Financial hardship and managing money

If you are worried about your finances, or struggling with debt, get help as soon as possible. Seeking advice early means you may have more options available.




The MoneySmart website provides information on managing debt, paying rates or making mortgage payments, financial hardship, debt agreements, superannuation (super) and retirement, free legal advice and online budget planners and calculators.

Visit the website or call their Infoline on 1300 300 630 or (03) 5177 3988.

Services Australia

The Services Australia website provides information in different languages about budgeting, borrowing, credit and managing debt.

Early access to your super

There are certain circumstances where you can access some of your super early. For information on whether you meet the criteria and how to start the process, visit the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website or call their superannuation enquiry line, on 13 10 20.

Mortgage payment difficulty

If you are experiencing difficulty paying off a loan or mortgage you may be able to postpone your mortgage repayments for up to 12 months. Contact your financial institution or bank directly to find out more.

If you are not happy with the response from your bank and are experiencing financial difficulty, you can speak with their complaints area.

You can also call the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Credit Ombudsman.

Financial Ombudsman Service on 1300 780 808

Credit Ombudsman on 1800 138 422

National Debt Helpline

The National Debt Helpline has professional financial counsellors who can offer a free, independent and confidential service. You can also visit their website for information and resources.

Free call 1800 007 007 (please be aware that calls from mobile phones may incur a fee)

Monday to Friday, 9:30am - 4:30pm

Loans and no interest loans options

Low Income Loans Australia provides information on their website about loan options and benefits available for low income earners who are in need of cash or financial assistance.

Free legal advice about debt and financial issues

Legal Aid Victoria provides free legal advice in different languages about debt or financial issues. Visit their website or call their Legal help line on 1300 792 387.

Monday to Friday, 8:45am - 5:15pm

No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS)

The NILS service provides individuals and families on low incomes access to safe, fair and affordable credit. The loans available can vary between $300 and $1200 for essential goods and services. There are no credit checks and this program is based on trust and respect.

Loans are generally available to purchase essential goods and services such as:

  • household items like fridges, washing machines, stoves, dryers, freezers and some furniture
  • some medical and dental services
  • educational essentials like computers and books.

To be eligible for NILS you must:

  • have a health care or pensioner concession card or be on a low income
  • reside in your current premises for more than three months
  • show a willingness and capacity to repay.

Visit their website and select a topic in the top menu or call their Infoline - 13 64 57 - for more information.

Energy and water

Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria

In Victoria, all energy and water companies must have a hardship program to assist people who are struggling to pay their bills. They can help with:

  • an affordable payment plan to help break bills into smaller payments
  • energy and water efficiency information to help lower usage
  • applying for the Victorian Government's Utility Relief Grant Scheme (URGS), which provides up to $500 each for electricity, gas and water (subject to eligibility criteria)
  • a cheaper energy plan
  • ensuring concessions are applied to your account
  • referrals to support services, including financial counselling

Visit the Ombudsman's website or call their phone line for further information on 1800 500 509.

Emergency relief

If you urgently need help with living expenses, there are charities and community organisations that can assist you with:

  • one-off food, transport or chemist vouchers
  • rent or accommodation
  • part-payment of electricity, gas or water bills
  • food parcels or clothing
  • budgeting or referrals to other programs

Department of Social Services

Find the closest emergency relief service by calling the Department of Social Services and asking to be put through to your local emergency relief service.

Phone: 1300 653 227 (local call cost only)

Salvation Army

Phone: 13 72 58

St Vincent de Paul

Phone: (02) 6282 2722

You can also contact your local church, community centre or community organisation and find out where emergency relief is provided in your area.

Questions about transition support

If you are an injured worker and have any questions relating to transition support, please contact your WorkSafe agent who will be able to assist you.

WorkSafe Advisory Service

WorkSafe's advisory service is available between 7:30am and 6:30pm Monday to Friday. If you need more support, you can also contact WorkSafe using the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) or the National Relay Service.

1800 136 089 More contact options