Mrs E asked:
I have a catalogue debt of about £2000 from 2014. I was paying through a debt management company until March 2016 when I stopped. They are going to court for a CCJ. I don’t know how to fill in the form with my expenses or which debts I should include.
Mrs E’s questions are about completing the N9A Admission form that was included with the Claim Form she has received.
This is the form to use if you agree you owe some or all of the amount claimed but you can’t pay it all and want to make monthly payments.
It lets you propose an amount to pay each month towards the CCJ and it asks for details of your circumstances, including income, expenditure and other debts which will explain why you are offering that amount.
This isn’t an easy form to complete – this article looks at the common questions people ask about this form.
When NOT to complete this form
Don’t complete this form if you are defending the claim, see What to do if you get a Claim form for more details. If you lose the case you will still be able to get monthly payments agreed at that point
If you can pay the whole amount straight away and manage without having to borrow more money, that is usually better than offering monthly payments. If you repay a CCJ in full within one month it gets deleted from your credit records. But monthly payments will mean the CCJ will stay on your credit record for 6 years. So if you can afford the whole amount it’s better to pay it and protect your credit score.
This is the wrong form if you already have a CCJ and want to get your monthly payment reduces – see what to do when you get a CCJ.
FAQs about completing the N9A form
Looking at this example of a completed form may be helpful.
The first page of the form is easy. It asks for the number and ages of your children and whether you have other dependents. This helps to assess whether the amount you are putting down on expenses is reasonable for your family size.
Does all the money in my bank account count as savings?
If you expect to spend all the money in your account by the time you next get paid, that isn’t savings.
Unless your savings are more than one and a half times your monthly income, the Court Official ignores them in deciding how much you should pay towards the CCJ.
If you have a joint account, only put down your half of the savings.
I have mental health or physical problems, is my disability money income I have to include?
Yes. The income section has a line “other benefits” and you put ESA/DLA/PIP/AA in there.
This makes 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.
Must I list my tax credits and child benefit 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. 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 include my partner’s income?
No – your partner is not liable for paying your debts (NB 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 couples adopt the “I’ll pay the rent and you pay the council tax and other bills” approach, but on this form 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 all other household consumables, from loo rolls to light bulbs, go into Housekeeping costs.
You can also add extra lines in the Other section for example:
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 and evidence 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.
I’m worried some of my expenses are too high
Perhaps they are… but many people worry about this when their expenses are completely reasonable… You aren’t expected to live on baked beans on toast and never buy your children any clothes.
If you talk you expenses through with a debt adviser (see Getting Some Help at the bottom of this article) they will be able to say if what you are putting down is likely to be acceptable. And they may also remind you of something that you have forgotten to include.
How much should I offer? And what about my other debts?
If you have arrangements in place to repay priority debts such as rent arrears and council tax, put these amounts in. If you have priority debts but haven’t yet agreed repayments you need to do this as soon as possible as it will reduce the money you can pay to this CCJ.
If you have too many debts for the space in the Credit Debts section you can enclose a separate sheet.
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 the amount of income you have left each month after paying your essential expenses (rent, council tax, utilities, food, transport, clothes etc) and priority debts. This Disposable Income is then the amount of money you have to divide between all your other debts.
It should be divided between your other loans, credit cards and catalogues and this debt you are getting a CCJ for so that the biggest debts get the largest amount. This is called “pro-rata” and creditors accept that it is fair.
Have a go at completing National Debtline’s My Budget:
- this is good at sorting out a monthly budget when some of your income or expenses are weekly, fortnightly, quarterly or annual;
- it does all the pro-rata calculations for you and suggests how much you should be paying to each debt.
If you are still making full payments to some other debts, the My Budget app will say what these have to be reduced to. You might want to carry on paying another loan or catalogue in full and just offer a low amount to the CCJ debt. But the CCJ creditor and the court will not think it is fair.
If this seems confusing or impossible, talk to National Debtline about your options, see below.
What do I do if I can’t afford to pay anything?
You should always make some offer, even if it is just £5 a month. If you think this is impossible you must get debt advice about what to do.
If you ignore the court forms because you can’t offer any money, you will still get a CCJ and they will expect you to pay it all immediately.
I have some other debts I haven’t been paying anything to, should I include these?
It is best to list them all and also start making payments to the other debts.
These may not feel like urgent problems at the moment, but what happens if they contact you and threaten a CCJ? If you offer all your spare money to this CCJ, what will you do when the next Claim Form arrives?
Getting some help
Many people find this form tricky. If you are in a DMP, talk to your DMP company – they already know a lot about your budget and can advise.
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 not just to this CCJ but to your other debts.
They can also advise on if your situation is more complicated, for example:
- you have priority debts that need to be sorted first;
- you know your income is going to change – perhaps because you have applied for benefits but they haven’t yet started to be paid;
- you have other problem debts that creditors are pushing you to repay;
- the income & expenditure section shows you have no spare income at all.