Debt Respite Scheme

Breathing Space also known as the Debt Respite Scheme is a legally enforced scheme that allows you time to seek professional debt advice. Your creditors are unable to chase the debts.

The are two types of breathing space.

Standard Breathing Space

This gives legal protections from creditor action for up to 60 days. The protections include pausing most enforcement action and contact from creditors and freezing most interest and charges on debts.

Who is eligible?

An individual with a qualifying debt who meets eligibility criteria and conditions
  • Must be an individual living in England or Wales
  • Must be struggling or about to start struggling to maintain payments towards debts.
  • You have to have at least one qualifying debt, such as credit cards, loans, over drafts, payday loans, catalogues etc. Other debts including rent, mortgage, utility and council tax arrears also qualify however you do have to maintain ongoing payments and it is only the arrears that can be included.
  • Not have the means to clear debts, e.g. ISAs or assets which can be sold
  • Not have a Debt Relief Order, and Individual Voluntary Arrangement or be an undischarged bankrupt
  • Not already had a breathing space in the last 12 months

What are the conditions?

  • You must engage with the advisor throughout the Breathing Space
  • You must keep paying some ongoing liabilities such as your priority bills.
  • You must not take out additional credit over £500

How often can you apply

No more than once a year

Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space

A mental health crisis breathing space is only available to someone who is receiving mental health crisis treatment and it has some stronger protections. It lasts as long as the person’s mental health crisis treatment, plus 30 days (no matter how long the crisis treatment lasts).

Who is eligible?

A client with qualifying debt who meets eligibility criteria and conditions, who is receiving mental health crisis treatment.

What are the conditions?

  • Must have a qualifying debt
  • Must be receiving mental health crisis treatment

What are the conditions?

Nominated point of contact must engage with the debt advisor.

How often can you apply

No Limit

Is Breathing Space suitable for me?

If you are struggling or about to start struggling with problematic debt and require time to seek debt advice and consider your options Breathing Space could be for you.

Breathing Space Benefits

  • Most importantly there is no charges or fees to be paid for applying for and being granted Breathing Space.
  • Breathing Space will prevent creditors from taking most types of enforcement action or adding fees and charges – as long as you meet breathing space conditions (no requirement to meet conditions in Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space).
  • Breathing Space provides you with the time and opportunity to get advice from advisory organisations that are regulated and experienced in assisting with problem debts.
  • Creditors are prevented from starting or continuing with any action during the Breathing Space period.

Breathing Space Considerations

There are conditions that apply to Standard Breathing Space which is not adhered to can mean that your Breathing Space is cancelled. These include:-

  • You must engage with Debt Advice.
  • You must report changes of circumstances.
  • You must pay certain ongoing liabilities (if you can afford to do so).
  • You must not take out additional credit over £500.

How We Can Help We do not directly offer this solution. We can advise if breathing space or another solution is most suited to your situation. If a breathing space is appropriate, we will refer you accordingly.