COMMENT: Try to stop debt piling up

Roger Naden, the Derbyshire manager of Citizens Advice Bureau
Roger Naden, the Derbyshire manager of Citizens Advice Bureau

The scenario: “I was made redundant last month and I’ve already started to fall behind on my bills. I’m looking for work, but is there anything else I can do so I don’t end up in debt?”

Roger Naden, the Derbyshire manager of Citizens Advice Bureau, says: “There are steps you can take to avoid your bills from building up.

First, check that you’ve been paid any redundancy money you’re entitled to. You might be entitled to statutory redundancy pay and possibly contractual redundancy pay if you’ve been in the job for two years or more. This should be evident on your final payslip, but if it’s not contact your employer.

Then look at ways to boost your income. See if you’re eligible for benefits like Jobseeker’s Allowance. Use online benefit calculators such as the ones which you can find at www.citizensadvice.org.uk or turn2us.org.uk. You could also check if you can make savings on your bills, for example by switching to a cheaper gas or electricity deal and cutting back on non-essential expenditure.

Now look at how much money you have coming in and compare it to your essential spending. Priority bills include your rent or mortgage and council tax, and should be paid first as there can be serious consequences for missing payments.

If you own your home, contact your mortgage lender to see if you can negotiate on your monthly repayment or if you have insurance on your mortgage to cover payments if you are made redundant you may wish to make a claim. If you rent your house you may be entitled to benefit to help you with your rent.

If you have credit cards you can see if your card provider will negotiate on repayment amounts to give you some breathing space.

For further help understanding and managing your money, give us a call or come in and see us.

We can offer help to maximise your income, budget and deal with debts that you may have difficulty paying. We can also offer advice your rights on being made redundant.

Citizens’ Advice Derbyshire Districts offers free, confidential and independent advice on any subject and you can call in to see us in person or contact us by telephone.

Visit Citizens Advice Derbyshire Districts’ Ilkeston office, Castledine House, 5 Heanor Road, Ilkeston, DE7 8DY on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10am to 2pm. Wednesday 10am to 2pm is reception service only.

You can telephone for advice on 0300 456 8390 on weekdays from 9am to 4pm.