Financial hardship – How to navigate your way through debt and financial hardship

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If your debts are getting out of control, talk to someone who can help you understand your options. Taking action straight away can stop a small problem becoming a big one.

Here are some practical steps you can take to get your finances back on track. 

Ask for financial hardship assistance

If you are finding it hard to keep up with bills or loan repayments, the first step is to contact your lender or service provider. Many companies have hardship officers who can assess your situation and work out what help is available.

Hardship options can include paying bills in instalments or temporarily altering your loan repayments.

Ask for financial hardship assistance if you’re struggling to pay:

  • rent or utility bills 
  • mortgage repayments
  • credit cards or loans
  • home, car or health insurance

The Financial Rights Legal Centre sample letter generator can help you create a letter to apply for financial hardship assistance. Keep a copy of the letter for your records.

If you decide to speak to someone by phone, keep notes on what you discussed. 


You might be asked to provide information about your income and expenses when you apply for financial hardship assistance. Be prepared to show:

  • the reason you are experiencing hardship, for example, a letter from your employer or a certificate for an illness
  • your current income and other major financial expenses, for example, other loans
  • what repayments you can afford

How to set up a payment plan

When negotiating a payment plan, don’t agree to an amount that is too high for you to pay. If you’re not sure how much you can afford, get in touch.


It is in your best interest to keep paying what you can. You will keep chipping away at your debt. It will make it easier to resume normal payments when you can.

If you find you can’t stick to the new arrangement, tell your lender or service provider straight away. Keep paying as much as you can afford, even if it is not as much as you agreed to.

Where to get support or help

If you can’t afford basics like accommodation or food, there are services to help you.


If you have multiple debts to juggle, or would like help applying for financial hardship, contact us today.


Experiencing financial stress can impact your mental health.

If you’re concerned about your mental wellbeing, help is available. Contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36, 24 hours a day. Or use Beyond Blue’s web chat (3pm to 12am).


Act quickly if you’ve received notice that you are being taken to court because of a debt (such as a summons, statement of claim or liquidated claim).

Free legal advice is available from community legal centres and Legal Aid offices in each state and territory.

Wealthness Pty Ltd ABN 13 231 248 112  [t/a Better Financial Planning Australia]  is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd ABN 47 097 797 049 AFSL No. 236523. It is important to be aware that Better Financial Planning Australia is not authorised by Infocus to provide advice relating to credit services or property advice. Infocus is not responsible for any advice outside of the scope of this authorisation and should you wish to act on any of this general information, please first seek professional financial advice.

Wealthness Pty Ltd t/as Better Financial Planning Australia will endeavour to update the website as needed. However, information can change without notice and Wealthness Pty Ltd t/as Better Financial Planning Australia does not guarantee the accuracy of information on the website, including information provided by third parties, at any time.

This information is of a general nature only and neither represents nor is intended to be specific advice on any particular matter. Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd strongly suggests that no person should act specifically on the basis of the information contained herein but should seek appropriate professional advice based upon their own personal circumstances. Although we consider the sources for this material reliable, no warranty is given and no liability is accepted for any statement or opinion or for any error or omission.

Wealthness Pty Ltd t/as Better Financial Planning Australia does not give any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of information which is contained in this website. Except insofar as any liability under statute cannot be excluded, Wealthness Pty Ltd t/as Better Financial Planning Australia and its employees do not accept any liability for any error or omission on this website or for any resulting loss or damage suffered by the recipient or any other person.

Wealthness Pty Ltd (ACN 613 313 250) [t/a Better Financial Planning Australia] Corporate Authorised Representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd ABN 47 097 797 049 AFSL Licence No. 236523.

Source: ASIC MoneySmart

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