Debt Questions forum. General questions on debt issues.

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#6680 Hi, Im really worrying about this and im just looking for some advice on what to expect. This is going to be quite long, hope i dont bore anyone!
In 2002 I lost my full time job due to illness. Prior to that I had a loan and credit card, owing about £5000. Since then ive had a baby and now im at home looking after the children and my hubby has been looking for work now for 18 months and claiming JSA. I have done a little cash in hand work to bring in extra money. However, I kept using my credit card and my overdraft, needed to get the car fixed, refinanced loans to pay for things and the debt has just spiralled. I now owe around £35k. I feel really ashamed that this has happened, but it has and I need to get it sorted as it had got to the stage that I was paying repayments with all of our jsa and having to use the credit card to buy food and things, making the debts even worse. I have had some advice from the national debtline and am in the process of offering token payments. I think my best option is to go bankrupt when I have cleared the rent arrears. The thing is, I have borrowed about £30k while not officially working. When applying for loans and cards I added ALL our income from benefits, housing and council tax benefit, tax credits and the money I was earning cash in hand up together and said that was our household income. I said I was working part time. Nobody asked for any employment or income proof. I think Id better explain that the reason I applied for loans and cards was that I was trying to reduce payments by paying off cards with loans, if you know what I mean, but then kept spending on the paid off cards when all the repayments had used up all our money. Anyway, im now really worried about all of this. I know im going to have to explain all of this to someone at some point of dealing with this debt, but up until now I have managed to somehow fleece around the edges to everyone, but it will have to come out at some point that I lied and got lots of debt while unemployed, and that I was working cash in hand too. I know Im going to get taken to court by my creditors, or need to go to court for a bankrupcy in the near future. Will I need to explain about lying, will I need to explain how all this happened? And what sort of reaction should I expect? Will I be charged with fraud?

Sorry if ive bored you all, but I really need some advice, maybe then I might get a decent nights sleep.
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#6681 You haven't bored anyone and if you have looked at this site for some time you will see that you are not the first in this situation or the last. A lot of people say and do things that are not strictly true. What you have to remember is that you had no intention of not paying the debt - that is very important. There was no intention to defraud anyone - your husband is on JSA - so are a lot of people and a lot of people then find another job and have used credit to top up in the interim. One might say that was foolish but then think of how little benefits cover in real terms for a long period of time.

So the first fear - that you could go to prison for fraud is totally over the top. People do not go to prison for not repaying debt - the worst thing that could happen if you went bankrupt would be getting a Bankruptcy Restriction Order which COULD (not will) extend the restrictions of bankruptcy from 2 to 15 years. This is VERY UNLIKELY to happen to you.

Secondly - working cash in hand - well only you know how much you earned and whether it was for any length of time and whether it would have affected your husband's JSA or whether you should have paid tax. Just remember you could have earned over £4500 before paying any. Stop it now I would say as it would be foolhardy to continue with such a thing - especially talking about such things on an open forum.

Go to bed, go to sleep and tomorrow, sit down and work out a family budget on what is coming in now. Then give National Debtline another ring or Payplan or CCCS and go through it with them - tell them all you have told us (remember all three work in the strictest confidence) and take their advice. People come to them all the time and say they will do so and then sit on it for another few months hoping like Mr Micawber that something will turn up. It may but it is your debt and you are not working as you have a baby so unless you win the lottery - and as you cannot afford to do it that it is unlikely - then take the advice now. Stop the rot and start again :wink:
#6694 thank you Sarah for taking the time to reply. I have stopped the cash in hand work.... have not been doing it for about 9 months now. Im feeling a bit better now as you have managed to soothe the big fears i had (mainly about fraud)
i am working to deal with this, and i know ive got no chance of a lottery win to sort it out (especially as i dont buy tickets .... cant afford to anyway :D )

thanks again
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#6696 No probs - that's what we are here for.
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