There are a number of reasons why a person may find themselves in financial difficulty such as through losing a job or a sudden increase in expenses. 

Nevertheless, if you’re in the UK, there are a number of grants and benefits that you can take advantage of to improve your situation. 

In this post, I’ll be detailing what options you have available to you and how you can easily avail those options. 

Payment Holidays 

If you’re struggling with your debt repayments, you can write to your creditors and inform them of this. 

Negotiating with creditors can yield great results as you might be able to get a payment holiday (also known as a payment break) for a few months. 

A payment break would give you some breathing space so you can get your finances in order. 

In order to convince your creditors, you may need to provide evidence and/or documentation. 

This can be in the form of a copy of your wage slips as well as bank account statements. Enclosing a copy of your financial statement within your letter to your creditor(s) can play a huge role in convincing them to provide you with a payment break. 

If your creditor(s) are refusing to give you a payment break and there’s no other way you can manage your finances, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a debt charity and seek debt advice from them. 

They have professionals who will assess your financial situation after which they might be able to provide you with another option to deal with your debts

Alternatively, they could also negotiate with your creditors on your behalf to get you a payment break. 

Student Loans and Student Loan Forgiveness 

You are not obligated to make repayments towards your student loans if your income is below a certain threshold. 

The threshold differs depending on what style of student loan debt you have. If your course started before 1998, then you have an old-style student loan, also referred to as a mortgage-style loan. These types of loans are repayable over either a period of five years or a period of seven years if your course was longer than three years. 

Student loans taken out after 1998 are new-style loans, also referred to as income-contingent loans. The loan repayment for these types of loans is taken out straight from your wages every month once you start earning above the threshold. 

If you have an old-style loan, you can defer your student loan repayment if your annual income is below a certain threshold. You can contact your student loan provider to find out what the threshold is. This will be either Erudio Student Loans, Honours Student Loans or Thesis Servicing.

If you qualify to get your student loan debt repayment deferred, then you can contact your provider and ask them to do so. 

It’s important for you to note that interest will keep being added even if you defer your payments. You won’t need to make any payments for 12 months once your repayments get deferred. 

For new-style loans, repayments will only start getting deducted from your wages once your income goes above the appropriate threshold. 

When it comes to student loan forgiveness for new-style loans, any loan taken out after 1st September 2012 will be written off 30 years after the first repayment was due. 

As for new-style loans taken out before 1st September 2012, the following apply: 

  • In England and Wales as well as Northern Ireland, loans taken out before 1st Septemeber 2006 are written off when you reach the age of 65. Loans taken out between 1st September 2006 and 1st Septemeber 2012 get written off 25 years after the first payment was due
  • In Scotland, loans that were taken out before 1st September 2007 are written off when you reach the age of 65 and loans taken between 1st September 2007 and 1st September 2012 are written off 35 years after the first payment was due.

Government Financial Help and Money 

Hardship Payments 

You could qualify for a hardship payment if you’re on either Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit (UC) and your benefits have been stopped which is causing you to struggle with payments. 

You can also qualify for it if you’re looking after an individual who is physically or mentally vulnerable. 

Assistance from Your Local Council 

You can check your local council to see if they have a local welfare assistance scheme. Schemes such as these are offered to people with low income who are facing difficulties with their payments. 

Check your local council for what the qualifying criteria are. If you qualify, you could be eligible for a number of different benefits such as small cash loans, grants or free used household goods. 

Social Fund Loans

If you’re on any of the following benefits for a minimum of 26 weeks and an emergency or unexpected expense has come up, then you may qualify for a budgeting loan: 

  • Pension Credits
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

The amount of money you can apply for depends on your financial situation and what you need the loan for. Debt repayments to this loan would then be deducted from your future benefit payments. 

Short-term Benefits Advance 

If you’re struggling with debt repayments or other payments, it can be worthwhile to try and apply for a short-term benefit advance. You can apply for this from a number of different benefits. 

In order to apply for a benefit advance, you can contact the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) office that is responsible for your benefit claim. 

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How can I Find Out About Different Grants I can Apply For? 

It’s definitely worth research what grants and benefits you’re eligible for. Not only could they improve your living condition but they could help you pay off your debts as well. 

You can look for grants and benefits available to you online but if you need extra help, then you can contact Turn2Us for further debt advice. Turn2Us is a charity that helps people suffering from debt and other financial issues find grants and other services to support themselves. 

Conclusion 

Grants and benefits are something that many people overlook when they’re struggling with debt. I highly advise that you do your research as you could find something that could be the game-changer when it comes to paying off your debts. 

Furthermore, you can also contact debt charities for further debt advice as they may be able to point you in the direction of certain benefits which you may not have been aware of. 

I hope you found this information useful. For further debt advice, you can contact me. 

About the author

Scott Nelson

Scott Nelson is a financial services expert, with over 10 years’ experience in the industry, including 6 years in FCA regulated companies. Read more
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