Financial hardship is a situation where a person cannot keep up with debt payments and bills because of unforeseen or unexpected circumstances. Examples of unforeseen or unexpected circumstances include:
- Changes in employment status (such as furlough, losing a job, or having hours reduced)
- Significant life events (such as a relationship breakdown or death in the family)
- Injury or illness
- Emergency event or natural disaster
The first step is to contact the creditor, by phone or in person, to discuss your situation and what options may be available to you. Some creditors may agree to temporarily reduce payment obligations, or defer payments. Some creditors may impose conditions on payment reductions or deferrals, such as more interest.
Many creditors will require a hardship letter if you request help. The letter should include:
- A detailed description of the type of assistance you are requesting
- The cause of the financial hardship
- Any other details that might be relevant to the creditor
The Federal Office of Personnel Management provides templates you can use to write a hardship letter to a creditor.