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Financial Assistance & Social Support
Free community mealsThe following lists services that offer food assistance or free meals on a regular basis:
Useful web sites
Concession cardholders are eligible for free ambulance and air ambulance travel anywhere in Australia in an emergency or on the recommendation of a doctor.
The Bereavement Allowance helps the surviving member of a couple who was not receiving income support before bereavement to adjust to their changed financial circumstances following the death of their partner. The allowance is generally payable from the date of the partner’s death and is subject to an income and asset test.
Bereavement Assistance is a Melbourne-based non-profit charity providing funeral services for low income Victorians. Bereavement Assistance arranges and provides memorial services and cremation.
This payment assists a surviving partner, carer or parent of a young child to adjust to the financial circumstances of the death of a Pensioner, Long-term Centrelink recipient (i.e. minimum of 12 months) of various payments and allowances.
State Trustees may be able to assist with the burials for those with insufficient means. State Trustees can assume responsibility for financing and arranging the plot and funeral of deceased persons reported to the Coroner, who have assets of less than $1000.
Centrelink provides an Advance Payment Scheme that provides lump sum payments in advance from future Centrelink payments. The advance must be repaid, as it is essentially an interest free loan.
The advance amount must be between $250 and $500. The advance is repaid through fortnightly deductions from the pension or allowance.
To be eligible the beneficiary must demonstrate that they can repay the advance and still have enough money for day-to-day expenses.
The Financial Information Service (FIS) offered by Centrelink gives information to help people improve their standard of living by using their own money to their best advantage.
Concession Bank Accounts for Commonwealth Government Pensioners and Health Care Card Holders
A recent campaign by Consumer Action Law Centre (CALC) and Choice Magazine has resulted in accessible accounts for consumers on Commonwealth Government Pension or Health Care Cards for which no fees are levied.
This booklet is now available to help people in debt. Being in debt can be a very stressful time and it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the legal processes.
Are you getting demands for payment? Are you getting legal notices and letters about money you owe? Being visited by debt collectors? Feeling hassled? You can get legal help and see a financial counsellor to: work out what you really owe, decide what to do, make a plan you can afford and feel more in control.
Several welfare organisations provide emergency relief in the form of food, clothing and household goods such as second-hand furniture and blankets, for people experiencing a severe financial crisis.
The Department of Human Services (DHS) offers a variety of concessions and benefits to eligible cardholders to assist low-income Victorians with energy bills. If you have a relevant concession card, you may be eligible for one of these concessions.
The team offers free and confidential financial counselling for people in Maroondah
Financial counsellors fully assess people’s financial position, offer information, look at debt-management options, assist in negotiations with creditors, and give information about bankruptcy, budgeting, fines, and government payments.
Financial counsellors do not judge people on how they manage their money, take over their finances, offer investment advice, or do tax returns. They are not lawyers but have a good understanding of consumer law.
Works as a Financial Adviser at ANZ, but services not limited to ANZ customers or families of Scope.
Areas of assistance include:
Centrelink entitlements, Estate Planning, Protection Solutions, Special Disability Trusts. Also advice on other areas such as superannuation and wealth creation. Initial discussions are obligation free. Phone: 0434 601 274
The Good Shepherd Buying Service is a free Victoria-wide telephone service which aims to get lower prices on essential household goods for Centrelink Concession Card holders and not for profit community groups. We have been brokering discounted prices for people on low incomes and community organisations for over 20 years, achieving an average saving of 19 per cent off the normal retail price over that time.
You may be able to receive a loan to help pay for renovations made to your home as part of the Home modification service. Home Renovation loans can be provided for health and safety related repairs, renovations or modifications to your principal place of residence identified in the inspection report. Loans can be used to supplement your savings or grants to fund the works.
InfoChoice is Australia’s leading finance comparison site.
Established for over 15 years InfoChoice is recognized for its helpful information and tools and expert media commentary, we strive to make it easy for you to find financial products that best meet your needs.
Tools and advice to help you manage your money and debt
Moneymanager is committed to delivering accurate, unbiased information on all aspects of personal finance
If you're having trouble paying your home loan, the Mortgage Relief Scheme could help you keep your home. If you're eligible, you could get a short-term interest-free loan to help you keep up your home loan repayments after an unavoidable drop in your income. This could be caused by short-term unemployment, sickness or some other crisis.
The Municipal Rates Concession provides a 50% discount off council rates up to a yearly maximum of $193.40 in 2011-2012. The concession is available to homeowners and must be for their principal place of residency. Renters can also claim, if they have entered into an agreement/contract with the landlord to be responsible for the payment of council rates
The No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS®) provides interest-free loans between $800 to $1,200, for individuals or families on low income. It's a community-based program that enables people to access fair, safe and equitable credit for the purchase of goods and services.
Postbillpay is a comprehensive bill payment service offered by Australia Post to help meet the needs of our valued customers – providing a convenient and trusted bill payment service in person, by phone and on the Internet.
Gambler's Help is a free service for people who are affected by gambling. The services provided by Gambler's Help include:
Free, professional, confidential counselling for people for whom gambling is an issue
Counselling for the family and friends of people for whom gambling is an issue
Financial counselling to help people with gambling-related money problems
Community education and helping communities reduce the negative effects of gambling
The Victorian Government provides funding for the delivery of a number of support services for refugees and asylum seekers. Such services include health services, community support networks, legal services, education and training opportunities.
Good Shepherd together with the National Australia Bank developed a low interest personal loan product called stepUP Loan. stepUP is available to holders of a Health Care Card or recipients of Family Tax benefit Part A who do not have access to other financial services. Loans to date have been for the purchase of household furniture, computers, and second hand motor vehicles.
The Utility Relief Grant Scheme and the Non-Mains Utility Relief Grant Scheme provide assistance for domestic customers who are unable to pay their utility bills due to a temporary financial crisis.
Assistance may be provided to low-income households suffering a short-term (within last 12 months) financial crisis who are unable to pay for a current utility account or LP gas account and who are at risk of disconnection, restriction of supply, or non-supply of gas bottles.
The Utility Relief Grant Scheme is also available to eligible customers who experience difficulties paying for other non-mains sources such as carted water and heating oil.
Telephone Allowance assists with the costs of maintaining a phone and home internet service. Centrelink and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs provide an indexed payment every three months. From 20 September 2008, the value of the payment increased to $23.00 per quarter. To qualify for the higher rate of $34.60 conditions do apply.
The Telstra Bill Assistance Program is aimed at assisting people who are experiencing financial difficulty and are having a problem paying their Telstra bill. Participating community agencies are able to provide clients with a Telstra Bill Assistance Certificate of a fixed amount to pay towards their Telstra bill. Telstra funds the program and participating Community Agencies distribute the program on Telstra's behalf.