“But just what is the Breathing Space scheme?”

Council tax, rent and other forms of debt arrears will be awarded relief as part of the Government’s new “breathing space” scheme. If you’re eligible, you could get 60 days of breathing space where your creditors can’t:

• contact you
• take action to make you pay
• add interest and charges to your debt.

Our debt advice expert, Lorraine Charlton, explains: “If you have unmanageable debts, the new scheme could give you the time to get the advice that will help, and to start taking action. Breathing space isn’t a temporary fix to simply keep your creditors at arm’s length. You’ll need to work with your debt adviser to try and make a plan to deal with your debts”.

If you are getting emergency or acute mental health care

There is a separate breathing space scheme if you’re being treated for a mental health crisis, called the Mental Health Crisis Debt Respite Scheme.

You might be able to get breathing space from your creditors for the whole time you’re getting mental health crisis treatment, plus 30 days afterwards. Crisis treatment includes things like getting emergency or acute mental health care in hospital or the community.

Read on to find out how we helped Wes*….

Wes dropped by his local Citizens Advice office for help. Wes told us he had literally stuffed letters down the side of his sofa – he was just too worried to open them. He knew from the red lettering on the envelopes that they contained invoices which were well past their due date. Wes explained that he was struggling financially and couldn’t face the pressure of trying to settle bills or dealing with debt collectors on top of everything else at the moment. It was all too much, he said, and he was being treated for acute anxiety.

Our advisers reassured Wes that we could help him. We asked Wes to retrieve all his letters he had stowed away and bring them in for our advisers to look at. After exploring and discussing all the options, we helped Wes apply for the Mental Health Crisis Debt Respite Scheme.
Wes is coming back to see us soon so that our advisers can advise him how to find a way forward and deal with his debts.

*Name has been changed to protect client confidentiality

Do you – or someone you know – want help?

So, if you find yourself in a similar situation and don’t know what to do next – or even if you think you do! – why not contact us (details below). Citizens Advice is here for you! Or find online information at: Check your options for getting out of debt.

By Phone 0808 278 7980 (free) to speak to an adviser
By Email: use our enquiry form
Self-help: search by topic
Office opening: details
South West Surrey Domestic Abuse Outreach Service 01483 898884, swr@swsda.org.uk
Both Dorking and Leatherhead Citizens Advice offices are closed due to coronavirus, please either telephone our adviceline 0800 144 8848 or email leatherhead@camv.org.uk / dorking@camv.org.uk

Contact East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services on 01737 771350 or email: support@esdas.org.uk

Surrey Domestic Abuse 9am-9pm Helpline – 01483 776822
In an emergency always dial 999
Phone Adviceline: 0800 144 8848 (free) to speak to an adviser (Monday –
Friday 09.00 – 16.00)
Email: Use an enquiry form
Self help: search by topic

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