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September 23, 2015

Applying for Financial Hardship with your Financial Institution

during financial crisisIf you are finding it difficult to pay back your debts, you may be able to apply for temporary financial hardship. This would mean that your payment arrangement changes for a few months and the type of assistance may vary between creditors.

So what exactly is financial hardship and who can qualify?

An individual that is unable to meet their repayments and unable to pay for the bare necessities is considered to be in financial hardship. Such provisions that a person cannot support either for himself/herself, family or dependents can be:

  1. Food
  2. Accommodation
  3. Clothing
  4. Medical expenses
  5. Education and other basic necessities

Creditors will examine your inability to pay basic bills on your current income. These are all lumped together as living expenses, but if you find yourself struggling to pay any one of these you may qualify. Having this information available when you call your creditors is generally a good idea.

Most creditors will want to know why you are having this financial hardship. If you have been made redundant, had your hours cut, had to take leave from work due to illness, etc., you should be prepared to send them paperwork confirming your financial situation.

Factors that led to financial hardships

  1. Tragedy in the family
  2. Serious illness that it drained your resources
  3. Injury that caused an inability to work

If you have lost a home, are having medical difficulties, or are going through a time of family emergency you may also be able to apply. Medical trouble can be a real problem with the inability to work when you are accruing larger medical bills. This means that if you find yourself needing to have extensive surgery, are injured on the job and you find yourself with unexpected expenses such as child care, you may be eligible.

Generally the creditors will want to know that your situation is temporary. If you have lost your job that means you must be on the look-out of a new job. They may ask you to estimate how long you anticipate needing assistance and only offer you help for that time period. However, you may be able to ring them up again and extend the terms of your agreement. There are only a limited number of times that one is able to apply for temporary hardship assistance and if you’re financial difficulties are more permanent,you may need to look for a long term debt management option.

Each creditor has different criteria and assesses the client’s whole situation with a financial statement of position plus looking at their circumstances as to why they can’t afford to pay their debts. During financial hardship you may be able to get your payments reduced or stopped temporarily. This will assist you to get back on your feet and pay your debts back in a timelier manner.

All requests for hardship must be responded to within 21 days by your creditors. This means that you will know within the month if your application has been successful or not. If your application is rejected or requires more proof, the company must tell you why otherwise you may be able to file a dispute with the Financial Ombudsman Service. Confirming the agreement in writing can save you a lot of time and money later as well.

If you want to know more in how to go about this; and if you are not sure of approaching the creditors, you can check the website www.debtcutter.com.au as they provide a number of fact sheets to guide people through applying for a financial hardship.

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