Periods of financial hardship can be a fact of life. Those receiving Centrelink benefits do get some assistance from the government, but it isn’t always enough to make ends meet depending on the exact situation. At times when Centrelink isn’t sufficient, there are other options to help you get the funds you need to keep things together. Here are some places that may offer assistance.
Pension Loan Scheme
If you’re a pensioner who owns a home, then you may qualify for a loan through the Pension Loan Scheme. This program uses a reverse equity mortgage to provide cash to those in need, and all of the money received is non-taxable.
To qualify, a member of the household must be eligible for the age pension and currently own real estate in Australia. Additionally, the amount received must fall below the maximum rate of payment available through the Age Pension program.
Financial Hardship Programs
For low-income families experiencing a temporary financial hardship, a variety of programs may be able to provide additional financial assistance during your time of need. This includes certain one-time or supplementary short-term payments through the Centrelink program as well as support through over government agencies.
For example, states may offer programs separate from Centrelink that can help during an emergency. You’ll need to contact your state office to see what may be available based on your current situation and level of income.
In some cases, the Australian Tax Office may be able to provide your tax refund earlier than usual. To be considered, you’ll need to demonstrate you’ll be owed a refund and show a significant financial hardship that can’t otherwise be addressed.
Non-Profits and Charities
Numerous non-profits and charities may be able to provide access to loans or emergency assistance depending on your circumstances. Often, these organisations are targeted to specific groups, such as veterans or single parent households, but Centrelink recipients who otherwise qualify for help may be eligible.
Check in your local area to determine if such organisations are available, then contact them directly for details about their program offerings. They’ll be able to review your situation and find out if you are eligible for any financial assistance that is currently available.
It’s important to remember that the funds available through these groups is typically limited, and is generally provided on a first come, first serve basis. This means that money may not be available, even if you qualify, at any given point in time.
The Australian government offers a variety of concession cards that can help low-income families gain access to cheaper services. Often, these programs are focused on health costs, such as doctor visits and medicines, but they can significantly reduce these costs, allowing to use more of your Centrelink benefits for other expenses.
Other forms of assistance may also be available depending on your affiliation with certain organizations. Additionally, you may be able to turn to friends and family for help when times are tight. What’s important to remember is financial assistance is out there, so contact local offices for details.