How do you qualify for DAS?

31 August2011

The Debt Arrangement Scheme, or DAS, is a statutory debt management solution provided by the Scottish government for residents of Scotland. If you're in debt, DAS could allow you to repay your unsecured debts over a longer period through a debt payment programme (DPP) - at a rate you can afford.

If you wanted to enter into DAS, you would need to speak to an approved Money Adviser. They could tell you whether it's the right option for you and help you to apply if you decide to.

How much debt do you need to have for DAS?

There isn't a fixed amount of debt you need to have to qualify for DAS. Things that you do need to consider are:

Whether your debt is secured or unsecured. DAS will only help you to repay your unsecured debts - i.e. personal loans, credit cards, overdrafts, catalogue debts and similar debts. A mortgage, court fine or student loan, for example, couldn't be included in DAS.

  • Whether you can afford your debt repayments at the moment. If you're struggling, DAS could help you to make smaller payments - and help you to repay everything that you owe at a rate you can afford.
  • Whether you can make 'reasonable' payments towards your debts every month, so you can still make progress on repaying them (even though you're paying less than you were per month).

So really, people with different levels of debt enter into DAS. Whether or not they're eligible depends on a few factors.

It's worth bearing in mind that a debt that was once affordable may become difficult to manage if your circumstances change - if you had a drop in income, for example, or the cost of other things went up.

How do you repay debts on DAS?

You can speak to a Money Adviser, who will be able to help you apply for DAS. If your application is successful, you'll make a single payment per month - and a Payments Distributor will handle payments to your lenders on your behalf.

Interest and charges on your debt would be frozen under DAS, and these charges would be written off when you successfully complete your DPP.

Your payments will be spread over a longer period, making them more affordable. And if your circumstances changed while you were on your DPP, DAS could allow you to change the arrangement and make different payments until your circumstances return to normal.

Finally, once you have applied for DAS, you become protected from court enforcement from your lenders. If your application is successful (and you continue to make your agreed payments into the DPP) your lenders won't be able to take any further action against you.

Are there any disadvantages?

Entering DAS would be recorded on your credit file for six years, making it difficult to borrow money during that period. Also, your details would be recorded on the DAS register. Your Money Adviser will be able to tell you more about these drawbacks.

Remember that even though DAS is recorded on your credit file, it can freeze interest and charges - and ensure you can afford your monthly payments without needing to use the funds you need for life's essentials.

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Tags: DAS, debt arrangement scheme, government, Scotland, Scottish, DPP, debt management, unsecured debt

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