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This solution is available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

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We’re here for you throughout your IVA

An individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) is a formal solution that can be put in place to help you deal with your debts. If we’ve recommended an IVA for you, it’s because we feel it’s the best solution to your debt problem.

During your individual voluntary arrangement, you’ll find that questions arise from time to time. You may also be unsure about your rights or how an IVA may affect certain aspects of your life. This section has lots of information to help you understand and manage your IVA.

On this page, you'll find...

Answers to the questions our IVA clients ask us most often (and perhaps some you may not have thought of asking).

A timeline that tells you what you can expect over the course of your IVA, from how to deal with creditor contact to when you’ll need to review your budget with us.

Don't forget...

You can contact the IVA team if you need help with a significant budget change or with making your IVA payment. Our number is 0800 197 1713 and we're open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

The MoneyAware team are here to support you while you’re sticking to a budget with money-saving tips and ways to increase your income.

What to expect during your IVA

  • Month 0 - the meeting of creditors

    During the meeting of creditors, they will consider the IVA proposal we helped you put together. It’s the creditor's decision whether or not they approve your IVA and we can’t force them to approve it. However, we have a high IVA approval success rate, and will make every effort to ensure your IVA proposal is reasonable for all concerned.

  • Day 1 - your IVA is approved

    Today’s the day that your IVA is approved and your creditors will stop adding interest and charges to your account. Now's a good time to look into setting up your IVA payment by Direct Debit.
  • Week 2 - Hello from us!

    The MoneyAware team will send you your first IVA email newsletter within the first fortnight of your IVA being approved. You'll get a new one every quarter and it'll be packed with money-saving tips and the latest debt news.
  • Month 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 - Living on your new budget

    This is the first month where you’ve lived to the budget we put together with you during your debt advice session. Everything would have been accounted for, so you should manage to stay on top of household bills and living costs. If not, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.
  • Month 2 - Your first payment

    Your IVA payments should start this month. If you find that you’re struggling to keep to your budget, please let us know. It’s important that your budget works for you when dealing with day-to-day living expenses.
  • Month 4 - Peace and quiet

    The letters and phone calls from your creditors should have stopped by this point. If you're still being contacted by your creditors read our guide for what to do next.
  • Month 8 - Are you still hearing from collection agencies?

    Some of your creditors may be passing your debts to companies better able to deal with an IVA. There are steps you can take if you’re hearing from collection agencies while on an IVA. We can talk through this if you contact us.
  • Months 10/11 - Reviewing your IVA

    You'll hear from us in the few weeks leading up to your IVA’s first birthday to arrange a time for your first annual IVA review. A few weeks after this, you’ll 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 may not hear from us 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 five or six years, you may only have one year left.
  • Your final 6 months

    If you own a property during your IVA it’s time to review to understand if there’s any equity available. If not, we may need to extend your IVA by a further 12 months. This can be discussed in more detail during your review.
  • Success!

    You’ve completed your IVA. However long it's taken, and whatever's happened along the way, you should find life much less stressful than when you first contacted us. Congratulations and well done, and here’s to a brighter future.

 

Questions clients ask when starting their IVA

There are several ways you can make your monthly IVA payments to us. We‘d recommend Direct Debit as the most effective way to pay your IVA.

Our IVA cost and fees follow the industry standard and are agreed by your creditors. You must agree to the fees before we can approve your IVA. These fees will be deducted from the amount you pay into the IVA, so you don’t have to pay any additional costs.

It's worth bearing in mind that there are often costs for other debt solutions too.

We have one of the highest successful completion rates among IVA providers, however the success of your own IVA will largely depend on you. By staying in touch with us and letting us know if you’re having any problems, you’re taking positive steps to making sure your IVA works.

Questions clients ask during their IVA

Under very specific circumstances we do allow our clients to miss a monthly payment into their IVA.

Depending on your circumstances, you may need to pay your council tax in a different way to how you've paid it in the past. Find out how to pay your council tax once you’re on an IVA.

You should also gather details of assets or other commitments you might have such as finance agreements, property value, and mortgage or hire purchase balances that you still need to pay off.

Redundancy can mean a significant change in your circumstances. If you’re on an IVA and have been made, or about to be made redundant, please let us know as soon as possible.

Getting a remortgage on your home may be a necessary action during your IVA. We’ll talk more about this with you should you need to remortgage to pay off your IVA.

Should a person who’s on an IVA end their relationship with a cohabiting spouse or partner, they’ll need to let us know as soon as possible. This is because several priority bills and living costs may be affected, or there may be other changes that we would need to take into account.

Only in very rare cases are you able to take out further credit during your IVA. You’ll need written permission from your insolvency practitioner (IP) before you can take out any credit.

We need to know whenever your income goes up or down, and so do your creditors. Please let us know if you have any change of circumstances during your IVA.

Once your IVA is paid off, it’s worth improving your credit file. One way would be to make sure you’re registered on the electoral roll, but there are other things you can do.

 

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John, Greater Manchester

“StepChange don't judge you. They're here to help. I feel a lot less stressed thanks to them.”

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Jessica, Gwent

"StepChange have helped me so much. I can't thank them enough."

Want to know more about your IVA? 

There are lots of great articles on our website that can help you get the best out of your IVA. They include:

Insolvency Practitioner’s regulated work


Any complaints about the Insolvency Practitioner’s regulated work should be completed online 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

insolvency.enquiryline@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk

For more details, please visit:

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

Clare Lindley and James O'Carroll of StepChange Voluntary Arrangements are licensed to act as insolvency practitioners in the UK by the Insolvency Practitioners Association.

Our team is here to help

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’d expect. 

Please send correspondence to:

Head of VA,

StepChangeVA,

Arena Point,

Merrion Way,

Leeds

LS2 8PA. 

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

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.

We link to external websites where they contain relevant information for our visitors. We're not responsible for the content of these websites, or any infringement on your data rights under data protection regulations by any external website provider.

*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 2018