Starting Your Debt Management Program
Congratulations on taking action to become debt free! We are your partner in this important decision, and we want to help you succeed. Please complete the following three steps to start your journey to becoming debt free.
Download and complete the following fillable PDF.
Upload creditor statements to CCOA.
Providing us with your most recent creditor statements helps us communicate with creditors and ensures your Debt Management Plan starts quickly.
Use the submission form below to submit your documents.
Review information about the DMP and follow these tips for DMP success.
Becoming debt free is not necessarily easy. It usually takes some time to build up debt and it will take some time to eliminate it. But it can be done and the goal is worthwhile. We’ll be your partner in this. We ask that you review the DMP Information Sheet and follow these tips in order for your debt free goals to become a reality.
- Set up your CCOA client portal account to access payment records, account balance estimates and more. Follow these simple steps to get started tracking your progress.
- Go to www.ccoacares.com
- Click “Client Login” in the top right
- Enter your email address in the Username/Email line
- Click “Create New Account” to receive a password
- Check your email for a message from CCOA containing a password to use at login
- Use your email address and the password in the message to login to your account.
- Review any counselor recommendations. Review any counselor recommendations on the Plan of Action which is attached to your budget. Contact your creditors to cancel any ongoing charges, such as: credit insurance, life insurance, and Internet service paid through a credit card. Remember, your counselor may have told you of the need to contact your creditors to request a change in your due date. Review your Plan of Action notes for these instructions or contact your counselor for clarification.
- Keep an eye on your statements. Keep an eye on your statements to track account progress. Check to make sure accounts are coded for “CCCS” benefits. Also, be looking for letters of Debt Management Plan acceptance from your creditors, as well as lowered interest rates, elimination of past due and over-limit fees and re-aging of accounts which eliminates a past due amount. Several changes occur only after the creditor has coded your account for DMP benefits, such as interest rate reductions, elimination of future late and over-limit fees, elimination of past due amount and reporting your payments as current to the credit reporting agencies.
- MOST IMPORTANTLY, remember that there can be a transition period of up to three months. You might still receive collection calls and letters during this time. This is perfectly normal. It takes some creditors longer than others to set up your account with DMP benefits. It may appear that not much is happening, but don’t worry, behind the scenes everything is being started up as planned.
- Once you’ve made your 6th payment through the DMP, send in copies of your most recent statements so that we can check them for proper set-up. Send in any creditor DMP acceptance letters. Please try to respond quickly if we request creditor statements at any other time.
- Continue to review your creditor statements throughout the DMP. Remember, creditors don’t send your statements to us, so we usually don’t know if there are any account problems unless you bring them to our attention. Be on the lookout for late fees and over-limit fees. Also, be sure that interest rates are reduced by those creditors who pledge interest rate reductions while you’re still on the DMP.
- Make consistent and on-time payments. Make your payments consistently and on-time because there are consequences for missing payments or making late payments. Some creditors will drop you from the DMP, others will raise your interest rate or expect you to make up missed payments.
- Paying early can also cause trouble. It could result in two of your payments going out in a single billing cycle, and no payments posting in the next billing cycle. So avoid paying any more than a few days early. Automatic bank draft is offered to eliminate these problems.
- Avoid paying creditors directly. Avoid paying the creditors directly, after you have made your first payment through the DMP. There are rare exceptions to this, but talk to us first.
- Notify us of any changes to your account. For example, notify us if you are informed of the transfer of an account from the original creditor to a collection agency, or from one collection agency to another. Creditors will notify you of these changes, but they will not notify us. Without your notification, payments can get sent to the wrong address, preventing or delaying the posting of the payment to your account.
- Notify us of address, phone and authorization changes. Also, be sure to tell us if you want to change the authorization access to your account information, such as approving or denying account access by your spouse or child.
- Allow our Client Support Representatives (CSRs) to help you. Once you are set up on the DMP, most of your questions can be addressed by our professional staff of CSRs. Allow them to help you. Please do not insist on speaking to your counselor if a CSR can help you in a more timely manner.
- Do not open new lines of credit after you have begun the DMP. Some creditors have been known to pull credit reports for DMP clients and drop benefits if new accounts have been opened. This doesn’t mean that you can’t see the doctor, and this doesn’t mean you can’t buy a vehicle to replace the old one that dies. You do, however, need to keep your purchases modest.
- Pay more than the minimum payment whenever possible in order to eliminate your debt more quickly. Tell us which creditor you want us to direct any extra money to. If you have specific goals for when you want to become debt free, talk to your counselor, who can develop a targeted payout forecast for you.
- Pay off creditors through CCOA. Once you get in a position to pay off your creditors, call us so we can help you with the final payment arrangements. We can contact creditors for you to get final pay off balances. In the future, if your credit report isn’t cleared, we can back up your claims that the accounts were paid in full. However, should you pay off your creditors directly instead of through CCOA, we will not be able to verify that your accounts were paid off.