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 – call 13 11 20 to find out more. You can also request a copy of Cancer and Your Finances, or download it from this page.
The Department of Human Services (Centrelink) has various schemes 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 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 from state to state. 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.