- Cancer Information
- Practical concerns
- Cancer care and your rights
- Insurance, financial and workplace concerns
- Financial issues
Cancer can affect your financial situation, but several options are available if you are in financial stress. You might talk to a social worker for support, who may suggest speaking to a financial counsellor to help you work out a plan to manage your finances. To find a counsellor in your area, call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007. Depending on where you live, Cancer Council may be able to provide financial counselling, call 13 11 20 for more information.
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If you are struggling with debts, such as your mortgage or credit card bills, talk to your credit provider about your financial situation and your options. These may include:
- extending the time you have to repay the debt
- reducing or pausing repayments for a short time
- changing to interest-only repayments for a specified period
- renegotiating your interest rate.
If you’re not satisfied with the response you receive, you can contact the free external dispute resolution scheme run by the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.
If you’re having trouble paying your utility bills, such as electricity, gas, water, phone or internet, talk to your provider. They can often help you find ways to avoid disconnection and penalty fees.
For more information about dealing with debt and other financial matters, visit the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s consumer website at moneysmart.gov.au.
You may be eligible for a superannuation benefit on the basis of permanent or temporary incapacity or a terminal medical condition. Before you apply, it is important to get advice about how this will affect your retirement and whether there are any insurance policies attached to your superannuation account that you could claim on.
You may also be able to access some superannuation early on the basis of severe financial hardship. Talk to your super fund, or call Cancer Council 13 11 20 to see if we can connect you with a financial adviser.
For more on this, see our Superannuation and cancer fact sheet.
Services Australia (Centrelink) offers a range of payments that may be available to people with cancer, including the Mobility Allowance and the Disability Support Pension. You may also be eligible for the Pensioner Concession Card or the Health Care Card, which can help with expenses. Centrelink benefits may be income- and asset-tested or have other eligibility requirements.
Medicare also has programs to help with the costs of certain medical supplies (e.g. breast prostheses, continence aids). For details, visit Services Australia or talk to your social worker. If cancer or its treatment has caused permanent and significant disability, you may be eligible for support through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Call 1800 800 110.
Podcast: Coping with a cancer diagnosis
Prof Sarah Lewis, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, NSW; Kevin Bloom, Senior Social Worker, Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplant, Royal North Shore Hospital, NSW; Danielle Curnoe, Consumer; Alana Fitzgibbon, Clinical Nurse Consultant – Gastro-Intestinal Cancers, Cancer Services, Royal Hobart Hospital, TAS; Hall & Wilcox (law firm); Johanna Jordaan, Consumer; Dr Deme Karikios, Medical Oncologist, Nepean Cancer and Wellness Centre, Nepean Hospital, NSW; Melissa Lawrie, Breast Cancer Clinical Nurse, Cancer Services, Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service, QLD; Jacqueline Lesage, Consumer Reviewer, Cancer Voices NSW; McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, VIC; Louise Pellerade, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Andrew Potter, Consumer; Siân Slade, PhD Candidate, Nossal Institute for Global Health and Non-Executive Director (health, disability sectors), VIC; Paula Watt, Clinical Psychologist, WOMEN Centre, WA.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.