Guidance Notes on Debt Relief

The charity will only help towards repaying your debts once. 
 
It is, therefore, important that you disclose all your debts in order to ensure not only that any debt relief exercise addresses all your immediate financial problems, but also that you will be able to manage your finances in the future without further debts arising.

All debt cases are considered by the charity in conjunction with your diocese. We will need your consent for staff of the charity to discuss your situation with diocesan staff, including your bishop and/or archdeacon and the financial mentor (mentioned below).

Ineligible debts. We cannot help with debts arising from:

  •       the purchase of motor vehicles;
  •       the purchase, improvement or maintenance of a property;
  •       the purchase of a computer;
  •       funding children through school or university;
  •       student loans;
  •       trading or running a business;
  •       legal fees;
  •       or debts incurred, for whatever reason, prior to ordination.

The Financial Mentor. This is someone who will be appointed by your bishop or archdeacon to help you through the process of making an application to the charity for debt relief. S/he will need to see recent bank and credit card statements and will be responsible for producing a report on your finances for the charity.

On-going financial monitoring. It is a condition of any help being given by the charity that the applicant agrees to on-going financial monitoring under arrangements put in place by the diocese.

Any help with debts is at the discretion of the trustees of the charity and, in any event, is subject to you falling within their eligibility criteria, both financial and otherwise. Any savings or other assets will be expected to be applied towards reducing the debts before the charity considers any assistance.

The process
1. If you have not already done so, please contact the charity’s office by telephone (or email to ask for a call-back at a convenient time) to have an initial discussion about your situation.

2. During the telephone call you will be asked roughly how much debt you have and how the debt is held (i.e. on credit cards, loans, overdrafts). You will be asked to make an appointment to discuss the issue with your bishop or archdeacon.

3. An application form can then be completed online or be sent to you by post which should be completed.  Included with this will be guidance notes for the bishop/archdeacon and for the financial mentor. You should pass these on as indicated.

4. You will probably have between two and four meetings with the financial mentor to look in depth at your financial situation. S/he will discuss with you how the debt has arisen and what measures you might take to prevent recurrence of the debts. The financial mentor will need access to all your financial records.

5. If there are no outstanding queries once you have returned the completed application form and the charity has received the report from the financial mentor, your application will be processed for the trustees. At this stage you will be told when you will hear the outcome of your application.

6. The trustees will discuss your application and decide whether to assist. You will be informed of the outcome.

7. If the trustees decide they will take part in a debt relief exercise they will also decide how to repay the debts. It is most likely that your creditors will be paid direct by the charity.

If you have any queries about the process, or what needs to be done, please telephone the charity’s office to ask for clarification.

Clergy talking together
Trustees Meeting

Clergy lighting candles

What you need to include with your application for debt relief

Checklist:

  • The completed application form with all the supporting paperwork mentioned on the front.
  • Three months of credit card and bank statements for all the accounts you and your spouse / partner hold.
  • A complete list of all the debts owed by the household.
  • Loan agreements governing all outstanding debts.
  • The report from your financial mentor (although the financial mentor may send this direct to us).

Places to find help in managing your finances

Some of these organisations run courses on budgeting and money management as well as giving advice on dealing with debt.

Christians Against Poverty www.capuk.org

Stepchange www.stepchange.org.uk

National Debtline www.nationaldebtline.org

Citizen’s Advice www.citizensadvice.org.uk

Payplan www.payplan.com