Being in debt can have a devastatingly negative effect on someone's life and Family. Someone in Debt may feel isolated, inadequate, frightened, unable to afford to interact socially and therefore feel excluded from society. Financial difficulties are often put forward as a barrier to employment too.

Debt Support

Having a financially independent society is a key aim of Universal Credit and we can help to achieve this by identifying claimants that are in need of this help now and referring them for the appropriate help and support.

There are numerous organisations out there offering a wide range of services to help and support people in managing their finances, managing on a budget and becoming debt free. Many organisations offer on line services, via self help tools, and others offer a face to face service as well.

Here are some of the national organisations - check out Ask LiON for more localised services

Credit Unions

Credit Unions are non-profit making financial institutions who offer advice, safe savings accounts and low cost loans. They are co-operatives that are owned and managed by members. Credit Unions can help claimants and those on low incomes to address the financial issues they are experiencing. Many claimants have had bad experiences managing traditional current accounts, which have resulted in bank charges and expensive overdrafts. Credit Unions provide a local, community based alternative to banks that claimants may feel more comfortable opening an account with. Claimants can have their benefit paid into a Credit Union account by Direct Payment.

Credit Unions can help people with a poor credit rating to get affordable loans. Loan rates are fixed in legislation at no more than 2% per month. Available low cost credit is an important means of preventing benefit claimants from getting into the unmanageable spiral of debt that often occurs as a result of taking out high interest loans from high cost credit lenders and illegal lenders or loan sharks.

For more information visit www.findyourcreditunion.co.uk