THis week saw the launch of a new scheme of Free Aid and Advice for people with Mortgage Arrears
The purpose of this State funded Scheme is to help people in serious arrears to find the best available solutions, with the help of professionals with knowledge of mortgages, insolvency, bankruptcy and repossession.
The priority is to try and find a solution that keeps a person in their
home, where possible.
MABS (Money Advice and Budgeting Service ) will act as a single Government gateway to the new Scheme, MABs advisers will help these borrowers, and advise them on their best options for returning to solvency and where possible for remaining in their homes. The MABS adviser will refer them, as needed, for financial advice to a Personal Insolvency Practitioner from a panel supervised by the Insolvency Service or an accountant from a panel overseen by the Department of Social Protection, and for legal aid and advice to a solicitor from a panel operated by the Legal Aid Board.
The Scheme will also provide for support in Court for an insolvent borrower subject to repossession proceedings affecting their home, under a new ‘duty solicitor’ service, also operated by the Legal Aid Board.
Free aid and advice will be provided by the panel professional under a ‘voucher’ system, and without charge to the borrower. Borrowers will
be provided with free financial advice and assistance, either by a
MABS adviser or by a panel PIP or panel accountant. Where a legal issue is identified, or where the borrower is facing repossession proceedings, MABS will also be able to refer the borrower to a panel solicitor for free
legal advice and assistance.
If you want to apply for help under this Scheme , you must first be assessed as eligible. This can be done by contacting a MABS office or the MABS helpline on (0761 072000). They will carry out an eligibility assessment and refer you to the appropriate service.
You can also apply through a Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP) . A list of PIPs who participate in the Scheme is available here.
Watch out for the call costs on those 076 numbers. MABS and several state bodies use them – but they can end up costing a lot more than calling a normal landline number for some people – more on that here.
This State funded Scheme is being coordinated by the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of Social Protection, in co-operation with the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (“MABS”), the ISI (Insolvency Service of Ireland) , the Legal Aid Board, and the Citizens Information Board