Which debts qualify for Breathing Space?
Many debts will qualify for Breathing Space, but there are some exceptions. Take a look at the list below to find out which debts are not eligible.
Which debts don't qualify for Breathing Space?
The following debts are not eligible for Breathing Space:
- Secured debts (but the arrears on secured debts do qualify)
- Debts incurred after your Breathing Space started
- Debts incurred because of fraud
- Court fines (penalty charge notices like parking tickets do qualify)
- Obligations from a confiscation order
- Child maintenance or money owed under an order from family court proceedings
- A crisis or budgeting loan
- Student loans
- Personal injury damages
- Advance payments on Universal Credit
- Council tax liabilities that are not due yet
What is Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space (MHCBS)?
MHCBS is a debt respite scheme designed specifically for people receiving mental health crisis treatment.
How is Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space different?
- Your mental health breathing space lasts as long as your mental health crisis, plus 30 days
- You'll need an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) to provide evidence you are receiving mental health crisis treatment
- You don't have to get debt advice
- You can have a mental health crisis breathing space anytime you have crisis treatment
Who can access Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space?
MHCBS is only available to residents of England and Wales with at least one qualifying debt to a creditor and if they're receiving mental health crisis treatment. This means you are either:
- Detained under the Mental Health Act (this is also known as being sectioned)
- Removed to a place of safety under the Mental Health Act
- Receiving crisis care in hospital or the community from a specialist mental health team such as the crisis team or the home treatment team
Visit the Mental Health and Money Advice website to find out more and check if you can access the scheme.
How does the Breathing Space scheme work?
The timeline below shows the Breathing Space process. If you're eligible, you can get free debt advice from us to start your application. Take a look at the eligibility criteria here.
Get debt advice
If you get debt help from us, we’ll check to see if you could benefit from Breathing Space, and if you’re eligible.
If you're eligible and would like to apply, we’ll submit your application to the Insolvency Service, who administer the scheme.
Breathing Space starts
Once your application is submitted, your Breathing Space will start. This will usually happen within two working days.
First 20 days
During the first 20 days of the scheme, creditors can challenge your application for Breathing Space, as well as specific debts being included in the scheme.
You can add a debt to Breathing Space after it has started as long as the debt existed before your Breathing Space began. The protections will then applying for the remainder of the 60 days.
For example, if a debt is added to Breathing Space on day 10, protection on that debt would last for 50 days. If a debt was incurred after your Breathing Space started, it can’t be added.
Creditors given time to review
The clock for creditors to challenge the inclusion of a new debt restarts when the new debt is added, but this only applies for the new debt, with protection still in place for other debts.
30 day review
After 30 days, we’ll review of your situation. In most cases, this will result in the scheme continuing for the full 60 days, but Breathing Space could be cancelled or specific debts could be removed in certain circumstances.
How could Breathing Space help me deal with my debts?
Breathing Space could help relieve some of the pressure of dealing with creditors, and provide protection from interest and fees for its duration.
This should give you time to get debt advice and set up a solution to deal with your debts.
If you want to get your finances back on track, get free, debt advice by calling 0800 138 1111 and you could apply for Breathing Space to take the pressure off while you get the help you need.