Nourish

Securing your finances and future - steps to take and where to go for help.

3f. Financial assistance for living costs

Est. read time: 2 min

Utilities

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Contacting your provider

If you're having trouble paying bills the first thing you should do is contact your provider. Most companies have hardship officers who can help you work out a plan to pay your bills in instalments. Some useful sources of information are:

As part of the COVID–19 measures, until 30 June 2021, Synergy and Horizon Power will not disconnect a residential customer in financial hardship and receiving assistance via a Synergy or Horizon Power hardship program, payment plan or payment extension.  More information can be found at the WA Government website.

Hardship Utilities Grant Scheme (HUGS)

HUGS provides a one off grant to help Western Australians experiencing financial hardship who are at risk of having their utilities disconnected. The maximum grant per applicant is $581 (or $962 for those living north of the 26th Parallel – approximately Shark Bay on the Western Australian coast). More information can be found at the Hardship Utilities Grant Scheme webpage.

Dependent Child Electricity Rebate

This provides assistance to eligible concession card holders with dependent children to meet electricity costs. The rebate is calculated according to the number of dependent children on your concession card. More information can be found at the Dependent Child Electricity Rebate webpage.

Phones

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Banks

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Further information on how banks can help can be found at 1b. How can your bank or financial advisor help when you are preparing to leave?

Assistance with rent

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Department of Housing rental assistance whilst in a refuge

If you rent a Department of Housing home and need to stay at Women's Refuge you can put in an application for the “absentee minimum rent” of $10 per week for up to 3 months. Contact the Housing Authority on 1800 093 325.

Residential Rent Relief Grant Scheme

If you are eligible up to the closing date of 28 June 2021, you can apply for:

  • future rent support (up to $2,000) if you have faced a significant rental increase you can’t afford after 28 March 2021; and
  • and rent arrears assistance (up to $4,000) paid directly to your landlord including for rent that was waived or reduced during the COVID-19 emergency period.

Further information can be found at the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website.

No Interest Loans for living costs

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The No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS)

Thius scheme offers loans without interest up to $1,500 for essentials, goods and services such as white-goods, furniture, and education expenses.  The loans provide a safe and affordable alternative to high cost finance options such as payday loans or “rent to buy” plans which can promise fast cash but may end up worsening financial difficulties.

To be eligible for NILS you must have a healthcare or pension card, earn under $45,000, have lived in your current residence for 3 months and have a willingness and capacity to repay the loan.  There are no credit checks.  NILS  loans cannot be used for cash, holidays or paying bills like rent.

More information can be found at the Good Shepherd website or WA No Interest Loans website.

Covid hardship support and loans without interest

You may be eligible for household relief loans up to $3,000 for rent, rates, body corporate fees and utility bills – with no interest, charges or fees.  You can also get advice through a free COVID hardship support line.  Further information can be found by calling 1300 121 130 or at the Household relief website.

Other useful links

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[Article updated: 29/5/21]

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