Having treatment for cancer can require a lot of travel to and from your medical appointments. If you live in a rural or regional area, there are several ways you can save money on travel costs.
Learn more about how to:
- Make a patient transport claim
- Use your Pensioner Concession Card
- Check if you’re eligible for the Mobility Allowance
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 schemes include accommodation. In some cases, financial assistance may also be available if you need an escort or carer to travel with you to your treatment.
The eligibility rules are different for each state and territory. In general, you must be a permanent resident of the relevant state or territory, and you must need to travel a significant distance to the closest available specialist treatment.
Most patient transport assistance schemes are subsidy schemes – they pay a part of your travel and accommodation costs, but you need to pay the rest.
In some cases, benefits may be paid for interstate referrals if treatment for your condition is unavailable in your home state or territory.
→ If you meet the eligibility criteria, you and your doctor will need to complete a form. You may also need to provide original tax receipts and medical certificates to support your application. If you are the holder of a pension or health care card, you may be able to apply for assistance before paying for your travel and accommodation, rather than covering the costs yourself then seeking reimbursement later.
Forms and further information are available from the patient transport scheme in your state or territory. For contact details, call Cancer Council 13 11 20 or visit your state or territory’s Patient travel assistance scheme.
If you receive certain payments from the Department of Human Services (Centrelink), you will automatically receive a Pensioner Concession Card. This may mean you can get:
- lower fares or free travel on public transport
- reductions on car registration
- assistance with electricity, gas, property and water rates.
Carry your card with you and ask for the concession fare when you use public transport. When renewing your car registration, claim the concession rate if you are eligible – this may be checked electronically.
→ See what concessions are available in your state or territory.
If you are receiving certain Centrelink payments and the cancer or its treatment means you are unable to use public transport without a lot of assistance, you may be eligible for the Mobility Allowance.
This applies only if you are travelling to work (paid or voluntary), study or training, or to look for work. It is a regular extra amount that will be paid with your main Centrelink payment each fortnight.
→ You can check if you are eligible and submit an online claim by visiting humanservices.gov.au and typing “mobility allowance” in the search box. You can also call Centrelink on 132 717. You will need to provide a medical report from your doctor.
Keith Manchester, Senior Legal Counsel, Financial Services Legal, AMP, NSW; Alka Bisen, Financial Counsellor and Project Coordinator – Financial Assistance Services, Cancer Council NSW; Patricia Dunn, Consumer; Emily Gibson, Social Worker, Mater Hospital Brisbane, QLD; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Michelle Ruchin, Social Worker, Cancer Council SA; Robert Simon, Technical Services Manager, Tapln and Technical Strategy, AMP Advice, NSW; Krystyna Wisniewski, Consumer.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
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