Emergency help with finances

If you or someone you know is experiencing financial stress, there are services that can help. You might be able to access:

  • food vouchers
  • chemist vouchers
  • transport vouchers
  • help with rent or accommodation costs
  • help toward the cost of bills
  • material help, such as food hampers or clothing, and sometimes cash.

Emergency financial assistance

The following organisations can help in an emergency:

If you receive Centrelink income support payments and are in severe financial hardship, you might be able to access a one-off crisis payment.

Emergency Electricity Payment Scheme

You might be able to get an Emergency Electricity Payment Scheme (EEPS) payment if you’re at risk of your electricity being disconnected. EEPS is only accessible through financial counsellors (see below), who will assess your financial situation before lodging an application. You can only receive an EEPS payment once every three years.

Help with utility bills

ConnectEd is a state government funded program that provides information and individual case management to help you manage your energy, water and telecommunications use and bills. If you have high energy bills, you might also be able to get a home energy visit from a qualified assessor.

Community associations can also contact the ConnectEd team for utilities information and training sessions.

Financial counselling

Financial counsellors provide free, confidential, financial education and support to householders who are experiencing financial difficulties.

A financial counsellor can:

  • negotiate and advocate with other organisations, such as energy retailers, on your behalf
  • develop strategies for helping you manage your finances and bills
  • help you set up affordable payment plans for outstanding bills
  • help you access hardship programs
  • help you apply for concessions and emergency relief.

It might be a good time to contact a financial counsellor when you:

  • have complex debt, such as a mix of credit card debt and loans
  • are worried about managing expenses or are struggling to pay living expenses
  • are struggling to meet rent or mortgage payments
  • have been compromising on food or health costs to meet other expenses
  • have been borrowing from payday lenders, friends or family to address outstanding debt
  • have been contacted by a debt collector
  • have been taken to court for a debt.

The following organisations can help in an emergency:

Alternatively, the South Australian Financial Counsellors Association can help you find a financial counsellor near you.

Loans and micro-finance

Micro-finance schemes can help you to purchase essential household items if you are on a low income or experiencing financial hardship. You can also use them to pay your utility bills.

No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS)

NILS provides no-fee, interest-free loans for people living on a low income.

Loans can be used to purchase essential household items like fridges, washing machines and furniture, education essentials (such as computers and text books) and some medical and dental services, but can’t be used for regular household expenses such as rent, bills or food.

For eligibility criteria, further information and a list of loan providers, visit the NILS website.

Wyatt Trust Financial Assistance Grants

The Wyatt Trust’s Financial Assistance Grants stream provides small, one-off grants to eligible South Australian individuals and families for essential household goods and services, including utility bills, rental or mortgage arrears, essential household furniture or second-hand white goods.

Only people working in a recognised agency on behalf of clients experiencing financial hardship can submit applications for financial assistance grants, such as a financial counsellor or community worker. For more information, visit the Wyatt website.

Related information

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Page last updated 17 December 2021

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