The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) welcomes today’s commencement of the Personal Insolvency (Amendment) Act 2020 by Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys TD.
The Act makes several urgent changes to the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 and will provide positive support to people struggling to pay their debts. They will have greater access to personal insolvency solutions, which is especially important in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes are not limited to the duration of the pandemic, as they are considered valuable beyond that period.
The Citizens Information Board (CIB) and MABS have been working with the Department of Justice to bring about these much-needed changes.
Speaking on behalf of MABS, Michelle O’Hara, South Leinster, Regional Manager, said: “This is a very welcome development. It further enhances our [MABS] ability to help people who may be in debt through no fault of their own, to take back control and return to making a positive contribution to their communities and society in general. This is even more important to the many people who have experienced the negative financial effects of the COVID-19 public health restrictions.”
In 2020, 134 people returned to solvency through a Debt Relief Notice (DRN), and in Q1 2021, 36 people have resolved their debt through a DRN.
Michelle continues, “So many people feel isolated by their debt and think there is no option for them – I’m here to tell them that there are options. I’d encourage anyone with concerns to get in touch with MABS to discuss how these changes to the legislation may be able to help. The service is free, non-judgmental and independent.”
Starting today, you can have assets (including savings) of up to €1,500 and be eligible to have your debts of up to €35,000 written off through a DRN if you are struggling to pay them.
There is also good news for people who are in mortgage arrears on their homes. The Act makes much-needed changes to the insolvency solutions provided through a Personal Insolvency Arrangement (PIA).
The Personal Insolvency Court Review or S115a Review, an essential protection introduced in the Personal Insolvency (Amendment) Act 2015, is now available to borrowers no matter when they first fell into arrears. Before this change, a person needed to be in arrears on or before 1 January 2015.
Other practical process changes commenced today are:
- To confirm in law the ability to conduct the mandatory advisory meeting by remote communications technology (RCT). This practice was introduced as an administrative change by the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) early in 2020 in response to the pandemic.
- To extend the S115a review application window from 14 days to 25 days.
- To allow a new power to the court to extend an insolvent borrower’s ‘protective certificate (PC)’ for up to 40 days in exceptional circumstances.
- To allow a Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP) to delegate their functions under the Act to another person employed by or working with the PIP in the same firm.
Michelle added: “These practical changes will mean that people who are in mortgage arrears on their home will have even greater access to the supports available. Engagement is key, and the earlier someone engages with the supports available, the more likely they are to reach a positive outcome.”
Abhaile, the State-funded mortgage arrears resolution service is available, for free, to support people in mortgage arrears. The Abhaile service supports are available to access through MABS or by contacting an Abhaile PIP directly.
We are in the process of updating our information on Debt Relief Notices (DRNs) and Personal Insolvency Arrangements (PIAs).
If you’d like to get more information or speak with an adviser, call the MABS National Helpline on 0818 07 2000, Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp 086 035 3141 Follow @MABSinfo on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram for further updates.
Funded and supported by the Citizens Information Board.