The Breathing Space scheme freezes payment demands and legal action by creditors to allow you to get free quality debt advice. It prevents the person or organisation that you owe money to from taking action against you whilst you are receiving help under the scheme. A breathing space is an opportunity for you to get a handle on your finances without the stress and worry of increasing debt and scary letters.
The Breathing Space scheme is sometimes referred to as The Debt Respite Scheme.
There are two types of breathing space:
Standard breathing space
This can last up to 60 days.
During this time you’re expected to work with your debt adviser to find a longer term debt solution.
You can’t apply for the standard breathing space yourself, it can only be started by a regulated debt adviser or your local council (if it provides debt advice to its residents).
If you’ve already had a standard breathing space in the last year, you can’t get another one.
Mental health crisis breathing space
A mental health crisis breathing space can be put into place if you are receiving treatment for a specified mental health crisis. The breathing space can last as long as your treatment, however long this may be, plus 30 days.
To qualify for the mental health crisis breathing space, an approved mental health professional must apply and confirm you’re receiving crisis treatment.
During the breathing space you are not expected to keep in touch with the debt adviser but they will stay in contact with your approved mental health professional with a view to finding a longer term solution to your debts.
The form and guidance for mental health professionals to apply for a mental health crisis breathing space is here. There is no limit on how many times you can enter a mental health crisis breathing space.