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Managing an IVA

Individual voluntary arrangement. Tips to keep your IVA on track

Starting an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) can be daunting. Fortunately, your IVA supervisor is there to answer your questions and give you any support you may need. 

Here are some practical things you can do to help make life during your IVA term easier.

Considering an IVA?

IVAs are arranged by StepChange Voluntary Arrangements, part of StepChange Debt Charity. In Scotland, a protected trust deed is a similar solution. This has different benefits, risks and fees.

You can only get an IVA with the help of an insolvency practitioner. StepChange is an approved organisation to manage IVAs.

  1. The first step is to see whether an IVA is right for you. To do this use our free online advice tool
  2. If an IVA is the best solution to your debt problem our specialist company, StepChange Voluntary Arrangements, can help you through the set up process
  3. We'll review your finances and put forward the IVA proposal to your creditors 

There are no up-front fees, and we won’t charge you for debt advice. Fees are detailed in your IVA proposal, which an IP will assist in drafting. Any fees have to be approved by creditors. Your IP will explain what fees you need to pay for your IVA.

IVAs are arranged by StepChange Voluntary Arrangements, part of StepChange Debt Charity.

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Thinking about going ahead with an IVA?

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What can I do to keep my IVA on track? 

1. Read your review letter and budget carefully

Your budget was put together in order to help you keep your living expenses covered over the term of your IVA. Use this to manage your money between reviews. 

2. Be vigilant with your budget

Even when your IVA is approved, it’s always wise to keep track of any fluctuations in your expenditure. Making a budget can give you a sense of control over your spending.

3. Tell your supervisor if you can’t afford your IVA payment

Keep in mind that things may change, and life happens. If you’ve had an unexpected expense or will struggle to make your IVA payment this month, then you must get in touch with your IVA supervisor. They will take any issues you're facing into account and give you guidance on what to do next. 

4. Tell your supervisor if you get any tax rebates

Honesty is the best policy when it comes to your IVA and any unexpected money you receive, such as a tax rebate or other windfall. Failure to disclose this information to your supervisor could result in a breach of your IVA, which is a formal agreement.

5.  Keep track of all your paperwork

File it as soon as possible in a way that makes it easy to refer to. It might sound a bit obvious but it’s amazing how easy it is to lose track of these things.

6.  Call your IVA supervisor as soon as possible with any questions or concerns

Your IVA supervisor is there to help you resolve any problems you have with making your IVA payments.

7.  Help your IVA supervisor resolve any issues as soon as you can

If there's an issue with your IVA, resolving it quickly is the best way to keep everything on track. If your IVA supervisor asks you call us back with some information that they need, please call as soon as possible. 

8.  Keep your IVA supervisor informed of additional income

This includes overtime, bonuses or any other extra income you receive. Your IVA supervisor will review your situation and work out how much extra you need to pay into your IVA.

Not telling your IVA supervisor about income increases may be considered a breach of your IVA. Remember – if you earn above your income threshold limit, you’ll need to pay more into your IVA.

9.  Reclaim missold PPI

If you have a valid PPI claim try not to use a fee-charging claims management company. Instead, you can make the PPI claim yourself for free. Any money you receive must be paid into your IVA.

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.

Things to avoid on an IVA

1.  Don’t ignore your sundries and emergencies

When you go through your budget with your IVA supervisor, a certain amount of money should be allocated in your budget for sundries, emergencies and unexpected expenses. If you start neglecting this part of your budget, it can be much harder to deal with an unexpected expense such as fixing a broken appliance. Put the money in a separate account or even a jam jar if this is easier!

2.  Don’t pay unsecured creditors separately to your IVA

Your creditors are bound by the terms of your IVA and shouldn't be asking you to pay anything extra to them.

3.  Don't borrow any money during your IVA

You must talk to your IVA supervisor before deciding to borrow money. In most cases, you won't be permitted to take out loans or credit while your IVA is active. This includes borrowing money from family and friends.

4.  Don't use an overdraft

Using an overdraft counts as borrowing money.

5.  Don't worry too much about letters from your creditors

These are usually statements, and you don’t need to do anything. However, if there’s a threat of action send a copy to your IVA supervisor and they should look into it for you.

6.  Don't buy a car without talking to us first

If you want to replace your car or buy a new one while your IVA is active, you must talk to your IVA supervisor first. Cars count as assets and can have ongoing costs that may affect your IVA.

Considering an IVA? Get free debt advice.

To find out if an IVA is the best debt solution for your situation, use our online debt help tool. If you already have an IVA, you should always discuss your situation with your Insolvency Practitioner (IP) first.

StepChange Voluntary Arrangements is a registered trading name of Consumer Credit Counselling Service Voluntary Arrangements Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of StepChange Debt Charity.