Dealing with illness

Looking after yourself and your finances

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 your emotional wellbeing

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 Australia.

Check your financial entitlements

Leave entitlements 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 carer's leave information. 

Insurance cover

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.

Government assistance

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 entitled to.

Video: Rob explains how a major illness affected his finances

Video about managing your finances if you face illness

High school teacher Rob talks about the financial impact of dealing with a major illness.

Ask for a hardship variation to your bills and debts

If you are finding it hard to pay bills, credit cards or loan repayments, talk to 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 hardship.

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.

While it may be the last thing on your mind, sorting out your finances can help to make you feel more secure and in control.

Related links

Last updated: 19 Feb 2019