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Case Study – A MABS Success Story

When a Leeds Credit Union member contacted our MABS (Money and Budgeting Service) team in need of support, we were only too happy to help.

The first step was to arrange a telephone appointment with the member, a housing association tenant in full time employment who also receives Child Benefit and was struggling to manage their finances, with rent arrears, council tax and water and energy bills all causing them concern.

In order to ascertain the member’s financial situation, we carried out an income and expenditure assessment to get a better picture of how their money was being spent each month. Once we had all the relevant information, we offered to get in touch with their water and energy suppliers, housing association and the local council to discuss the outstanding payments and the ways in which we could help them start reducing their arrears.

Next, we contacted the Council Tax department at the local council and were informed that the tenant had a balance of £582.30 outstanding for 2021/22 and a further £833.15 for 2022/23. We negotiated with an adviser and agreed to payments of £20 a month towards the outstanding arrears balance, plus a monthly payment of £123.00 towards this year’s bill.

Then, with rent arrears of £631 outstanding, we calculated how much rent they could afford to pay and reached an agreement with their housing association on a monthly payment of £40 to reduce their debt in addition to their weekly rent charge. We also agreed to review this figure again if they felt they were struggling to afford it at any point in the future or if their circumstances changed.

We then liaised with Yorkshire Water and agreed to complete an application form for the Community Trust Fund to try and get some of the member’s arrears cancelled. It was also agreed that the tenant could go on the company’s Resolve scheme, a debt support scheme designed to help customers who are struggling to catch up on previous water bills. This meant that when the member made the agreed payments over the next 12 months, Yorkshire Water would credit their account every quarter to reduce the outstanding amount.

Finally, we contacted energy company SSE to ascertain the tenant’s outstanding balance, enable them to provide SSE with up-to-date meter readings and work out how much the tenant needed to start paying every month. A monthly figure of £185 was agreed for the next three months, at which time it would be reviewed again.

The results

After updating the income and expenditure assessment with the new figures, the MABS team advised the tenant that opening one of our Bill Paying Accounts would be an effective way of keeping track of their finances and allowing them to always know how much they had available to spend. It would also enable us to make direct payments for their rent, energy, water and council tax bills. The member agreed to this and said it would help them keep on top of their finances.

By agreeing fixed monthly repayment amounts with their debtors, we have ensured our member’s bills will always be paid on time going forward, while they will also be able to reduce their arrears and still retain access to any surplus money that remains once all their agreed outgoings have been met.

If you need help dealing with debt, our Money and Budgeting Service (MABS) could help get you back on your feet in no time. For more information, click here.

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