New government 'Breathing space' scheme to help people in debt — Scope | Disability forum
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New government 'Breathing space' scheme to help people in debt

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Scope community team

edited October 13 in Benefits and financial support

Yesterday, the government's new 'Breathing space' initiative came into force to help those struggling with financial debt.

Officially called the Debt Respite Scheme, Breathing space is operational in England and Wales and seeks to help people in debt by offering temporary protection from creditors.


How can Breathing space help?

This government guidance page explains there are 2 types of Breathing space support available:
1. A standard breathing space is available to anyone with problem debt. It gives them 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 their debts.

2. 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).


How can I access Breathing space support?

People can access Breathing space via contacting a debt advisor/organisation or, if they are experiencing a mental health crisis, by speaking to an approved mental health practitioner involved in their care.  Likewise government guidance states:
In addition to the debtor, the following people can apply to a debt adviser on behalf of a debtor for a mental health crisis breathing space:
  • any debtor receiving mental health crisis treatment
  • the debtor’s carer
  • Approved Mental Health Professionals
  • care co-ordinators appointed for the debtor
  • mental health nurses
  • social workers
  • independent mental health advocates or mental capacity advocates appointed for the debtor
  • a debtor’s representative
If this is something that could possibly help you, then visit the following debt advice organisations to learn more:
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