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Can’t afford the basics

Not enough income to manage day today? Here are some options for urgent help:


  • Seek Hardship Assistance

    Contact your utility provider to apply for hardship assistance, including the utility relief grant for your gas, electricity and water bills

    Where you have phone bills or loan payments (including buy now pay later products) being deducted from your bank account, contact the provider and apply for hardship assistance.

    You can ask for reduced or stopped payments until you can afford to start paying the full amount again. If you have difficulty with your provider agreeing to a request for hardship, speak to a free and confidential financial counsellor. Ph: 1800 007 007.

    You can ask your bank to stop direct debits from your account. It is important when doing this to let your service or loan provider know.

  • Emergency Relief Agencies

    Emergency Relief provides immediate financial and/or material support to people in financial crisis. Emergency Relief services are delivered by community organisations and help people address immediate basic needs in times of financial crisis.

    Emergency Relief can act as a safety net for people experiencing financial distress or hardship, and who have limited means or resources to help them alleviate their financial crisis. Access to Emergency Relief is free, however, individual service providers may have certain criteria that need to be met in order to access their particular ER service.

    Your local Emergency Relief provider can be found on the DSS Service Directory.

  • Centrelink

    Advance Payment– provides an advanced payment if you are currently in receipt of an eligible Centrelink payment. There may be a waiting period. If you already have an advance you are paying back, you may not be eligible. Before applying for an Advance Payment it is important to check how much your benefit would reduce each fortnight, to see if you can manage it.

    Special advance payments – in extreme circumstances you can get an early Centrelink payment rather than having to meet the waiting period.

    Special benefits – if you are in extreme financial hardship and don’t qualify for other Centrelink benefits, you may be eligible for a special benefit.

    Crisis Payment – a one off payment for hardship in limited extreme circumstances.


  • State Government Concessions

    A full range of Victorian Government Concessions can be found here.


  • Beware of Short-term loans

    It can be tempting to try to get a loan to help out, but if there is insufficient disposable income to be able to pay it back, it can increase financial difficulty. Even Centrelink Advances deduct payments that could result in increased financial stress.

    Short term or ‘pay-day’ loans can charge very high fees and usually expect high weekly or fortnightly payments even on small loans, which will make your financial difficulty grow. Look out for alternatives.