Debt – what to do when you can’t pay?
- Your salary is being seized?
- You can’t afford to pay your instalments anymore?
- You get letters from debt collection agencies?
- The bailiff has visited your home?
The Schuldnerberatung Wien supports you and helps you to manage your debt problems – totally confidential and free of charge.
We are experienced debt counsellors and, together with you, we will find a solution which fits your individual situation. For example, you can file for personal bankruptcy. We will discuss everything with you and help you find your way into a debt-free life.
Frequently asked questions
The Schuldnerberatung Wien is an officially recognised institution. It receives public funding and has to comply with specific rules. All services to help you manage your debt are free of charge – also after your initial appointment.
- Try to pay your living expenses
Some debts are more important than others as they might cause you serious trouble. For example, you can lose your home when you don’t pay your rent. When you don’t pay fines or maintenance payments, you can be put in jail.
That’s why you should first pay your rent, electricity/gas and heating bills and – if necessary – maintenance payments and police and administrative fines. If you cannot pay them at once, arrange payment by instalments.
- Get an overview of your situation
Get an overview of your expenses, for example by preparing a household budget: make a list of your income and your expenses. Then you can have a look and see if you can save anything.
- Raise your income
Find out if you can raise your income. For example, by applying for another benefit or allowance. When you are unemployed, try to find a job.
- Compare your income with your expenses
Compare your income (unemployment benefit, wages, etc.) with your expenses (rent, food, child maintenance, if applicable, etc.). Calculate how much money you have left every month to pay off your debt.
Personal bankruptcy is a legal procedure to resolve debt. There are 2 different options: settlement based on a payment plan and settlement based on a recovery plan.
When you opt for a payment plan, you and your creditors agree on a fixed amount which you can repay within the next 3 to 7 years. The amount depends on your income and you repay it in instalments. Nothing will be deducted from your wages or salary to pay the debt. If you comply with all regulations of the payment plan, you will be discharged of your debt after a maximum period of 7 years.
If your creditors do not accept the payment plan, the settlement of your debt will be based on a recovery plan. A recovery plan lasts 3 years and involves the seizure of part of your money. This means that a portion of your wages or salary will be deducted. If you comply with all of your obligations, you will be discharged of your debt after 3 years.
If you have debts, it is basically voluntary whether you contact the Schuldnerberatung Wien or not. However, you have to register with the Schuldnerberatung, if you have been sent to us by court order or if you are clearly insolvent.
When your assets are seized, your personal property or money is taken from you to repay your debt. You are allowed to keep a certain amount of money to cover your living expenses – this is called the minimum subsistence amount. The size of this amount depends on your income and on whether you have to pay child maintenance. You can use our seizable income calculator to calculate the level of your minimum subsistence amount.