Caring for someone with cancer can cause financial concerns.
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There may be a drop in your household income if you or the person you are caring for needs to reduce work hours or stop working. There may also be new expenses such as transport, medicines, scans and tests. Treatment may mean you need to buy or rent equipment and aids.
The government agency Services Australia offers a free, confidential Financial Information Service that provides education and information on financial matters.
Getting advice from a professional can help. Options include:
- Financial planner – help people manage their assets, including superannuation. To find a planner, visit fpa.com.au/find-a-planner.
- Financial counsellor – can help set up a budget and manage debt. The National Debt Helpline can help you find a financial counsellor.
Cancer Council may be able to provide some financial assistance and you may be eligible for financial advice through our Legal and Financial Referral Service – call 13 11 20 to find out more.
For more on this, see Cancer and your finances.
Finding financial support for carers
Services Australia offers various payments for carers. The Carer Payment is for carers who provide full- time daily care in the home of the sick person. This payment is income- and asset-tested. The Carer Allowance is for carers who provide extra daily care. There is an income test but no asset test.
Every state and territory has a government scheme that provides financial help to people who need to travel long distances to access specialist medical treatment that is not available in their local area. Many of these schemes include accommodation. In some cases, financial assistance may also be available if a carer needs to travel with the patient to treatment.
Eligibility for these patient assistance travel schemes (PATS) varies from state to state. Ask your social worker for more details, or call Cancer Council 13 11 20.
You or the person you are caring for may be able to access superannuation early. Keep in mind that accessing this money may have tax implications and could affect your retirement income and insurance policies.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides Australians aged under 65 who have a permanent and significant disability with funding for support and services. Call 1800 800 110.
GP management plan
People diagnosed with cancer may be eligible to claim through Medicare for up to five allied health service appointments a year, including with a psychologist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist or dietitian. Ask the GP for more information.
Most electricity, gas, water or phone providers offer flexible payment options to customers who are having trouble paying their bills. Check whether the person’s providers have hardship programs.
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Dr Laura Kirsten, Principal Clinical Psychologist, Nepean Cancer Care Centre, NSW; Mary Bairstow, Senior Social Worker, Cancer Centre, Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA; Anne Booms, Nurse Practitioner – Supportive and Palliative Care, Icon Cancer Centre Midland, WA; Dr Erica Cameron-Taylor, Staff Specialist, Department of Palliative Care, Mercy Hospice, Calvary Mater Newcastle, NSW; Tracey Gardner, Senior Psychologist, Cancer Counselling Service, Cancer Council Queensland; Louise Good, Cancer Nurse Consultant, WA; Verity Jausnik, Senior Policy Officer, Carers Australia; David Larkin, Cancer Supportive Care Manager, Canberra Region Cancer Centre, Canberra Hospital and Health Service, ACT; Kate Martin, Consumer; John McMath, Consumer; Simone Noelker, Physiotherapist and Wellness Centre Coordinator, Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre, VIC; Tara Redemski, Senior Physiotherapist – Cancer Care, Gold Coast University Hospital, QLD; Dean Rowe, Consumer; Chris Sibthorpe, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland.
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