Financial Hardship Assistance
Your creditors will not know that you are struggling unless you tell them. Non-payment of accounts is usually viewed as deliberate as opposed to an inability to repay. It is important to seek hardship help from your Creditors as soon as possible – the earlier the better.
Hardship, if approved, can provide a temporary period of relief, usually up to 3 months. The method of hardship assistance provided will vary from lender to lender, but may include reduced repayments, interest frozen, a payment holiday or arrears amortisation. The hardship team will assess if, and how, they are able to assist you.
You should note that:
- whilst every lender must have a hardship policy, not all hardship applications are approved;
- if you are approved, you must carefully note the conditions attached, such as duration, payments required, contact required, etc;
- once the hardship period has elapsed you will need to resume normal payments (possibly, as well as arrears), reapply for hardship or seek an alternate debt solution;
- a hardship application will be held on your records with the lender and may affect your eligibility for lending or consolidation for a 6-12 month period.
Hardship Relief is an interim measure of help from your current lender(s). It is always important to communicate with your lenders to discuss your circumstances and issues you are facing. Every lender wants to be able to reach a mutually acceptable arrangement where possible. Obviously, it is not always possible, however, you must give them the opportunity to assess and try. If you have not discussed hardship relief with your lender, a Life After Debt® consultant will direct you to do so at the earliest opportunity (if it is relevant). The options that we deal with are for those who have been declined for financial hardship assistance and/or have exhausted the financial hardship relief granted. We will seek to offer a long-term debt solution to provide hardship help that will solve your debt stress.
Remember, every case is different. We try to provide as much information as possible about potential means to provide hardship help, however, every lender will assess your situation on a case-by-case basis and according to each Creditor’s hardship relief policy. It is not uncommon to be granted hardship assistance with one lender and be declined by another.
Financial Hardship Counselling
Financial Counselling is a free service provided by local councils, charities and not-for-profit organisations. Counsellors are trained professionals to give you advice on budgeting, legal rights and responsibilities, Centrelink and benefit entitlements, insolvency and other financial matters. You can call 1800-007-007 to find your nearest counsellor to make an appointment. A financial counsellor can provide guidance on hardship contract variations, and seek to set up hardship relief on secured or unsecured accounts.