Can You Get Help From The Government For Debt Problems

2014-08-26   minute read

​Whether you’ve been searching on the internet, seen a print ad or heard a radio ad for debt relief or debt consolidation, you may have noticed the words ‘government-approved debt relief programs’. But what does this mean? There are, in fact, government-approved debt relief programs – they just go by more technical names, like bankruptcy and Consumer Proposals.  These government-approved debt relief programs are administered by licensed Trustees in bankruptcy.  If the advertiser doesn’t outright say they are Trustees in bankruptcy, be sure to ask questions to understand who you’re dealing with. You may actually be looking at an unregulated debt management company, who can potentially charge significant fees without guaranteeing to resolve your debt challenges.      Be wary of firms that want to charge you fees upfront. The first consultation with a licensed Trustee is always free. If you don’t requ​ire a bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal, the Trustee should present all of your options and help you choose the right one for you. This isn’t to say bankruptcy and Consumer Proposals are even what you should be considering. The government can still help if you’re finding your income just isn’t enough. There are government programs that may not help with your debt issues directly, but can help if you’re living on a limited income. The federal and provincial government offer various programs to help supplement your income. The most common examples are the GST / HST credit, Child Tax Benefit, Old Age Security or Disability Pension. However, there are other programs which many people don’t know about or don’t apply to because they’re unclear whether they qualify. Usually, the first step with any of these programs is to make sure your income tax returns are filed and up–to-date. The Service Canada website has a long list of financial assistance programs offered by the federal government and your local provincial government site should have similar information.​​

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