Dealing with illness
Looking after yourself and your
Dealing with illness can be stressful - both financially and
emotionally. Money may be the last thing on your mind, but it's
important to consider your finances and make sure you get what you
are entitled to.
Take care of yourself
Finding out you have an illness can be incredibly emotional and
traumatic. Be kind to yourself and make sure you seek support from
family and friends. Search online for support networks and
community health organisations for your particular illness.
Don't be afraid to seek emotional support from a professional.
If you are a Centrelink customer, find out about the Department of Human Services'
social work services or phone 13 17 94.
You can also contact:
You might also like to contact a financial counsellor who can
provide information to people in financial difficulty. Free,
independent and confidential counselling services are available
through Financial Counselling
Make sure you're getting
what you're entitled to
From your employer
Check with your employer to find out how much paid sick leave
you are entitled to. To find out more about your rights at work see
the Fair Work Ombudsman's Sick and carers leave
From your insurer
Check your insurance policies to see whether they would cover
your bills or replace some of your income.
Types of insurance include:
Make sure you claim as soon as you can because there is often a
waiting period before the policy pays out.
Early release of superannuation
There are some very limited circumstances in which you can
access your super before you retire. These situations include if
you suffer incapacity, on compassionate grounds or if you have a
terminal medical condition. More on
early release of super.
If you're unable to work because of your injury or illness or
because you are caring for someone, you may be entitled to a
government payment. Check with the Department of Human Services by
completing the payment finder to see what you are
Ask for a hardship
variation to your bills and debts
If you are finding it hard to pay bills, credit cards or loan
repayments, the first step is to talk with your provider and let
them know you are experiencing financial hardship.
Many companies have hardship officers who can assess your
situation and work out what help is available. Hardship officers
can also help you work out an affordable payment plan such as
paying bills in instalments or temporarily altering your loan
repayments. See our information on
Financial counsellors can help you negotiate payments and apply
for a hardship variation.
Find a financial counsellor near you.
You can also contact Kildonan Uniting Care who offer
a financial counselling for families with children and young people
living with cancer through their WeCare service.
Get back on track
Illnesses can have a significant impact on your finances, as you
will typically have extra costs and potentially less income. When
you are ready it's important to do a stocktake of what money is
coming in and what's going out.
See how much you are spending and how much you can save.
If you don't have adequate insurance, you can apply for a new
policy even when you are unwell. More information about
Case study: Felicity gets back on track
Felicity is a 40 year old school teacher. About
three years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which meant
she underwent several medical treatments including chemotherapy.
During this period, the pain meant that Felicity could not work or
care for her young children.
Felicity's partner, Tom, had to take time off work to care for
Felicity and their kids. Both Tom and Felicity had very
understanding employers and were able to keep their jobs despite
extended periods off work. Tom managed to speak with the bank about
delaying their mortgage repayments for six weeks. However, with
both Felicity and Tom not working they were really struggling to
pay bills and household costs.
Luckily Felicity had income protection insurance which even
provided a partial income for Tom in his caring duties. Felicity is
now in remission and enjoying being back at work.
While it may be the last thing on your mind,
sorting out your finances can help to make you feel more secure and
Last updated: 29 Mar 2018