Pro Bono Program: Free legal, financial planning, workplace and small business assistance
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A cancer diagnosis may mean a loss of income, on top of many out of pocket costs that may not be covered by insurance. Cancer Council’s Pro Bono Program helps people affected by cancer access free legal, financial, small business accounting and workplace assistance, where they would be otherwise unable to do so due to cost, illness or other barriers.
Cancer Council does not provide advice directly. We connect people affected by cancer with a volunteer professional in the community who will provide advice and assistance. Usually, people will meet professionals at their office, however, assistance may be provided via phone and email where needed.
If you speak a language other than English, we can arrange a telephone interpreter for you.
Lawyers involved in the Cancer Council Pro Bono Program may be able to assist with:
- Wills, powers of attorney and enduring guardianship
- Superannuation and insurance disputes
- Employment law and discrimination
- Credit and debt matters
- Centrelink disputes
- Tenancy law
Financial planners involved in the Cancer Council Pro Bono Program may be able to assist you with:
- Accessing superannuation and insurance
- Advice in relation to debt management
- Eligibility and accessing Centrelink payments
- Transitioning to retirement and managing lump sum payments.
HR professionals provide advice to people affected by cancer on employment issues and rights before, during and after treatment.
For people affected by cancer who are employed, HR professionals can provide information and advice on the following:
- Disclosure of a cancer diagnosis and confidentiality obligations
- Flexible working arrangements entitlements
- Leave and payment of salary during sickness leave
- Managing expectations of employers and colleagues
- Discrimination at work.
For people who would like to return to work following a cancer diagnosis or caring for a person affected by cancer, HR professionals can provide advice on the following:
- Strategies when looking for work, including obligations to tell a new employer about past cancer
- How to explain the gap in a CV due to your treatment when applying for a job
- Preparing and reviewing a CV and interview techniques.
Small business accountants can provide advice and assistance to small business owners on how to manage their business during treatment. They may be able to assist with:
- Bookkeeping, BAS lodgement and management of business debts
- Managing disruption to business during treatment
- Strategies to improve business performance
- Preparing a business for sale/winding up.
To find out more about these services, please call:
- Our Information and Support line: 13 11 20 (Monday to Friday: 9am – 5pm)
- Our Translator service: 13 14 50
You can also speak to a social worker at your treatment centre and they can refer you.
Do I have to pay for these services?
Advice is provided by volunteer professionals and is free for people who cannot afford to pay for it. Cancer Council will ask a series of financial questions to determine whether you are eligible for free assistance.
If you don’t qualify for free assistance, we can put you in touch with a professional who can assist on a paid basis.
Legal and financial issues booklets and fact sheets: Downloadable pdfs with information around common legal, financial and workplace issues for people affected by cancer
Sign up to our e-newsletter, Pro Bono Press, to stay up to date with the latest news and information about our services and current issues impacting people affected by cancer.
Professional volunteers: If you are a lawyer, financial planner, accountant or HR/recruitment professional interested in volunteering to assist people affected by cancer through our Pro Bono Program, please contact us via the form below.
Legal volunteer roles: If you are a law student in your penultimate year (or above) or you are looking to gain skills while giving back to the community, the Cancer Council Pro Bono Program offers volunteer roles. Volunteers generally work 1-2 days per week and get hands-on experience in the delivery of legal, financial and workplace services to people affected by cancer.