Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How the Government and Charities can Help Get you out of Debt

Wipe our Debt
Wipe our Debt (Photo credit: Images_of_Money)
Living under a mountain of debt is stressful, frustrating and can have a significant impact on your quality of life. Even though you may not think there's any help out there, you can get assistance with debt from area charities and even the government if you know where to look and how to approach the situation.

Debt Management: Where the Government and Charity Meet

Getting impartial professional advice regarding your current financial situation is the first step to becoming debt free. Counselors can help you negotiate with creditors, create a budget and do whatever else you need to do for financial solvency and get you on your way to alleviate that debt.

Debt services often charge fees, but you may qualify for free help through the government's Money Advice Service. Some agencies are operated by charities and charge low or no fees for helping individuals who qualify under their income criteria. According to the official services website of the UK government, the "Money Advice Service has information on organisations that can advise you about whether a Debt Management Plan is right for you.

Evaluate Your Circumstances From All Angles

In order to uncover every possible help resource, whether charity or government, you need to look at your current personal circumstances. If you're struggling with debt because you have ongoing medical issues and miss work, for example, you may be eligible for programs designed to help people under those particular circumstances or for those who have your illness.

Look at all the factors that are contributing to your financial situation while considering the big picture. You may not be considering buried circumstances that are causing you to struggle financially and that might cause you to miss avenues of help you qualify for. A little searching can definitely go a long way. 

Leave No Stone Unturned

Once you've identified everything that plays a part in your finances, start looking for outside help. Contact government agencies first, as many can point you in the direction of charities that can assist you even if you don't quality for any government programs. Don't assume you're not qualified for something until you've at least spoken to someone with that service or program.

Try information services, such as income support phone number, to get connected with government programs you may be eligible for. Ask government representatives about private programs you may qualify for whether you're approved or denied help.

Charities can be a little harder to pin down on your own, especially given how many have limited funding for advertising or may be struggling with outreach efforts. Prepare to do a bit of research to locate private agencies that can help you.

Check local online support forums for people in situations similar to yours to identify charity agencies you may not be aware of. Local government seats may have listings of charities that operate in the area. Use social media to check for charities in your area and to ask others if they're aware of any agencies if you feel comfortable doing so.

Make sure you follow application instructions and meet all the paperwork requirements for any government agency or charity you apply to. The sooner you turn in a completed application, the faster you'll get help.

Neal Bricker covers debt and financial topics related to seniors and others for various publications. He keeps up on current news and trends regarding services and debt management techniques.

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