Caring for someone with cancer can cause financial concerns. 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, tests and equipment.
Speak to a social worker or call Cancer Council 13 11 20 to find out what financial assistance is available to you. Information about financial assistance is also available from your local Carers Association – you can contact them on 1800 242 636.
The Department of Human Services offers a free, confidential Financial Information Service that provides education and information on financial issues. You can call 132 300 to speak to someone about financial issues or to find out about financial information seminars in your area.
For professional advice, you need to speak to a financial adviser (to help you manage your assets, including superannuation) or a financial counsellor (to help you set up a budget and manage debt). Cancer Council may be able to provide some financial assistance and can also refer you for financial advice through our Legal and Financial Referral Service.
Read more about managing the financial impact of a cancer diagnosis. You can also download a copy of Cancer and Your Finances from this page, or call 13 11 20 for a print copy.
As a carer, you may be eligible for particular forms of financial assistance. Your social worker or Cancer Council 13 11 20 can give you more information.
- Carer Payment – This is for carers who provide full-time daily care in the home of the sick person. This payment is income and asset-tested.
- Carer Allowance – This is for carers who provide a significant amount of assistance, either in their own home or in the home of the sick person. The allowance is not means-tested and can be paid even if you are working.
If the person travels for cancer treatment that isn’t available in their local area, they may be able to get some of their travel costs back. Eligibility for these patient assistance travel schemes (PATS) varies – read more about the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Scheme (IPTAAS) provided by NSW Health. You can also ask your social worker for more details, or call Cancer Council 13 11 20.
In some cases, you or the person you are caring for may be able to access superannuation early. It is vital to get financial advice as accessing this money may have tax implications and could affect your retirement and insurance policies.
Tina Chivende, Social Worker, Cancer Psychosocial Service, Canberra Region Cancer Centre, ACT; Gabrielle Asprey, Telephone Support Group Facilitator, Cancer Council NSW; Dr Ben Britton, Senior Clinical and Health Psychologist, Calvary Mater Newcastle and John Hunter Hospital, and Conjoint Lecturer, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, NSW; Valmai Goodwin, Psychologist, Cancer Counselling Service, Cancer Council QLD; Karen Hall, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Zoe Mitchell, Senior Social Worker, Palliative Care, Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA; Amber Rose, Consumer; Carolina Simpson, Policy and Development Officer, Carers NSW.
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Click below to download a PDF booklet on this topic.