Mrs E asked: I have a catalogue debt of £5908, it’s from 2010. I was paying through a debt management company until March 2011. They have sent me a CCJ claim. I have filled it out ready to send back. But I have some questions.
Mrs E’s questions were all about completing the N9A Admission form, which is used when you are admitting that you owe some or all of the amount claimed but you would like time to pay this money. It lets you make an offer of monthly payments towards the CCJ and it asks for details of your circumstances, including income, expenditure and other debts which will explain why you are making the offer.
Don’t complete this form if:
- you are defending the claim, see What to do if you get a Claim form for more details; or
- you can pay the whole amount straight away – this has the big advantage that if you pay a CCJ withing 30 days it will be deleted from your credit record, if it takes longer to repay the CCJ it will stay on your credit record for 6 years.
This isn’t an easy form to complete – this article looks at the common questions people ask about this form – Mrs E didn’t ask all of them! You may find it helpful to look at completed forms: first example and second example.
The first page of the form is straightforward. It asks for the number and ages of your children and whether you have other dependents as this helps to assess whether the amount you are putting down on expenses is reasonable for your family size.
If you have a joint account, only put down your half of the savings. Unless your savings are more than one and a half times your income, the Court Official ignores them in deciding how much you should pay towards the CCJ.
Income and Expenses
I suffer with mental health disability and physical disability, do I have to declare my disability money as income?
The income section has a line “other benefits” and you put ESA / DLA / PIP in there.
This will make your income look high! But you also need to include the extra costs you get because of your disabilities – one approach is to put a line called “Disability costs” in the Expenses section under “Other Expenses” which is equal to any PIP or DLA that you receive.
Also will they take my children’s tax credits and child benefit into consideration as that money is for my children?
There is an income line , labelled “Child benefit(s)”, you should put any Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit in there.
In the “Expenses” section you will include all your child-related costs: food, clothes, school costs etc. So by doing this you are showing you are using the money and it isn’t available to be paid to your creditors.
Do I have to put my partner’s income down?
No – your partner is not liable for paying your debts (I am assuming this isn’t a joint debt.)
But if your partner has an income, they should be contributing to the household costs:
- if you pay the bills and do the shopping and your partner gives you £600 a month towards it, then that can go in the “Others living in my house give me” line – which is also where you would put any money your adult children are paying or money from a lodger;
- if you split the bills, then you should only put the part you are paying in the Expenses section. Many couple adopt the “I’ll pay the rent and you pay the council tax and other bills” approach, but here it’s probably better for you to put down half of all the expenses, rather than 100% of some and nothing of the others.
What about things which aren’t listed as expenses?
Anything to do with car costs (road tax, insurance, servicing, new tyres etc) goes under Travelling costs.
Toiletries and any other household consumables from loo rolls to light bulbs go into Housekeeping costs.
Most people will need to add extra lines in the Other section. Common lines are: clothes; other bills (including insurance, telephone, mobile and broadband); emergencies; birthdays/xmas; child care costs; disability costs. You can add a covering letter to explain any of these or go into more details.
Will they check up on these figures?
This is information you are supplying to the Court – you should make it as accurate as possible. You don’t have to supply payslips etc with this form, but if a creditor thinks you are concealing something you may have to attend a court hearing after the CCJ has been granted, bringing in documents and answer questions under oath about your finances. This is unusual but can happen.
Listing your debts
If you have arrangements in place to repay priority debts such as rent arrears and council tax, put these amounts in. If you haven’t, then I suggest you should take some urgent advice about what to put down here, see Getting Some Help at the bottom of this article
If you have more debts than can fit in the Credit Debts section you can enclose a separate sheet.
The company applying for the CCJ has bought some of my other debts so once this is arranged is it likely they will do the same with the rest of the debt?
It is likely they will want you to start making payments on these other debts and if you ignore letters about them they may go for CCJs… These may not feel like urgent problems at the moment – and you may be hoping they won’t contact you – but you need to think about these now. If you offer all your spare money to this CCJ, what will you do when the next Claim Form arrives?
How much should I offer?
If you are in a debt management plan (DMP), it is normal to offer the same amount to the CCJ that is currently being paid to that debt in the DMP.
If you aren’t in a DMP, look at the amount of “disposable income” you have – this is your total income less your expenses, less payments to priority debts. This then needs to be divided between your Credit Debts and the CCJ “pro rata”, so the biggest debts get the largest amount. If this seems confusing or impossible, talk to National Debtline about your options, see below.
You should always make some offer, even if it is just £1 a month.
Getting some help
Many people find this form tricky. If you are in a DMP, talk to your DMP company. If you aren’t, call National Debtline – they can help you work out your Income & Expenditure so you know what to put in which lines on the form. They can also help look at your whole debt situation and what a sensible monthly offer would be.
You should also call National Debtline for help if the court orders you to pay the full amount of the CCJ immediately (perhaps you didn’t send in the N9A form in time?) or sets a monthly payment that you can’t afford.