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What are Hardship Loans and When You Should Use them?

Financial challenges are a part of life, but when they get too much to handle, they can leave you struggling with severe hardships. Amidst these hard times, one of the best things that can help you and provide you with a safety net is a hardship loan.

Hardship loans can become a beacon of hope and guide you in the right direction to manage your expenses. So, in case you are struggling with financial problems or just want to be prepared for one, you need to have proper guidance on how to approach hardship loans.

Below in this guide, we will try to cover as much as we can to help you learn what hardship loans are and when to utilize them.

What are Hardship Loans?

Hardship loans are also called emergency loans or crisis loans. These loans are used to cover any unexpected financial setback and can help people facing severe financial difficulties. Hardship loans are not designed to meet some expected or planned need like buying a home or car.

These loans are only used to provide a short-time usage of cash to help borrowers pass the challenging circumstances. Some of such circumstances include medical emergencies, job loss, or other unforeseen events.

Unlike traditional loans, hardship loans may have more flexible eligibility criteria and faster approval processes to address urgent financial needs for people.

Types of Hardship Loans

Hardship loans have many types, and each one is designed to meet the financial difficulties and emergencies you might be facing. Some of these types of loans fall in the personal loan category, while others can utilize your retirement savings or home equity. Let’s read about some of the hardship loan types:

  1. Secured and Unsecured Personal Loans

Secured hardship personal loans are the types of loans that are backed by some collateral. These loans are less risky for lenders, and they are more comfortable offering them in exchange for any collateral. Secured loans are also considered hardship loans for bad credit, meaning they can be used to avail loans if you have a bad credit score. You can learn more about these hardship loans for bad credit on Lantern by SoFi.

Unsecured loans, on the other hand, are not backed by any collateral. This means that lenders don’t have the authority to repossess your assets in case you fail to pay back your loan amount.

  1. Payday Loans

Payday loans fall in the category of high-interest loans and are also illegal in some states due to their extra high-interest rates. These are short-term loans intended for immediate financial needs. Borrowers repay the loan with their next paycheck, making them suitable for urgent situations.

  1. 401(k) Loans

In certain cases, people facing financial hardship may borrow from their 401(k) retirement accounts. While this option provides quick access to funds, it’s important to consider potential long-term consequences on retirement savings. Also, keep in mind that your withdrawal will be subjected to standard income tax.

When to Consider Hardship Loans

There are many circumstances where you will need to consider hardship loans. Some of these include medical emergencies, job loss or reduced income, unexpected home repairs, and important educational expenses.

If you find yourself in any of these emergencies, you can request an emergency loan from your preferred lender. However, it is important to first understand and review the loan terms to understand how you are getting and how long you will need to repay it.

The Application Process for Hardship Loans 

Different lenders and loan types have different eligibility criteria. Before you pursue any hardship loan, you will need to assess your eligibility and choose the option that aligns with your financial situation.

After this, you will need to find a lender that suits your needs. However, before signing any loan agreement, understand the repayment terms. Evaluate the interest rates, repayment period, and any associated fees.