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Could You Qualify for a Coronavirus Hardship Loan?

Maurie Backman
Steven Porrello
By: Maurie Backman and Steven Porrello

Our Loans Experts

Nathan Alderman
Check IconFact Checked Nathan Alderman
Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.

Millions of Americans were laid off in the course of the coronavirus pandemic. And while it's been over three years since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, its financial repercussions are still affecting many households. High inflation coupled with a loss of federal pandemic aid -- not to mention continued layoffs -- have made it difficult for Americans to make enough to pay monthly bills. Coronavirus hardship loans were one solution, but since many lenders have ended these programs, you'll have to look elsewhere for financial assistance.

Fortunately, if you're unemployed or your income's been hit by the ongoing crisis, you and your family can still get help. Below we'll discuss what coronavirus loans were, as well as some alternatives you might want to consider.

How coronavirus hardship loans worked

A coronavirus hardship loan was a special kind of personal loan available to those who were financially impacted by the pandemic. Like a personal loan, you could have used a coronavirus hardship loan for any purpose, like:

  • Paying rent or covering mortgage payments
  • Buying food
  • Covering the cost of medical expenses

Coronavirus hardship loans were generally smaller loans. Most hardship loans ranged from $500 to $5,000 -- enough to get you through a few months of unemployment. The loan repayment terms for these hardship loans were flexible, ranging from six months to five years.

Can you still get a coronavirus hardship loan?

Many banks and financial institutions are no longer offering coronavirus hardship loans. That said, if you need financial aid, you still have other options.

Alternatives to a coronavirus hardship loan

One alternative to coronavirus hardship loans is a personal loan. These loans are repaid in installments, can be used for a variety of purposes, and have fixed interest rates. While these loans typically have higher interest rates than those once found on coronavirus hardship loans, you'll likely pay less interest than you would on a credit card.

If your main concern is paying medical bills, look for a medical loan. We've compiled a list of top-rated medical loans, which could be a good starting point for your search. Likewise, if you've lost your job, check out our guide to getting a loan while unemployed for information on how to qualify for a personal loan with alternative forms of income (such as unemployment benefits or Social Security).

If you own a home, you can also try applying for a home equity loan or line of credit (HELOC). While many lenders hit pause on home equity lines of credit earlier on in the pandemic, nearly all have started issuing them again.

Of course, there's also the option to reach out to the people you owe money to and request direct relief. For example, if you ask for help, your landlord might agree to let you defer rent payments for a few months, your credit card company might waive a late fee if you need more time to make your monthly minimum payments, and your utility providers might give you extra time to pay your bills.

If you have a mortgage, you should be able to hit pause on your mortgage payments by putting it into forbearance. It is not automatic -- you'll have to request it from your lender. And of course, you will eventually have to make up the missed payments. But it may buy you some breathing space at this difficult time.

Also, keep in mind that the better your credit score, the greater your chances of getting approved for a hardship loan. You can check your credit score for free online. If your credit history isn't perfect, check out our guide to improving your credit score for key strategies to build credit.

Where can I get a hardship loan?

You can get a hardship loan -- including the alternatives discussed above -- from an online lender, bank, or credit union.

Online lenders

Online lenders offer loans for individuals who need help in emergencies, such as paying medical or other bills. If you're having trouble making ends meet, check to see if you qualify for a low-interest personal loan with an online lender.


Compare the best personal loans

Looking for a personal loan but don't know where to start? Compare some of the top loans available with our list of best personal loans. Our experts ranked these loans based on interest rate, requirements to qualify, repayment terms, and more.


Several banks offer emergency loans. If you have an existing relationship with a bank, call and ask about the bank's available hardship loans. The interest rate you get and the length of your repayment period will depend on your credit score, loan amount requested, and your specific lender.

Credit unions

Hardship loans are largely available through credit unions. If you're not already part of a credit union, you'll need to join one to explore this route. You can use the National Credit Union Administration's credit union locator tool to find one near you (some credit unions require that you live in a certain area to qualify, so this tool will help you narrow down your options).

What were the qualifications for a COVID-19 hardship loan?

A coronavirus hardship loan was a short-term loan for those who could prove their income had been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Compare the best personal loans

Get the best rates and terms to fit your needs. Here are a few loans we'd like to highlight, including our award winners.

Lender APR Range Loan Amount Min. Credit Score Next Steps
Fixed: 8.99%-29.99% APR (with all discounts)
$5,000 - $100,000
5.20% - 35.99%
$1,000 - $50,000
10.49% to 19.49%
$2,000 - $30,000

Lenders who offered hardship assistance to existing customers

The lenders below have a wide range of hardship assistance programs. While these lenders may not offer specific hardship loans, options include reduced or deferred loan payments, waived late fees, and access to debt management programs.


Avant has a range of financial solutions available for customers experiencing hardships. Use the Avant app or your online account to find out your options.

Best Egg

Best Egg customers should log into their account via the Best Egg account portal to find out what payment programs are available. For example, some borrowers may be eligible for deferred payments. Alternatively, you may be able to temporarily adjust payment amounts or access debt management support.


Early in the pandemic, Discover Personal Loan initially offered one-month payment deferrals to customers who needed assistance. That program has since ended. However, Discover is still offering assistance to customers who need it on a case-by-case basis.

You can reach out to the Discover customer service team online, through the mobile app, or via the mobile text app.

Happy Money

Happy Money offers a number of assistance programs to customers experiencing financial hardships due to natural disasters, which included COVID-19. The easiest way to find out what help you may qualify for is to log in to your member account. You can also contact Happy Money via LiveChat, email, or call customer service at 1-800-878-0901.


HSBC customers who are struggling to pay their personal loans may qualify for hardship assistance. If you hold an HSBC personal loan, contact the lender to ask for support. To find out what types of assistance you may qualify for, call HSBC at 800-524-9686.


LendingClub members had access to a couple of assistance options during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a 15-day grace period during which they can make payments without any penalties or fees.

For more information on available programs now, call 1-877-644-4446. Bear in mind that it might take seven to 10 days to process.


LendingPoint is another financial institution offering assistance to customers who need extra time or flexibility with making loan payments. It's extending multiple solutions to customers, so get in touch to find out what's available.

If you need assistance with your LendingPoint loan, call 888-969-0959.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, LightStream allowed some borrowers to defer a monthly payment. To find out if you're still eligible for payment relief, log in to your Account Services page and request a deferment or email LightStream directly.

Navy Federal has several options for eligible members who are struggling to make payments on their loans. These include loan extensions and deferred payments. To find out what may be available to you, call NFCU's customer service line at 800-336-3767.


Customers struggling to make their OneMain Financial loan payments may be eligible for payment deferral or reduced monthly payments through the OneMain borrower assistance program.

If you need assistance with your OneMain loan, call 1-800-961-5577 to find out the possible options.


There are several hardship relief options for PNC customers, including payment assistance. Complete an application on PNC's hardship webpage to see what options are available to you.


Upgrade was offering a range of assistance for customers affected by COVID-19. To see if you can still qualify, sign in to your Upgrade account and check out what options might be available for you.


Upstart may be able to offer you alternative payment plans, hardship assistance, payment reductions, deferrals, or another repayment arrangement.

Upstart asks you to log into your account or call the support line directly at 1-855-438-8778.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo Personal Loan assistance is available to customers who are struggling with loan payments. To find out more, log in to your account, use the Wells Fargo app, or call 1-800-241-0028.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for everyone, and many are still feeling financial repercussions. If you're experiencing financial hardship, you're not alone. Check out our list of coronavirus resources for more information on where to find help and support in this challenging season.

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