How to prove financial hardship

Financial hardship is not something to be embarrassed about. It is possible to get help, but you need to know how to prove financial hardship.

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Financial hardship is not something to be embarrassed about. After all, often, the circumstances that get us there are beyond our control. The good news is that you can get help, but you need to know how to prove financial hardship. Here’s what you need to know.

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What qualifies as a financial hardship?

This is when factors beyond your control lead to a situation where your income is insufficient to make debt payments. You may also not be able to pay your monthly bills. Examples of these factors may include job loss, changes in employment status, death, divorce, illness, injury, natural disasters and pandemics.

How do you survive financial hardship?

This depends on individual circumstances. However, note the following:

  • Try to stay positive. A clear and stress-free mind helps keep you motivated to find and apply solutions to your situation.
  • Make a list of your money challenges. This can help you see your financial challenges. 
  • Identify the debts you can comfortably pay and whether you can make lifestyle adjustments to help pay off some debts.
  • Determine whether you qualify for relief from financial hardship.

What is financial hardship documentation?

These are documents used to prove that you are in financial hardship. Situations causing financial hardship differ, and so the documentation required to prove hardship will also differ.

For example, a person in financial hardship resulting from an injury at work may need to prove workers’ compensation. This document may not be required if your financial hardship results from job loss. Instead, an unemployment letter may be required.

The most common financial hardship documentation includes:

  • Bank statements to show income and expenditure
  • Copy of tax returns
  • Unemployment letter
  • Copies of payslips
  • Credit card bill payments
  • Utility bills
  • Medical bills
  • Monthly mortgage repayments
  • Insurance payments
  • Eviction notice
  • Notice of repossession of assets

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What is a letter of hardship?

This is a letter you write to a lender, credit card issuer or bank when facing financial hardship. The letter aims to notify the lender of your situation and request a modification or adjustment of the outstanding debt.

Keep in mind that you may need to attach financial hardship documentation to this letter. It might also be in your best interest to seek help from a debt adviser/coach when writing a letter of hardship. 

How do I get a hardship payment?

Individuals with difficulties paying their living costs can consider applying for Universal Credit. It is a hardship payment that helps those who are on a low income, cannot work or are out of work. 

You may be eligible if:

  • You’re 18 years or over (some 16 and 17-year-olds may also qualify)
  • You live in the UK
  • You and your partner have a maximum of £16,000 in savings
  • You’re under State Pension age

Use the benefits calculator on the gov.uk website to find out how much you can get.

What is the Hardship Fund?

This is a fund for low-paid workers temporarily unable to work as a result of injuries sustained during a crime of violence. However, these injuries should not fall within the tariff of injuries in the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2012.

You may not be eligible for the Hardship Fund if you:

  • Qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or an equivalent scheme provided by your employer
  • Were injured before 27 November 2012
  • Failed to report the incident to the police
  • Didn’t apply for the fund within eight weeks of the incident

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