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 well-being
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:
• Lifeline Australia – phone 13 11 14 for a free 24-hour crisis support service or try their crisis support chat service
• MensLine Australia – phone 1300 78 99 78 for a free 24-hour counselling service
• Relationships Australia – phone 1300 364 277 to arrange a face-to-face meeting.
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
Look to what leave entitlements you may have 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.
Check your insurance policies to see whether they would cover your bills or replace some of your income.
Types of insurance include:
• Health insurance – helps you pay medical costs not covered by Medicare.
• Total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance – covers the costs of rehabilitation, debt repayments and the future cost of living.
• Trauma cover- covers you for specified illnesses or injuries.
• Income protection – replaces some of your income if you can’t work due to injury or sickness.
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. See the ATO’s early access to your super webpage for more information.
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 tool on the Centrelink website to see what you are entitled to.
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 more information on the ASIC Moneysmart website 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. If you are facing such a situation, please ring us for a chat.
Disclosure: Christopher Connolly (280099) and Connolly Wealth Management Pty Ltd (333350) are Authorised Representatives of Wealthsure Financial Services Pty Ltd AFSL 326450.
The information contained in this email and its links/attachments are general in nature and does not take into account your personal circumstances, financial needs or objectives. Before acting on any information, you should consider the appropriateness of it and the relevant product having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. In particular, you should seek the appropriate financial advice and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or other offer document prior to acquiring any financial products.