Assistance with Financial Hardship

Financial Counselling

The Australian Government MoneySmart is a national service helping people with their finances. They offer information & guidance on a range of topics including: 

  • Where to find free financial couselling 
  • Managing on a low income
  • How to do a budget
  • Reducing debt
  • Financially planning for your future
  • Understanding your options when struggling to pay the bills 

For more information visit moneysmart.gov.au.

National Debt Helpline can assist with 

  • Financial counselling 
  • Debt solutions 
  • Utility guide
  • Morage, rates & rent 
  • Managing credit cards
  • Negotiate payment terms and 
  • Centrelink debt 

Visit ndh.org.au or call 1800 007 007 for more information.

No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS)

The No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) provides individuals and families on low incomes with access to safe, fair and affordable credit. Loans are available with repayments set at an affordable amount over 12 to 18 months.

You are eligible if:

  • You have a Health Care Card / Pension Card or earn less than $45,000 a year after tax ($60,000 for couples or people with dependants).
  • You have lived at your current or previous address for at least 3 months.
  • You can show that you have the capacity to repay the loan.

What can it be used for?

NILS are for the purchase of essential goods and services such as:

  • Car repairs
  • Household items and essentials
  • Medical or dental expenses
  • Education products

Loans cannot be used to pay for food, rent, bills cash or debts.

NILS is offered by 178 local community organisations in over 600 locations across Australia. Chances are there’ll be a local NILS provider near you.For more information on NILS, including where to find a provider near you, visit goodshep.org.au/services/nils

Assistance with Utilities

Compare energy offers- Regularly check with your energy company to ensure you are on the best offer that suits your needs. compare.energy.vic.gov.au is a  Victorian Governments comparison site which enables consumers to compare energy plans and offers with other energy companies.

Contact your provider- discuss more affordabale options with your provider. You can also ask to speak to someone in the hardship department to discuss delayed payments or payment plans. 

$250 Power Saving Bonus- To be eligible to apply for the $250 Power Saving Bonus, you must be able to meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • You must be a Victorian residential energy consumer (i.e. have a residential electricity account). 
  • You must be receiving payments under one of the following concession programs:
  • Centrelink Pensioner Concession
  • JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, Austudy or Abstudy
  • Department of Veterans Affairs Pensioner Concession
  • Or hold a Department of Veterans Affairs Gold Card

If you are having trouble with application you can:

Utility relief grant scheme- Relief grant is available for paying overdue energy or water bills are available to low-income Victorians experiencing unexpected hardship and/or temporary financial crisis.

More information: Phone your electricity, gas or water retailer or the Concessions Information Line on 1800 658 521 or visit services.dffh.vic.gov.au/utility-relief-grant-scheme