Debt Solutions DSA Insolvency

Points to consider in a DSA

Points to consider in a DSA

A Debt Settlement Arrangement (DSA) is a formal debt solution, created by The Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI). It was introduced by the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 and is designed to help you address problems with unsecured debts, such as credit cards, loans, overdrafts, shortfall debts etc…

A DSA is similar to the IVA in the UK, but is only available to residents of Ireland who are Insolvent (unable to pay their debts). The main aim of the DSA is to help you address your debts by allowing you to repay what you can afford each month (or by a lump sum), then writing off any remaining debt on successful completion of the arrangement, which usually lasts for 60 months.

If you are struggling with debts and considering a DSA, you will require the services of a Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP) to assess your eligibility and to facilitate your DSA proposal. It is then up to your creditors and the courts to decide if they accept your DSA and to agree on the various stages involved in getting your DSA approved. We have outlined some of the key points to consider when exploring the option of a DSA below.

DSA Eligibility

In order to do a DSA you must:

  • be insolvent which means you are unable to pay your debts.
  • be unlikely to become solvent in the next 5 years.
  • have one or more unsecured debts, such as credit cards, loans, overdrafts utility bill arrears etc…
  • have no more than 25% of your debts obtained in the last 6 months.
  • be a resident of Ireland.
  • have some money left over each month to pay towards your debts, after all living expenses have been considered (or access to a lump sum).
  • not have completed a DSA before as you can only do one in your lifetime.
  • not have had a Protective Certificate for a DSA in the past year.
  • not have completed a Personal Insolvency arrangement (PIA) in the past 5 years.
  • not have completed a Debt Relief Notice in the past 3 years.
  • not have gone bankrupt within the last 5 years.


In order to apply for a DSA, you will need to speak with an appropriate debt advisor or a professional called a Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP) who will be able to determine if you are Insolvent and assess your eligibility for a DSA. If you choose to enter into a DSA, you will need the assistance of a PIP; the regulated and authorised professional who can facilitate an Insolvency Solution. Your PIP will explain how the process of application works and run through the necessary steps in drafting your DSA proposal for your creditors. Your creditors will need to vote in favour of the DSA proposal in order for it to be approved. If your DSA is accepted, your PIP will facilitate the DSA.

Possible Risk Factors during a DSA

Your PIP will oversee your DSA for it’s lifetime from start through to completion. This is usually for a period of about 5 or 6 years. With a DSA lasting for a number of years, there are always possible risk factors that could affect your regular payments. Your PIP will want make sure your arrangement remains affordable and sustainable, so will review your arrangement regularly (at least annually) to make sure everything is ok. If any problems do arise, it is essential that you discuss them with your PIP right away. Some examples of issues that could affect your monthly DSA payments are:

  • A reduction in income.
  • An increase in household expenses.
  • Job loss or Business challenges.
  • Health issues.
  • Relationship breakdown.
  • Family bereavement.

Variation of a DSA

If any of these issues arise during a DSA, your PIP will work had to seek a variation and renegotiate your arrangement with creditors if it’s possible. Your creditors will need to then vote on the variation. Your Variation could include such measures as

  • having a temporary payment holiday.
  • extending the term of the DSA.
  • accepting a lower repayment than originally agreed.
  • accepting a lump sum settlement.

Ensuring successful completion of a DSA

Some pointers on maintaining your DSA include:

  • Making payments on time and in full.
  • Complying with the terms of the DSA and any requests the PIP might have.
  • Co-operating with your PIP and participating in your annual reviews.
  • Being upfront and honest about your situation, assets, income and expenses at the beginning of your initial consultation.
  • Notifying your PIP of any changes in your circumstances that might affect your DSA or DSA payments.

If you are experiencing financial difficulty and would like more information on about a DSA, please get in touch. We off a free, confidential, no obligation advice service, to help you find out your options.

Get advice

Confidential, no-obligation advice on your unaffordable mortgage, arrears or debts.

By submitting this form I consent to the processing of my data & agree with the National Debt Relief Privacy Notice
To top