Hardship register to help those in debt

If you’re one of the many Australians who has trouble repaying your debts, then you’ll be glad to know that you may qualify to be listed on a new national register that will get the debt collectors off your case.

Debt collectors and financial advisors have created the National Hardship Register to help those who cannot repay their debts.

Debt collectors will no longer call on people listed on the register, and these same people may even have their debts waived after three years of being listed.

Consumers with grim financial circumstances who cannot pay off their debts can be included on the register after a face-to-face meeting with, and assessment by, a financial advisor.

Only unsecured debts – phone and utilities bills, and credit card debts – may be waived after being listed on the register for three years. Secured debts, such as mortgages and car loans, will not be renounced. 

Once a consumer is listed on the register, debt collectors will stop chasing outstanding payments.

The register, although available to anyone struggling to repay serious debt, is primarily a boon for people on low incomes, pensions, disability support and with serious mental health or physical conditions who are having real trouble repaying their debts.

Chief Executive Officer of Financial Counselling Australia, Fiona Guthrie, says the register is a much better alternative for those struggling to pay their debts than entering into voluntary bankruptcy or unrealistic repayment schemes.

Consumers are advised to speak with a financial advisor or visit the National Hardship Register to find out if they qualify.

Related articles:
Do your debts die with you?
Clearing debt on a limited income
Dealing with debt collectors

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Publisher of YourLifeChoices – Australia's most-trusted and longest-running retirement website. A trusted voice on Australia's retirement landscape, including retirement income and planning, government entitlements, lifestyle and news and information relevant to Australians over 50. Leon has worked in publishing for more than 25 years and is also a travel writer and editor, graphic designer and photographer.

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