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Living on an IVA? Here’s your guide.

We know that being on an IVA can be daunting. But we’re here to help you every step of the way.

Living on an IVA

Your IVA survival guide. Here's how we help you.


This page: packed with answers to the questions our existing clients ask us most often and is regularly updated with the information you need to know throughout your individual voluntary arrangement (IVA).


Our expert advisors: if you're a client of ours, we're only ever a phone call away. If you can't find the information you need here then call us.


The MoneyAware team: support while you’re sticking to a budget, with top tips and tools to become a money-savvy expert. 


Our 6 top tips to make sure your IVA runs smoothly

This is a new start for you and your finances. Here are six ways you can keep on top of your IVA:

  1. Make sure you're claiming and receiving all the benefits you're entitled to. Use our free online benefits checker to find out quickly and easily.
  2. Never borrow more money – this will jeopardise your IVA
  3. Stick to your monthly budget
  4. Contact us whenever you have a question or concern
  5. Do everything you agreed to in your IVA proposal
  6. Stay positive – it might feel like it’s going to take a long time to clear your debts, but the most important thing is that you're in control of the situation now

Now your IVA is up and running

Meet the MoneyAware Team. They're here to give you a helping hand throughout your IVA, sending you a quarterly email packed with information on how to survive the trickiest times on your IVA. 

Our team of debt experts are (from left to right) Laura, James, Peer, Rachel, Jenny and Rory.

MoneyAware team photo

They'll also point out the tools you need to make sure that when you've finished your IVA that you continue to have a debt free future. They aren't in it for the short term. They want to transform your future! 

Look out for your first email once your IVA is set up.

Here's what to expect during your IVA

left right
Day 1 - Your IVA is approved

Today is the day that your IVA is approved and your creditors will stop adding interest and charges to your account. 

Week 1 - Your welcome pack

Your welcome pack is on its way. This will give you information on what happens now your IVA’s started and has useful answers to commonly asked questions.

Month 1 - Your new budget

Month one of living to your new budget complete! Well done.

Month 2 - Your first payment

Your IVA payments should start this month.

Month 3 - Hello from us!

The MoneyAware team will also send you your first MoneyAware email. You'll get a new one every quarter and it'll be packed with money savings tips and the latest debt news.

Month 4 - Peace and quiet

The letters and phone calls from your creditors should have stopped by this point, if not sooner. If you're still being contacted by your creditors read our guide for what to do next

Month 8 - Keep in touch

Keep in touch! Some of your creditors may be passing your debts on to companies better able to deal with an IVA. Click here to find out what you need to do, and when to contact us

Month 10 - Reviewing your IVA

You'll hear from us again, a few weeks before your IVAs first birthday. It is time for us to conduct your first annual review.  A few weeks after this, you will get your annual report in the post.

1 year in

You’ve reached your first full year on your IVA. Congratulations! You should be well into the swing of things now, but if you have any questions or concerns just let us know.

Your IVA is 2!

Every year, around the anniversary of your IVA we'll conduct your annual review. If you haven't had any changes or problems you might not hear from us in between your annual reviews.

Happy 3rd Birthday!

You know the drill by now. Congratulations on your success so far, you're well on the way to becoming debt free. 

Your IVA is 4!

For some of you, this is nearing the end point of your arrangement. Depending on whether your IVA was originally 5 or 6 years, you may only have 1 year left.

Your final 6 months

if you own a property during your IVA it’s time to review if there’s any equity available.


Your IVA has completed. However long it's taken, and whatever's happened along the way, you're nearly there. Congratulations and well done. Here's to a brighter future.

Questions we get asked by our IVA clients

There are some common questions that most clients will ask us when they're on an IVA. 

I need to make a payment

Find out how and when you can make your monthly IVA payments

My creditors are still contacting me

Find out exactly why you're still hearing from your creditors

I want to reclaim PPI

With the publicity surrounding reclaiming missold PPI, find out how this would affect your IVA

I need to miss a payment to my IVA

Signing up to an IVA means committing to make a monthly payment for the next five or six years. Find out what you need to do if you can't make your IVA payment

Me and my partner split up

If you're on a joint IVA here's more information about what to do if you separate

I'm made redundant

Firstly, don't panic. Secondly read our information on how we'll help you deal with your redundancy

My IVA finishes

Find out exactly what will happen when you make that final payment to your IVA

I received a letter telling me to cancel my IVA

Many people have been sent misleading letters urging them to cancel their IVA

How could my IVA fail?

Take all measures possible to prevent your IVA from failing.

How do I keep my IVA running smoothly?

IVAs may seem complicated, but don't worry. There's several straightforward things you can do to help keep your IVA on track.

What are IVA fees?

Find out more about our IVA fees

Your IVA and your home

One of the biggest areas of concern for our clients is what will happen to their home once they're on an IVA. If you live in a mortgaged property then read about your IVA and remortgaging.

If you live in rented accommodation then as long as you keep your rent up to date there's nothing else you need to do. Being on an IVA won't usually affect your tenancy agreement.

Your annual IVA review

12 months after the approval of your IVA we'll contact you to check that our records accurately reflect your income and expenditure. We'll also make sure that any extra money you might have received has been paid into your IVA. 

The review is carried out during each year of your IVA, on or around the anniversary date of your IVA’s approval.

Make your money work better for you

Your annual review is your opportunity to review your finances and check that your current budget is working for you. To make the most of this review your bank statements and receipts to check how much you're really spending each month.

Planning and sticking to your budget is probably the single most important skill to master whilst on your IVA.

How your review works

We'll write to you to ask for you to provide details of your current income and expenditure. You'll be sent a blank budget that shows last year’s figures along with a new column for you to enter your current income and expenditure.

This is your opportunity to let us know of any changes and a chance to review how the IVA is working for you.

During your review, we'll look at how well you're managing on your personal budget and make sure that your household has enough to live on. If your budget or the payments you're making need to change, we'll make the appropriate adjustments (this means it can go up or down).

What information do I need?

To help us complete your review we'll need your:

  • last 3 wage slips
  • last 3 months’ worth of bank statements
  • current P60
  • benefits awards letters showing the amounts that you receive and frequency of pay
  • any evidence of increases in expenditure 
Your annual report

Every year we’ll put together an annual report after we've completed your review. We send the report to you and your creditors to give an update on the progress of your IVA.

The report includes details of how much you’ve paid into your IVA and any fees taken, and shows how much has been paid back to your creditors. 

Life after your IVA

Now that your IVA is completed it’s time to start building for your financial future. During your IVA you’ve learned the important skill of how to budget effectively.

It’s understandable that you may want to now loosen the belt a little but now is a great time to make your money work for you. StepChange Debt Charity can help you look at ways to reduce your spending and increase your income now your IVA has finished. Our MoneyAware team have written an article explaining how to clean up your credit file after an IVA. For more help, tips and advice signup to the monthly MoneyAware newsletter.  


Our team is here to help

0800 197 1713* Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm


*Freephone from all landlines and mobiles

Our address

StepChange Voluntary Arrangements

Arena Point

Merrion Way



Your IVA email

    Help us to help you

StepChange Voluntary Arrangements strives to provide the best possible service for our clients.  You can help us by telling us when we have done something well, but also if our standards slip below what you would expect. 

Please send correspondence to:

Head of VA,


Arena Point,

Merrion Way,


LS2 8PA. 

If we are unable to settle your complaint, you may complain to the regulatory body that licences our insolvency practitioners.

    Insolvency Practitioner’s regulated work

Any complaints about the Insolvency Practitioner’s regulated work should be completed on-line at www.gov.uk/complain-about-insolvency-practitioner

If you need any help with the form you can call the Insolvency Service Enquiry Line on 0300 6780015 (Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm) or you can email


For more details, please visit:

http://www.gov.uk/complain-about- insolvency-practitioner

Clare Lindley of StepChange Voluntary Arrangements is licensed to act as an insolvency practitioner in the UK by the Insolvency Practitioners Association.

Helping you become debt free...

“I wish to thank your staff for all the great help they gave me when I was in so much debt.
They were a pillar of support to me.” (Leslie, Essex)

Foundation for Credit Counselling Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263. It is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company no:2757055). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

*This is the average rating of our service based on the StepChange reviews on Feefo by DMP and DRO clients three months into their solution.

© StepChange Debt Charity 2017