Need some financial assistance, but unsure of your options? Find out what help you may be eligible to receive and who to contact here.
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COTA Financial Counselling
COTA Victoria offers financial counselling by appointment as part of our WISE Services. They are available to any older person, are free and confidential. WISE services aim to make older people feel WISE – Welcome, Included, Supported and Empowered. There are both face-to-face services and phone services. Read more about the information available or make an appointment here.
Australian Financial Complaints Authority
The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) helps consumers resolve disputes and financial complaints. They provide free and independent advice in a variety of languages. Their website also offers a live chat to help you with the process of making a complaint. Visit AFCA’s website or call them on 1800 931 678 from 9 am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday.
Money Smart offers guidance and support for financial matters. It is a program of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). MoneySmart has several guides available online, including topics such as:
- money management
- loans, borrowing and credit
- superannuation and retirement
MoneySmart has many online tools too, including budgeting, mortgage and investment calculators. Visit their website or call MoneySmart’s contact centre on 1300 300 630 from 8.30 am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday.
RentAssist Bond Loans
A RentAssist Bond Loan provides an interest-free loan to cover tenancy bonds. Bonds are held by the Victorian Bond Authority. If your bond is returned in full at the end of your lease, you won’t need to pay for anything. However, if your landlord keeps some of the bond, you will need to repay this share.
The amount of bond assistance depends on the size of the property. See the latest limits here. You will need to meet several criteria to be approved for a bond loan. These include:
- meeting income and asset limits
- being a permanent Australian resident
- having no outstanding bond loans or money on public housing tenancies.
For more information on RentAssist Bond Loans, visit their website or call 1300 650 172.
National Rental Affordability Scheme
The National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) aims to reduce the cost of rental properties for people on lower to moderate incomes. Property owners receive a subsidy for up to 10 years. In return, the homes are rented at 80 per cent or less of the market value rate. To be eligible for an NRAS property you will need to meet several criteria, including being under the income limit. Find the most recent limits and read more about the program here. You can also view a list of all NRAS agencies in Victoria and their contact details online.
No Interest Loan Scheme
The No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) provides safe and affordable credit to people on low incomes. You can get a loan for up to $1,500 and make repayments over a 12- to 18-month period. You can use these loans for essential goods and services such as household appliances, educational requirements or medical procedures.
To be eligible, you need to:
- hold a Health Care Card or Pensioner Card, or be a low-income earner
- have lived in your current home for at least 3 months
- be willing and able to repay the loan.
Visit NILS’ website for more information, or call 13 NILS (13 64 57).
StepUp Loans provide low-interest loans to people on lower incomes. These are offered through community organisations. You can borrow between $800 and $3000 with repayment over three years. There are no fees but an interest rate of 5.99% per annum applies.
To qualify, you need to:
- have a Health Care Card or Pension Card, or receive a Family Tax Benefit
- reside in your current home for more than 3 months.
The application process involves an initial contact followed by an interview and a credit check. Find out more about StepUp Loans online or call 13 54 27.
Pension Loans Scheme
The Pension Loans Scheme lets older Australians get a fortnightly loan to supplement their pension. You will need to meet several criteria for the loan, including:
- receive or be able to get a qualifying pension
- owning real estate that can be used as security
- not being bankrupt.
It is non-taxable and you can get up to 1.5 times the maximum fortnightly payment of your pension. The loan and any costs (including interest) will need to be paid back to the government. Read more about the Pension Loan Scheme or call Centrelink’s Older Australian Helpline on 132 300 from 8 am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday.