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Sample Coronavirus Hardship Letter

COVID-19 has had an impact on every person’s life. Tragically, many people have lost their lives to the virus. Countless others face the loss of their loved ones, homes, jobs, retirement accounts, and more. For people with upcoming deadlines, it may be a good idea to write a coronavirus hardship letter to ask for an extension.

Thankfully, some companies extended their payment deadlines automatically. Others expect to do the same for customers who request it. Keep reading to learn more about how to write a hardship letter. We’ve also included a sample coronavirus hardship letter below.

Components of a Coronavirus Hardship Letter

The definition of a hardship is malleable according to the institution you’re writing too. However, most institutions understand the widespread effects of the coronavirus. This generally makes it easier to get the message across to the institution you’re writing to.

In fact, the people who read the letter on behalf of the institution are going through the same hardship. The coronavirus hardship letter is unique for this reason. But it still calls for other important factors.

  • First Paragraph

The first paragraph should be short and concise. For example, if you’re requesting a deadline for the next payment due on a loan, state that in two to four sentences. There will be plenty of opportunity to explain yourself more later.

  • Next Two to Four Paragraphs

Now’s the time to explain how the coronavirus has affected your ability to pay the bill or payment on time. Explain the details and include documentation that supports the details you discuss.

In other words, if your employer laid you off, detail the circumstances in your letter. Explain that because of the “Stay at Home” order made by California governor, Gavin Newsom, you’re unable to work.

Although the rest of the story may seem obvious, take the time to spell it out. Include your last pay stub or an unemployment insurance paystub.

Share that you’ve explored other options to avoid making a payment late. Feel free to share what those options were and why they won’t work. It wouldn’t hurt to include that you’re committed to making your payments as agreed, and that the situation is out of your control.

  • Other Items to Include

Finally, be sure to include basic contact information like your name, address, phone number and email address. Also, include your account number and if possible, another piece of identifying information. This can include your birth date or social security number, depending on the agency you’re writing to.

Be Honest and Humble

Although it seems like writing a coronavirus hardship letter is quite humbling, many hardship letters don’t read that way. It can feel natural to blame your employer for laying you off or your bank for charging too much interest. Maybe you can blame your spouse’s employer or the governor of California for making the “stay at home” order, too.

You may be putting all the blame in the right places, but it rubs people the wrong way. After all, the people making the decision on your hardship letter are only people. For that reason, it’s also important to be honest.

An unrealistic story is also likely to rub people the wrong way. There’s no need to exaggerate circumstances around the hardship. That especially applies to hardships centered around coronavirus.

Other Tips for a Coronavirus Hardship Letter

The overall message of a hardship letter needs to be, “There’s no other way.” Institutions don’t want to have to grant hardship letter requests. They want to be your first priority.

But they also understand that life isn’t perfect, nor is it always easy. For that reason, it’s important to paint the picture that there’s no other way to get through this difficult time. As we mentioned above, a coronavirus hardship letter is unique in that way.

That’s because the adversity of coronavirus hardly needs to be explained to anyone. However, you still need to include it in your letter.

Furthermore, exclude information that shines an objectively negative light on you. The institution you’re writing to may decide that you don’t particularly need the help. That is if you spent all your money gambling or couldn’t make any money because you were in jail.

Also, avoid sharing other alternatives for getting the money. For example, don’t mention that your rich father-in-law will give you the money if the letter you’re writing is ineffective. Your institution will likely deny your request and expect you to borrow it from your rich father-in-law instead.

How to Write a Sample Coronavirus Hardship Letter

We’ll include a sample coronavirus hardship letter below. While we encourage you to consider all the points above, write an original letter. Letters from templates or that don’t clearly correspond with your situation will be a turn-off.

Institutions don’t expect you to have a degree from Harvard in writing hardship letters, but it’s good to use basic reading and writing skills. In other words, proofread, spell check, and proofread your letter again.

Coronavirus Hardship Letter Example:



[Name of Bank Contact] [Bank Contact’s Job Title] [Bank Name] [Bank Street Address] [Bank City, State, Zip]


Re:      [Your Name] [Your Address] [Your City, State, Zip] [Your Contact Phone Number] [Your Account Number]


Dear Mr./Mrs. Bank Contact:

I’m writing this letter to ask for a payment [extension/deferment/etc.]. My employer had to lay off everyone in my position because of the coronavirus. A [one/two/three]-month [extension/deferment/etc.] will be enough for me to overcome this hardship and get back onto a regular payment schedule.

As a [job title] at [company name], I’m not an essential worker and therefore, my employer laid me off temporarily. I’m scheduled to return to work after the state governor lifts the “Stay at Home” order.

I tried to get a short-term personal loan, as well as looked for supplemental work among other efforts to earn money. But they haven’t been fruitful. As a last resort, I’m hopeful that you’ll [extend/defer] by next [one/two/three] payments.

I look forward to your prompt response.


[Sign Here in Ink] [Print Your Name] [Your Email Address]


When You Should Write A Hardship Letter

For many years you have enjoyed the best job in the world. You have all your bills paid up and money stashed in the bank. There are no creditors calling your home or work. Life is pretty predictable at this point. Then one day all that changes. Your boss calls you in his office to say the company is cutting back and your job is eliminated. You beg for mercy or a different placement, but there is none to be had.

Then the struggle begins.

While you are out of work, your savings becomes spent. There is nothing left and the creditors just don’t care. They keep ringing your phone off the hook and sending those nasty settlement letters in the mail. You are at your wit’s end and don’t know what to do. You think about giving up. What’s the point in trying anymore? When you reach this moment, a hardship letter could be a smart solution.

What is a Hardship Letter?

According to the experts at Legal Zoom, a hardship letter is just what it says. It is a letter written by you, the borrower, to your creditor explaining your situation. At any point when you need assistance or an alternative payment option, most creditors will require you to write a hardship letter.

Your letter should provide the creditor with a detailed explanation of what assistance you need. The cause of your hardship and what your current situation is, in relation to finances, are also to be included. Creditors need the full picture. Don’t hold anything back. If they fully understand your situation, you are more likely to receive the assistance you are asking for.

When to Start Writing

According to the Business Insider, the average American is carrying over $5,000 in credit card debt. This number is rising each day. With a number like that, any life change could lead to a hardship letter. Below is a list of situations that may lead you to write a letter. Keep in mind this list is not exhaustive.

  1. Loss of Income – Anytime you lose your source of income, which may come from losing your job or relocating, the danger of hardships is likely to come your way. Deciding to pay your bills or buy groceries for your family are everyday questions to answer. The time between jobs can be stressful, but with a hardship letter, your creditor may take some of the stress away.
  2. Suffered an Injury – If you been injured at work, in an automobile accident, or doing repairs at home, your income may change. While you’re out of work, you may receive compensation less than your usual salary. This lessens the number of monthly payments you can make. Write that letter and explain your situation. There may be an alternative payment method available.
  3. Home Has Not Sold – Relocating means buying or renting a new home. During this time, you will need to sell your previous home. Who wants to pay two mortgages? You may need to ask your creditor to refinance or defer a few payments.
  4. Death of a Family Member- This event definitely leads to unexpected expenses going out of your pocket. When you pay over $5,000 in funeral expenses, you are bound to hit tough times. Finances may not be at the front of your mind and bills get behind.
  5. Military Service- Serving your country may send you away from home. In order to pay your creditors, special arrangements may need to be made.
  6. Divorce/Separation- Legal expenses can add up quickly making it hard to keep up the payments.

During any of these times, you may want to write that letter sooner rather than later. Don’t wait until you are significantly behind. It may actually make getting help harder to achieve.

Tips for Writing a Hardship Letter

Writing a hardship can be a daunting task. It is as if you are admitting defeat. We all hit those tough times and must ask for help. That’s okay!

Creditors are not going to put hardship letters at the top of their agendas. The bottom line is that they want their money back. In order to make sure your letter gets in the right hands; it needs to be stellar.

Let’s examine some tips for writing a hardship letter that no creditor can resist.

  • Concise is the word- There is no need to add fluff in this letter. You want to keep it simple and to the point. This will keep your audience tuned in. Don’t make them put your letter down because it was three pages long.
  • Make your request specific- Tell the creditor exactly what you are asking for whether it be a lower interest rate, refinance your mortgage or forbearance.
  • Explanation of your hardship is essential- In this portion of the letter, clearly lay what your hardship is, how you got there, and why it has affected your ability to make on-time payments. If their multiple circumstances leading to the current hardship, be sure to list them. Again, no fluff, just the facts.
  • Be sure to restate your request at the end of your letter- This is the place to remind the reader of what you’re asking for and show humility. Remember that you are asking for a measure of grace in a hard situation but ultimately the creditor has control.

Making the choice to ask for help in the form of a hardship letter is not a sign of weakness or failure. It is a sign of strength. You have the bravery to ask your creditor for help. Knowing what a hardship letter is when to write one, and tips to make it stand out will give you peace of mind and hopefully a helping hand to your finances.

Will you give in to the thought that you will never be free of debt because life threw stones at you or will you give the amazing hardship letter a chance?

financial hardship

A Guide to Financial Hardship: Here’s When You Should Consider Using a Hardship Letter

When it comes to their financial health, many Americans are just barely treading water. 

Only 30 percent of Americans have some kind of long-term financial plan, and 31 percent have less than $500 set aside in emergency saves. Nineteen percent don’t have any money saved to cover the cost of an emergency expense.

Do these situations ring a bell to you? Are you currently struggling to scrape together funds to make ends meet and pay the bills? If so, you might be able to use a financial hardship letter to get a fresh start.

Read on to learn more about what constitutes financial hardship and when you ought to consider using a hardship letter.

What is a Hardship Letter?

A hardship letter is a letter written to a lender explaining why you cannot make the payments you previously agreed to pay.

You might also use a hardship letter to explain why you’ve chosen a specific approach to get rid of or minimize your debt, such as a short sale on your home, a loan modification, or suspension of past due payments.

Hardship letters are typically comprised of three components:

  • How you got into your current financial situation (i.e., what has changed since you originally took out your loan)
  • What you’ve done to try and fix the situation
  • Why your previous attempts have not worked

A well-written hardship letter can help you begin to correct your situation and regain control of your debt and finances.

The key, of course, is to make sure your situation is actually considered to be a financial hardship. You’ll also need to avoid common mistakes that may cause a lender to reject your letter.

When Should You Use a Financial Hardship Letter?

There are only certain situations in which a lender will honor a hardship letter. Some of these specific situations include:

  • Losing your job
  • A sudden reduction in income (due to situations like furlough, a new job, your partner’s loss of job, a pay cut, etc.)
  • An illness or medical emergency
  • A sudden job transfer (either voluntary or involuntary)
  • A divorce or separation
  • An extreme change in your mortgage terms (often the result of an adjustable-rate loan)
  • Military service
  • A death in the family
  • The incarceration of a family member
  • A sudden increase in expenses or debts

An unexpected catastrophe can also bring on financial hardship, especially if it necessitates significant maintenance or major repairs.

How to Write a Financial Hardship Letter

Do any of the above situations apply to you? If so, you might want to consider writing a hardship letter to your lender explaining the situation. 

Not sure how to write a hardship letter? These guidelines can help:

Make Your Request as Specific as Possible

For your letter to be taken seriously, you need to be very specific about your objectives. What do you want the lender to do?

Do you want them to suspend your past due amounts? Do you want your interest rate or monthly minimum payments adjusted? The more specific you are, the better.

Explain Your Hardship

Next, you need to explain why your situation ought to be considered a hardship. Keep this section concise.

Simply sum up what has happened in your life over the last few months and why those events have made it hard for you to keep up with your loan payments.

Explain the Steps You’ve Taken to Correct it

It’s also important to explain what you have done so far to correct your situation. Have you cut your expenses or taken on a second job?

Explaining what you’ve done will help your lender see that you have taken action but still need additional help. 

Restate Your Request Clearly

End your letter by restating as clearly as possible what you would like your lender to do.

Be as explicit as you can and make it clear that, once you receive what you’re asking for, you will be able to keep up with your payments without any additional issues.

Include Supporting Documentation

It’s also helpful to include documentation that backs up the points you’ve made regarding your financial situation. For example, you might want to include copies of your medical bills or a copy of your divorce order.

If you include these documents, address them in your letter as well. Just a sentence or two explaining what they are is sufficient.

Keep it Short

Remember, your letter should be short and to the point.

Your lender is busy, and they receive tons of letters and emails every day. They don’t have time to read a novel about your current financial situation. Limit it to one page or shorter, if you can.

Be Humble

A little humility goes a long way when you’re writing a hardship letter. Avoid placing blame on your lender or any of the other parties involved in your situation. Keep your tone as neutral and objective as possible.

Be sure to thank your lender for their time, too. Remember, you need their help. If the person reading your letter thinks that you’re being hostile, aggressive, or ungrateful, they may reject your request. 

Have Someone Review Your Letter

Finally, it can be helpful to have someone review your letter before you mail it.

If you’re working with a financial coach or a nonprofit housing counselor, he or she can review your letter and help you with any changes to the tone or wording that they think might increase your chances of having your letter accepted. 

Do You Need to Write a Financial Hardship Letter?

Do you think a financial hardship letter can help you with your current financial situation? If so, be sure you follow these guidelines when writing it. 

Do you need more guidance on how to write your hardship letter? Are you looking for examples or specific information on what to include and avoid? If so, we can help.

Check out the hardship letter archives on our site for all kinds of useful articles. This one, which is all about writing an effective hardship letter, is a great starting point.