NEW! Our Hero’s Journey tool can help you with your next step towards financial freedom - click here to try now.
Advertiser Disclosure

How the Breathing Space scheme works

How the Breathing Space scheme works
Image source: Getty Images


The Money and Pension Service’s Breathing Space scheme could help you cope with debt while you’re suffering a mental health crisis. Here’s how the scheme works and how you can access it. 

Plot your path towards financial freedom with our Hero’s Journey tool!

MyWalletHero is here to help you learn about taking control of your money, whether that’s paying off debt, working towards a short-term money goal, or investing for your future.

This tool can help you understand the next steps on your journey – simply choose a goal that best describes your current interests to get started.

What is the Breathing Space scheme?

If you live in England or Wales and you’re in debt, the Breathing Space scheme could help.

Developed by the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), the Breathing Space scheme gives you legal protection from creditors for up to 60 days. It’s designed to take the pressure off for a while so you can focus on managing your debt rather than dealing with distressing calls and letters.

The scheme launched on 4 May 2021, and it’s part of a £94.6 million investment by MaPS into providing vital debt services during the Covid-19 pandemic. So, if you’ve lost your job through Covid-19 or you’re struggling to manage your debt, the scheme could be great news for you.  

How does the scheme work? 

There are two types of Breathing Space you can apply for: standard Breathing Space, and Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space. Let’s break them both down so you can see how they could help you. 

Standard Breathing Space

If you’ve got debt you can’t afford to repay, you can apply for standard Breathing Space. During the 60-day period, creditors can’t take any action against you to chase debts. They can’t start a court action against you, and they should freeze any charges on your accounts. They shouldn’t charge you any interest, either. 

To be clear, this is not a payment holiday. During the 60 days, you should still make any payments you can afford to make. However, you’ll work with a debt adviser to decide on the best way forward, which can help you get back on track financially.

Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space

The Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space is slightly different. As the name suggests, it is only available to people experiencing a mental health crisis.

The scheme stays in place for however long your crisis treatment lasts plus an additional 30 days. It’s highly valuable for people trying to recover their mental health without worrying about what’s happening with their debt in the meantime.

MaPS has invested £2.4 million in this pilot scheme, and it’ll run over the next 12 months.

How do I apply for the Breathing Space scheme? 

To apply for standard Breathing Space, you need to consult a debt adviser. They’ll help you decide if the scheme is right for you and they’ll walk you through the application. 

You can’t apply more than once within 12 months, but your debt adviser can give you other suggestions if you need additional support.  

You can only get Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space if you’re seen by an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) who then puts you in touch with a debt adviser to start the process. There’s no limit to how many times you can apply for this service, so it’s available whenever you need it. 

Where else can I turn for debt or mental health advice?

If you’re dealing with debt or money worries, remember you can always contact Citizens Advice. They’ll talk through your debt problems with you and help you negotiate a payment plan with your creditors. Alternatively, you could reach out to the National Debtline or StepChange. 

When it comes to mental health, you should never struggle alone, especially during challenging times like the Covid-19 pandemic.

Talk to your GP in the first instance or, if you prefer, contact a charity like Mind or try out some mental health apps. However, if you’re experiencing a mental health crisis or you’re concerned about someone else, it’s best to seek emergency medical assistance immediately. 

Was this article helpful?
YesNo

4 iron-clad rules for saving money on everything

Our Editor Sam Robson has been on a personal cost-cutting mission for years – and it’s time to share his wisdom.

Check out his choicest saving tips and tricks in this free report, “Sam’s 4 Iron-Clad Rules For Saving Money On Everything”.

Just enter your email below for instant access to your free copy.

By checking this box and submitting your email address, you agree to MyWalletHero sending you emails with money tips, along with details of products and services that we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe from future emails at any time. You also consent to us processing your personal data in line with our privacy policy, and our cookie statement. For more information, including how we collect, store, and handle personal data, please read our Privacy Statement and Terms & Conditions.


Some offers on MyWalletHero are from our partners — it’s how we make money and keep this site going. But does that impact our ratings? Nope. Our commitment is to you. If a product isn’t any good, our rating will reflect that, or we won’t list it at all. Also, while we aim to feature the best products available, we do not review every product on the market. Learn more here. The statements above are The Motley Fool’s alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays, Hargreaves Lansdown, HSBC Holdings, Lloyds Banking Group, Mastercard, and Tesco.