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Living on a debt solution

Will a Debt Arrangement Scheme affect my job?

Posted 08 August 2016

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In most cases DAS won’t affect your job, but there are some exceptions.

If you’re having trouble maintaining your contractual payments on your unsecured debts, it might be time to see whether a debt solution could help. The Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) is a formal way to deal with unmanageable debts if you are ‘habitually resident’ in Scotland. This usually means that you have to live there, but if you live somewhere else and pay tax in Scotland you may also be eligible for this solution. 

But will starting DAS affect what kind of job you can do? 

In this blog, we’ll look into the relationship between this particular debt solution and your work – but first, here’s a brief explanation of how the solution works. 

How does a Debt Arrangement Scheme work?

A Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) is a formal way to deal with unsecured debts set up by the Scottish Government. If you can’t afford to repay what you owe at the rate you originally agreed to DAS reduces your repayments through a plan called a Debt Payment Programme (DPP). The new repayment amount is set at a level you can afford and you continue to pay this lower amount until your debts have been paid off entirely. 

When we say ‘formal’ what we mean is that the scheme provides you with legal protection from your creditors. So while you’re part of the scheme they won’t be able to take any further legal action against you. The scheme is legally binding on you and your creditors. 

Will I be able to keep my job? 

In most cases, a Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) won’t affect your job and you should find that you’re able to carry on with your work as normal while you’re on the plan. 

But DAS is sometimes incompatible with certain jobs – for instance if you hold a position of authority in the Police, Fire Service or Prison Service. It can also be incompatible with jobs that require you to provide financial advice or handle money, such as being a solicitor or accountant. If you hold one of these positions and there may be a problem with your employer, the advisor you speak to should recommend another more suitable solution for you.

If you want to make sure that your job won’t be affected, you should check your employment contract thoroughly.

Find my solution

Will my employer find out about DAS? 

When you start this solution your name will be added to the DAS register, which is simply a list of all the people who are applying for, or who already have a Debt Payment Programme (DPP). 

This is a publicly accessible list and anyone can search it, although it is mostly used by creditors and people involved in the running of a Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS). If your employer had reason to search this register, they can find out about your DAS this way. 

Another way they may find out is if you had arranged for the payments towards your DPP to come straight out of your wages. In order to arrange this, you would have to sign a form and then your employer would deduct the money from your wages and find out about the scheme. 

As we said earlier, in most cases DAS will not put your job at risk unless you work in a specific role and if this is the case your debt advisor will look at other more suitable, less risky option for you. 

The only other way that your employer, or anyone else for that matter, will find out about the plan is if you or a creditor tells them about it. Of course you can choose whether or not you want to tell your employer. Creditors will only let other people know about debt solutions if you happen to have joint finances with them. 

Do I have to be in work for DAS?

It’s very important that you are able to make one regular payment towards your unsecured debts each month for your DPP. Because of this, you need a reliable source of income for this debt solution to be suitable for you.

If your income is partly, or completely, made up from benefits it is less likely DAS is right for you, but that doesn’t mean it’s ruled out altogether. It just depends on the amount that you can reasonably afford to put towards your debts on the Debt Payment Plan and how long it will take you to pay your debts off in full. 

If you’re worried that you won’t be able to start DAS because your income fluctuates or because you live on benefits, the best thing you can do is speak to an expert. You can use the options to the left of the page and speak to an advisor today. They will be able to tell you whether you qualify for DAS or not, and if you don’t they will recommend another solution instead. 

No matter what kind of problem you’re having with your repayments, there is always a way to deal with debt so make sure you reach out for the help you need. 

by Christine Walsh

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.