The information below provides brief details of assistance available to help with the cost of living. Further details, including eligibility criteria and contact information, is provided in the links.
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:
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.
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?
Department of Housing rental assistance whilst in a refugeTOP
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.
No and Low Interest LoansTOP
There are a number of organisations that offer a range of low cost loans and other services including:
- No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) offers loans without interest up to $1,500 for essentials, goods and services such as white-goods, furniture, and education expenses.
- StepUP Loans are available for amounts of between $800 and $3,000. Whilst this loan does charge interest, the rate is lower than many other options, you have three years to pay it back and there are no fees.
NILS and StepUP 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.
To be eligible for a StepUP loan you need to have a Health Care or Pension Card or qualify for Family Tax Benefit A, and have lived at your current address for three months. As StepUP loans are bank loans, they require a credit check.
NILS and StepUP loans cannot be used for cash, holidays or paying bills like rent.
Other useful linksTOP