Meeting your Debt Adviser

This factsheet will help you prepare for your first appointment with a debt adviser. It will describe the process your adviser will follow in the meeting and detail what documents or information you will need to bring with you. There is a budget planner at the end of this factsheet that you should complete to the best of your ability beforehand along with a template to list your creditors. We have also included a suggested checklist so you know which documents you should bring with you.
Read time: 10 minutes

About the appointment

Appointments with Advice NI Debt Advisers are free for an unlimited time and there are no limits to how many you can have. All of our Debt Advisers are qualified and experienced and all sessions, phone-calls and follow-up sessions are conducted in the strictest confidentiality. An adviser will advocate with third parties on your behalf only with your express permission which can be withdrawn at any time. You can remain entirely anonymous during your appointment with your adviser, however this means they can’t make any arrangements on your behalf and, without your full identity, may not be able to present all debt options available to you. 

Booking the appointment

You should always try to book the appointment for a day and time that suits you so that you don’t feel stressed or anxious leading up to it. This will help you feel more comfortable talking about your financial issues, as it can be difficult to open up about debt .  

When confirming the day and time of your appointment, you should also let the debt adviser know of any special requirements that you may need, to ensure they are accommodated on the day.

When making the appointment you should also tell the adviser if you prefer to be contacted by e-mail or phone in case the adviser needs to reschedule or cancel the appointment with you. The adviser will also ask what time of the day you prefer to be contacted, whether the adviser can leave voicemails on your mobile and if your partner is aware of your debts. This is to ensure that the adviser does not inadvertently reveal to your partner that you are seeking advice on debt issues. 

What to bring to your appointment

In order to ensure the appointment is as beneficial for you as possible, please refer to the list below as to which documentation you should bring with you. Don’t worry if you can’t find or do not have all the information to hand, as you should still attend the appointment to seek advice. 

During the appointment your adviser will ask you for the following:

  • Personal details
    • Your full name
    • Full address
    • Home and mobile phone numbers
    • Email address
    • Date of birth
    • National insurance number (if required)
    • Previous addresses (if applicable)
    • Details of your dependents
    • Details of anyone else living at your home
  • Photographic identification
  • Proof of monthly Income:
    3 months Bank statements
    3 months pay slips
    A copy of your most recent benefit award letters (for each benefit)

  • Universal Credit – please print off the pdf file
    proof of rent from a lodger
    Self-employed – 3 years accounts/HMRC annual return summary

  • Details of monthly home outgoings:
    rental agreement / tenancy agreement or proof of rent costs
    mortgage details including balance owed and proof of repayments
    details of any arrears on mortgage or rent
    details of any other secured loans on the property
    details of your rates costs or a copy of your latest bill
    buildings / contents insurance costs

  • Details of approximate essential monthly household expenditure:
    food and housekeeping costs
    utilities (electricity, heating, telephone, mobile phone(s), broadband, digital / satellite TV)
    clothing
    medical / dental / optical costs

  • Details of approximate monthly transport costs:
    public transport costs
    car fuel costs
    car insurance costs
    car tax costs
    car maintenance / servicing costs
    car finance / hire purchase copy of agreement(s)

  • Breakdown cover costs

  • Details of approximate child related costs:
    childcare costs proof
    CSA / child maintenance payments proof
    any other child expenses (e.g. school meals / nursery costs)

  • Details of approximate other costs:
    life insurance
    private pension
    any other expenses not listed above

  • Details of all creditors
    balance owed to each creditor
    account numbers
    any details of any court, legal or recovery action and letters related to this
    who is named as liable for the debt (you, your partner, joint debt)
    details of any debt owed to family or friends

The aim of the debt advice interview

The debt adviser will analyse all your current circumstances to try and establish what the best options available are to help you manage your debts. To do this they will be:

  • Assessing your income and ensuring it is maximised (you may be referred to a benefits adviser)
  • Assessing your expenditure and identifying any areas where you could potentially make savings or changes to improve your financial situation
  • Identifying any emergencies or priorities that need to be dealt with immediately
  • Offering to (with your agreement) contact all your creditors and make requests such as interest / charges being ceased, ask for breathing space to be given or attempt to negotiate a debt solution by sharing your current budget with the creditors
  • Provide you with specific advice on any aspect of your financial difficulties and offer any assistance at dealing with any complaints or legal action
  • Assisting you with court proceedings
  • Helping to signpost you to other advice options or organisations that may offer specialist advice services that you may require
  • Supporting you with formal or informal options to deal with your debt
  • Helping to complete forms, complaint procedures or applications on your behalf

Money Talks Tools: 

We have gathered a selection of online tools that may help you manage your money. These tools are provided by organisations that work with Advice NI.

Did you find this factsheet useful?

Money Talks can help you manage your money. It is a free and impartial resource for people living in Northern Ireland

Need help?

Get in touch with Advice NI for help with

  • Business Debt

    free help and advice

    To speak to an adviser about Business Debt contact our FREEPHONE helpline:

    0800 083 8018

    Monday to Friday
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  • EUSS

    Free help with the EU Settlement Scheme

    To speak to an adviser about applying to the EU Settlement Scheme contact our Freephone helpline

    0800 138 6545

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  • Money & Debt

    For help accessing FREE money and debt advice call

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  • Tax & Benefits

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    To speak to an adviser about tax and benefits contact our FREEPHONE helpline:

    0800 988 2377

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  • Welfare Changes

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    To speak to an adviser about welfare changes contact our FREEPHONE helpline:

    0808 802 0020

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Debt management

Find out options for dealing with debt including information on Debt Relief Orders, Debt Management Plans, writing off your debts and how to get debt advice.