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hummm, I'm scared.

edited 28 April 2009 at 6:56PM in Debt-Free Wannabe
49 replies 14K views


  • DamitaDamita Forumite
    344 posts
    Debt-free and Proud!
    ^ Same just wanted to show some support, you can do it hun *hugs*
    Debt Then 06.07 - £11,000 - Debt Now £0.00
    DFD Aug 2011
  • *Hugs* to you - I really feel for you. I've also been and done the mature student thing and it was hard enough without children.

    Have you looked into whether the University have a 'hardship fund' ? I know that I was lucky enough to get help from mine when I was struggling at Uni.

    All the very best to you and please do post your SOA. There are lots of amazing supportive people here who will do all in their power to advise you.
    Debt at lightbulb moment: £44,220. Paid off to date: £27,634 (62%) :j
    Halifax CC (0% 10 months): £9,000; Zopa Loan = £7,586([STRIKE]36[/STRIKE] 16 payments to go) TOTAL = £16,586

  • Taken from Teachernet which is a government website with information for Headteachers and teachers on all things educational.

    Residential Trips
    Schools are permitted to charge for the cost of board and lodging during residential school trips. This cost must not exceed the actual cost of the provision.

    Where the trip takes place wholly, or mainly, during school hours children whose parents are in receipt of the following support payments will, in addition to having a free school lunch entitlement, also be entitled to the remission of these charges:
    • <LI class=MsoNormal>Income Support <LI class=MsoNormal>Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance <LI class=MsoNormal>support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 <LI class=MsoNormal>Child Tax Credit provided the parent is not entitled to Working Tax Credit and their annual income does not exceed £16 040
    • Guaranteed State Pension Credit.
    Hope this helps. Ask your school for a copy of the charging policy and also if there is any help given your financial hardship. Yes, you could offer to pay in installments, but I believe it would be unreasonable of them to exclude your child as a result of your situation.

    However this is a difficult area as obviously if too many parents do not pay, the trip will not be viable. I can only speak on behalf of my experience, but schools do not bump up the cost for each parent to cover those who can't pay.
    Sorry it didnt copy and paste the bullet points very clearly.
  • saliripsalirip Forumite
    57 posts
    Hello Topsy, what took you so long getting here?

    You'll get great support and advice from the people here. You've already had some and, trust me, it'll keep coming.

    Where's your kiddies dad by the way, can't he help out rather that his father?

    Big hug from me and keep your chin up as much as you can.
  • kezloukezlou Forumite
    3.3K posts
    Hiya Topsy, sorry your going through a very rough spot.
    I am a mature student also with two children, this was supposed to be my last year but my financial situation cocked up big style so now have to do it again in September. Except i now have to find the money to pay the cost of the year.But they is hope just persevere. As a student you are entitled to child tax credit and free school meals as your income is less than £16 000.

    Okay first things first have you thought about speaking to a company to consolidate your debts?
    My friend was paying out £1500 a month (her husband was very ill / dying) while she was on Pension credit, left he with virtually nothing, to the point where every penny whether on the floor or in the gutter was used for bills.
    Baliffs had been round and managed to avoid them, not good i know but she didn't want her children to find out what was going on.

    Anyway she was advised to go with a company called Bains and Ernest (thinks thats the name) and she said they were absolutely brilliant. They took control all her bank loans, overdrafts, catalogue, companies like Provident and Shopacheck and arranged for her to pay a small amount to each of her debts. The ask you all sorts of questions and set a budget for you like they £300 food, £400 shoes and clothes, car insurance, pet insurance even money for holidays e.g school trips, school meals etc
    Think they have £25 standard charge on each monthly payment though.

    Anyway to cut along story short, she consolidated all her debt and Bains and Ernest said to pay £500 (that's inc they charge) a month and then we'll review it every six months to see if you can or cant afford it. Two years later she is still paying her debts off but now her payments have dropped down to £200 a month.

    She said it was the best thing she had ever done, the relief she felt was amazing, and she actually had spare money!

    Regarding tax credits, i had been over paid by them and had to £3000 back. I would reapply for them and explain your circumstances. I did this and in the end i only had to repay them back £50 a month which came straight out my tax credits. Its still a lot but it meant i still had some sort of money coming in.

    Council tax, you shouldn't have to pay because your a student.
    Ask them for a earnings form from your local housing office, cant remember the code, its were they assess your incomings and outgoings and they set a reasonable amount to pay them back.
    I did this too with them and arranged to pay £25 a month to them.

    Not sure if any of this advice is any good. Just thought i would and say they is light at the end of tunnel its just dim at the moment. I've been in the same situation as you (still am) but you have did the right thing by saying i have debt now how do i get rid of it.
    Well done for going to university and for bringing your children up so lovingly and well, you should be proud !!!!!!!

    Kez x
  • edited 23 April 2009 at 10:05AM
    duchyduchy Forumite
    19.5K posts
    Xmas Saver!
    edited 23 April 2009 at 10:05AM
    Down to CAB with you
    You shouldn't be paying council tax at all as you are a student. You also need to talk to college about their hardship fund. As a single parent I got extra money on a discressonary basis as a mature student from college funds.
    Talk to tax credits-even if they deduct what you owe you can ask they to do it in bits so you get SOME money from them. Tell the you want a written explanation of where the overpayment occurred. They have to do this if you ask.
    Pay the vet *something* even if it's a couple of quid at a time-you never know if you may need him again
    Ask CAB about PayPlan as mentioned before.
    I know it's tough but CAB have heard it all (and worse) before and will give you good advice and point you towards a DMP at the very least.
    Think about a part time job-if you can find something working 16 hours a week you'll qualify for full tax credits (for example there are jobs working from home -I do this as I need to be around for my son-taking and processing telephone calls for the catalogue companies with very flexible hours. Obviously you need to check out what impact it would have on your rent benfit though but you could be better off-worth checking out. The job centre's single parent advisors can help you work this out.
    Oh yeah and have a hug-it is sortable-I promise-I've been there !!
    I Would Rather Climb A Mountain Than Crawl Into A Hole

    MSE Florida wedding problem
  • boo80boo80 Forumite
    482 posts
    Please don't go with a fee charging company, there are debt charities who will organise it for you for free. I think you should try to get an appointment with your local CAB as soon as you can as you could do with some advice on benefits too, I think they can tell you what you're entitled to as well as the best way to deal with your creditors. Good luck Topsy, and well done for taking the 1st step to getting things under control. Boo.x
  • GeorgeUKGeorgeUK Forumite
    7.7K posts
    Topsy, youve already done the hard part. You've stopped hiding and come out to face the debt. Now we just need to work at putting a smile on your face.

    I would suggest getting a copy of your credit report (free from experian if you cancel within 30 days) so you can see what CCJ's you have as these are priority debts and also to see what other accounts you have that will require your attention.

    For all the post that is coming though the door, i would suggest opening it all up and sorting it into piles for the various accounts. Then sort it into date order, then read through it one pile at a time. There will probably be a few nasty letters in there but alot of the time it is threats saying the MAY do something rather than they WILL. Take it one part at a time and post any questions on here. We're here for you and there are many that have been where you are now. We'll be able to advise you or suggest the best place to get advice.

    The most important part is that you are not only dealing with the problem, but that you are being seen to be dealing with it. If your creditors think you are just ignoring them, they will get more extreme rather than allowing you a chance to get everything in order. Even if it is just paying £1 a month as a token gesture, it shows a willingness to pay.

    Are you in Scotland or England?
    There are different options depending on where you are based.

    Have you had bank charges that you can claim back?
    Have you contacted CAB to see if you are claiming all you are entitled to?

    Keep posting and hopefully we'll get this sorted so that you aren't constantly afraid of what is going to happen.
    If you are unable to make payments to the bailiffs right now, you may be able to get a redetermination and reduce the amount of any CCJ.
    After falling off the gambling wagon (twice): £33,600 (24,000+ 9,600) - Original CC Debt: £7,885.91

    Dad Gift 6k ¦ Savings & Inv Tst: £2,500
    Loan 10k: £0 ¦ Dad 5.5k: £2,270 ¦ LTSB: £0 ¦ RBS: £0 ¦ Virgin £0 ¦ Egg £0

    Total Owed: £2,270 (+6k) 11/08/2011
  • SystemSystem
    177.7K posts
    10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Hi Kez, great post but Bains and Ernst is the not the way to go because it charges a fee. First port of call has to be CCCS, Payplan or Nationaldebtline. Len
  • Hi Topsy. Welcome to the boards and well done for posting here. There are some wonderful people here with different and equally useful areas of knowledge, only too happy to help out. All I can do is add my voice to the crowd wishing you well and getting right behind you in sorting out your situation. Keep posting and try to keep your chin up, I know that sounds easy to say but I'm sure your children wouldn't want to see you so sad and you really don't deserve to be. Lots and lots of luck.

    Ruby x
    Sealed Pot Challenge 2009 # 650 (target £150)
    Long Haul Supporters # 158 debt free 2014
    Member of the Blondettes :beer:
    Debt Free Date: doesn't bear thinking about!
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