Managing Difficult Financial Times

08 September 2015

1. Budgeting Assistance and Financial Counsellors

Many of us consider budgeting as simply a matter of cutting expenses. There is also help available to assist you in setting clear goals to ensure you make the most of your available income.

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission offer a Financial Counselling Hotline that is open from 9.30am to 4.00pm Monday to Friday. Financial Counsellors are available to assist you in reaching your financial goals, are non-judgemental and the service is offered free of charge. If you are interested please call 1800 007 007.

2. Problems Paying Your Utilities Bills

If you are struggling to pay your utility bills the following options are available:

  • Contact your provider

Most companies employ hardship officers who can help you devise a plan to pay the bill in instalments.  They can also assist you in applying for emergency utility bill vouchers which can be used to meet minimum payments.

  • Apply for a Rebate Voucher 

Rebates vouchers can assist you in paying your utility bills. Availability varies from state to state.Those available Australia wide are listed below:

Rebate and Voucher

Utility

Utility Bill Payment Voucher

Anglicare 13 26 22     

Salvation Army 13 72 58

Electricity, gas

Centrelink Advance Payment

13 62 40

 

All

Centrelink Utilities Allowance

13 62 40

 

Electricity, water, sewerage, rates

Centrelink Telephone Allowance

13 62 40

 

Telephone

Telstra Pensioner Discount

1800 331 286

 

Telephone

  • Smooth out your bills 

Companies such as AGL offer “bill smoothing” where you are able to make fortnightly or monthly payments towards future utility bills. Contact your provider to ascertain if they offer this service and how to establish the payment process.

Centrelink also provides assistance if you receive a Centrelink payment where amounts are able to be transferred to a Centrepay expense account to pay for utility and other bills. For further information on this service please contact your local Centrelink office.

3. Bereavement Payments

Providing you meet the required criteria, Centrelink offer the following assistance in Bereavement Payments:

  • An allowance payable after your partner’s death
  • A Pension Bonus Bereavement payment for the surviving partner of a deceased Pension Bonus Scheme member who did not claim the Age Pension and Pension Bonus before they died
  • A Widow Allowance for women over 50 who are widowed, divorced or separated and have no recent work experience
  • The payment of the last instalment of a single person’s Centrelink payment may be paid to the estate

 

We recommend you contact Centrelink for any further advice you may require.

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