Whew what a roller coaster the last 12 months have been!
Global pandemic, quarantine, self-isolation, lay-offs, retrenchments, stand-downs, ‘unprecedented times’, home schooling, multi-industry and economic downturns, jobkeeper, Mark McGowan, hand sanitiser, social distancing, rise in mental health issues, masks, masks and more masks … and that is all without even touching on the UK, Europe, USA or even ex-President Trump! Not to get too cliché-y but … is this our new normal?
2020 …. via GIPHY
And let’s be honest, we have no idea when this rollercoaster is actually going to end, right? This ‘ride’ just keeps going. There are certainly a multitude of challenges that we are all facing and no one has it ‘better’ or ‘worse’ when we understand that we are all connected as a society.
One item which I am relived to note has gained a lot more public awareness is the term “financial hardship” ….. not because I wish hardship on anyone, but because these world events inevitably have a financial impact and many, many, people were previously simply unaware that your lender has a legal obligation to have processes in place designed to temporarily assist their customers who find themselves in financial hardship.
Yes, that’s right. A legal obligation.
Now, just to be clear, this does not mean that they must do what YOU want or that you can simply stop paying your bills … more so that there are avenues and options available to those who find themselves unable to meet their normal repayments, subject to each lender’s specific hardship criteria.
These hardship relief options have always been there, they just were not as well-publicised. Now, because of the sheer volume of customers experiencing financial hardship, the banks and lenders have actually had to ramp up, expand and streamline their criteria and processes. Many have ‘lowered the bar’ in terms of what qualifies as hardship or they have extended the timeframes involved for borrowers to access the assistance.
So, don’t mask your debt problem = Communication is key. Your lender is not able to ‘guess’ that you are in financial hardship – you must tell them. Any instances of non payment are taken to be deliberate not a case of ‘unable to’. Contact your lender, bank, creditor, even your utility providers for electricity, gas, telco and even local council for your rates will have hardship schemes – just ask!
No, hardship is not a magic wand solution – there will be a time frame involved and yes there will have to be arrangements at the end to either catch up your arrears or, if available amortise them (add to the end of the loan) however, hardship can be the temporary relief you need to get back on your feet. Financial counselling is also a fantastic and, most importantly *free* service, click th elink or call on 1800 007 007.
If you, or someone you know is struggling with unmanageable debt – or maybe your hardship period has ended – call our friendly team at LIFE AFTER DEBT to discuss an option to avoid bankruptcy and collections harassment on 1300 237 669 or fill in a contact form for us to call you.
Remember, there is life after debt and we want to help you get there.