with any complaint or legal action.

Your advisor will also guide you in dealing with creditors’ claims. If necessary, your advisor will direct you to a service provider specializing in debt relief solutions.

Support in progress

We will accompany you throughout the debt solution you have chosen. You will have regular and continuous contact with your advisor throughout our counseling journey.

You will be free to return to the NI Advisory Service or our Member Center at any time if you require further assistance and advice.

NI Advice and our members in Northern Ireland can offer free, impartial and confidential debt advice. We can help anyone in financial difficulty who needs help managing their debt.

The sooner you ask for help, the more options you have. If you or someone you know is having difficulty, we encourage you to reach out. It is important for people to know that they are not alone.

  • Advice NI and the Independent Advice Network have 69 members and over 300 advisers across Northern Ireland, providing free and confidential advice to individuals and businesses.
  • To access Advice NI’s money and debt advice and unlock your future, call the toll free number 0800 915 4604 or email advisor@adviceni.net or visit www.adviceni.net. To find a counseling center in your area, just visit www.adviceni.net/advice/local.

For the latest news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter here.