Approved Intermediary Service is established in MABS to provide Debt Relief Notices under the Personal Insolvency Service
The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, TD, today (11th April 2013) announced the establishment of an Approved Intermediary Service within the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) for the purposes of providing for Debt Relief Notices under the Personal Insolvency Service. The Minister was speaking at the official opening of the co-located offices of Kerry MABS, Citizens Information Services, and Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities at Park Court in Killarney.
A Debt Relief Notice is one of three new debt resolution mechanisms that will be available through the Insolvency Service. It is designed for people who have very low disposable income and little assets, and will allow for the write-off of qualifying debt up to €20,000, subject to a three-year supervision period.
To obtain a Debt Relief Notice, an application must be made through an Approved Intermediary. MABS will provide an Approved Intermediary service to process applications for Debt Relief Notices.
Minister Burton said: “High levels of personal debt are a source of huge stress for many families and individuals. The Insolvency Service is being set up to help people who are insolvent to find a way out of their plight. Debt Relief Notices, one of the three new mechanisms available under the Service, will be a crucial step in helping those who are on very low incomes and heavily indebted with no realistic chance of repaying that debt.
“With the assistance of an ‘Approved Intermediary’, the Debt Relief Notice will allow for the full write-off of qualifying unsecured debt after a three-year supervision period. The Approved Intermediary Service will be delivered by trained money advisors and will be supported by the MABS helpline.
“Over its history, MABS has helped very many people out of debt difficulties and is therefore very well placed to provide an Approved Intermediary Service.”
The Citizens Information Board together with MABS, and under the aegis of the Department of Social Protection, is working closely with the Insolvency Service to put the Approved Intermediary Service in place. Sixteen temporary money advice staff have been recruited to facilitate the rollout of the service within MABS.
A regionally based Approved Intermediary Service Transition Unit (AISTU) has been established and all Money Advice Co-Ordinators and one Money Advisor in each of the 51 local MABS companies around the country are being trained as Approved Intermediaries to ensure that the service will be available nationwide from the outset.
Minister Burton concluded: “This is a further step in the Government’s response to the enormous levels of private household debt, which is a real worry for people and a barrier to economic recovery.”
Separately, a Mortgage Arrears Information and Advice Service has already been put in place in order to help people understand their options if they are in mortgage arrears or think they are at risk of going into arrears on their home. The Mortgage Arrears Information and Advice Service has three strands:
the website www.keepingyourhome.ie is the key online access portal for comprehensive mortgage arrears information;
the Mortgage Arrears Information Helpline provides general mortgage arrears information and other supports and services available. The Helpline operates Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 5pm at 0761 74050;
the availability of independent advice for mortgage holders at the point where a lender presents them with a long-term proposal to restructure the mortgage on their home. A mortgage holder can select an accountant from a panel made up of members of accountancy bodies and the lender will pay for the service. Details of participating accountants are available on the website www.keepingyourhome.ie.
Note for Editors:
The Money Advice and Budgeting Service is funded and supported by the Citizens Information Board, under the aegis of the Department of Social Protection.
MABS provides a free, confidential, non-judgmental and independent service for people in debt or in danger of becoming over-indebted. The MABS Helpline is 0761 07 2000 and operates Monday-Friday from 9am to 8pm. Further information about MABS services and the location of their offices is available from www.mabs.ie.
The Personal Insolvency Act provides for the introduction of three new debt resolution processes which, though requiring approval by the court, are essentially non-judicial in nature.
These three processes are:
The Debt Relief Notice (DRN) will allow for the write-off of qualifying unsecured debt up to €20,000, subject to a three year supervision period.
The Debt Settlement Arrangement (DSA) provides for the agreed settlement of unsecured debt, with no limit involved, normally over five years.
The Personal Insolvency Arrangement (PIA) will enable the agreed settlement of secured debt up to €3 million, although this cap may be increased with the consent of all secured creditors, and unsecured debt without limit, normally over six years.