Hardship Variation

If you are experiencing financial hardship, you can make a request to your lender to vary the repayments.

To be eligible:

  • There must be a reasonable cause for your hardship (such as illness, unemployment or caring for a sick family member*)
  • Your situation must be temporary; and
  • You must be able to demonstrate that you will be able to repay the loan even if the repayments are changed.

*This is not a complete list and other causes of hardship may be considered by your lender.

Possible variations to your repayments can include:

  • reduced repayments for a temporary period; or
  • stopping repayments for a temporary period.

You may also need to show how you will make up the missed repayments. This may include:

  • Extending the length of the credit contract term;
  • Increasing future repayments; or
  • Making a lump sum repayment in the future.

Research:

Read our Hardship Variation Fact sheet and watch our video to familiarise yourself with hardship variations.

Request a Hardship Variation

There are maximum thresholds for credit contracts. If the loan amount exceeds this – a hardship variation can still be requested, but a lender may reject the request on this basis. See the MoneySmart website for more information about thresholds.

For credit contracts entered into before 1st March 2013
Please refer to Step by step guide to applying for a Hardship Variation before 1 March 2013;

For credit contracts enter into on or after 1st March 2013
Please refer to Step by Step Guide to Giving a Hardship Notice on or after 1 March 2013;

For assistance in preparing your hardship variation application you may wish to use our online Auto-Letter form, or alternatively, see our Sample Hardship Variation Letter.

Wait for a Response

The lender must advise you whether the variation has been accepted or rejected within 21 days. They may also ask you for further information.

If you do not receive a response to your application you may wish to lodge a dispute with FOS or CIO (Refer to Step by Step Guides above)

If the request is accepted

If your hardship variation application is accepted, the credit provider – within 30 days of accepting the variation – must give written notice of the conditions of postponement.*

This notice must also specify the consequences of not complying with these conditions.

If you fail to comply, the credit provider may seek to recover the debt from you

*Applies to variations for periods greater than 90 days only

If the request is rejected

If your request is rejected you may wish to lodge a dispute with FOS or CIO (Refer to Step by Step Guides above)

Default Notices

If you have missed a repayment, you are in default and your lender may send you a default notice.

Refer to; Default Notices Fact Sheet for more information

If your lender does not agree to a Hardship Variation and you have received a default notice, you can make a request to your lender to postpone recovering the debt from you under the credit contract within 30 days of receiving the default notice.

Postponement request flow chart

Please note: Until 1 March 2013, your creditor or lender is not required to provide written notice on whether they agree to vary a contract.

If you are having difficulty paying your Utilities bills, please click here for our Hardship Utilities Grant Scheme Fact Sheet (HUGS).

If you have received a court document or document from your lender’s lawyer, you may wish to contact us for advice on (08) 9221 7066. Our telephone advice line is open Monday to Friday (except public holidays) between 9am and 4pm.
See our Court Documents fact sheet for further information on this topic.