Financial hardship means a person is unable to provide items like food, accommodation, clothing or medical treatment for themselves or their family. This can sometimes happen if you’ve lost a job suddenly, become ill or a relationship has broken down.

How do I know if I’m approaching financial hardship?

There are warning signs that you could be at risk of financial hardship. According to the Australian Bankers Association, some of these include:

  • Your loan and credit card repayments take up more than 20% of your income after tax
  • You’ve missed bill repayments
  • You’ve applied for a new credit card to pay off an existing card
  • You struggle to pay the mortgage or rent each month
  • You sometimes go without food
  • You don’t know how much debt you owe

What should I do if I’m experiencing financial hardship?

Help is available to anyone experiencing financial hardship and can’t pay their bills. Banks and service providers, like gas and electricity companies, have an obligation to offer flexible payment arrangements. Plus, The Salvation Army can provide guidance or alternatively speak to a financial counsellor. If you or someone you know is experiencing financial hardship, always speak to your creditors and explain your situation before going into default on your account or worse, bankruptcy.

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Are you eligible to apply?


It can be expensive to borrow small amounts of money and borrowing may not solve your money problems.

Check your options before you borrow:
For more information about other options for managing bills and debts, ring 1800 007 007 from anywhere in Australia to talk to a free and independent financial counsellor.

Talk to your electricity, gas, phone or water provider to see if you can work out a payment plan.
If you are on government benefits, ask if you can receive an advance from Centrelink.

The Australian Government’s MoneySmart Website shows you how small amount loans work and suggests other options that may help you.

* This statement is an Australian Government requirement under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009.