Money-Saving'n'Welfare Tips

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Centrelink and other Government Services


Social Security Rights Victoria - this is a great organisation that offers free strategic advice for recipients of Centrelink payments and benefits.


Centrelink Mobility Allowance - this Centrelink payment is available to some Centrelink recipients who do voluntary or paid work for a minimum of 8 hours per week and who require substantial assistance to use public transport.

Centrelink low income health care card - this is available to people who meet certain criteria, including students, foster carers and those earning a low income - regardless of whether they are on other Centrelink payments.


Centrelink Essential Medical Equipment Payment - this enables eligible people to receive an annual payment towards the power costs of running essential medical equipment.


Centrelink Bereavement Payment – Helps ease the adjustment to changed financial circumstances after the death of your partner, child or person you were caring for.


Utility Relief Grant and Non-Mains Utility Relief Grant schemes – The Utility Relief Grant Scheme and the Non-Mains Utility Relief Grant Scheme provide assistance for domestic customers who are unable to pay their utility bills due to a temporary financial crisis.


Australian Government Act of Grace Payments
The act of grace power is intended to ensure consistency and equity in the impact of government activities where other legislative and administrative provisions do not take sufficient account of the unique circumstances of individual cases.


The Victorian Government Electricity Transfer Fee Waiver provides a full waiver of the fee that is normally payable to the electricity retailers when there is a change of occupancy at a property. Similar schemes also exist in other states. Contact your electricity provider for more information.

Medical Schemes


Continence Aids Payment Scheme
Assists eligible people who have permanent and severe incontinence to meet some of the costs associated with continence and continence related products.


Medicare Chronic Disease Management (CDM) scheme (formerly known as the Enhanced Primary Care or EPC scheme) - this allows eligible patients to receive Medicare benefits for consultations with allied health professionals such as physiotherapists, osteopaths, dieticians, etc. See your local GP for a referral.


Medicare Mental Health Care Plan - this allows eligible patients to receive Medicare benefits for 6 or 10 sessions with a psychologist or mental health practitioner per calendar year. See your local GP for a referral.


DHS Medical Cooling Concession - this offers a 17.5% discount off electricity costs over a six-month period from 1 November to 30 April for concession cardholders with multiple sclerosis and other qualifying medical conditions such as Parkinson's disease, fibromyalgia and motor neuron disease. (NB: This is in addition to the normal concession discount of 17.5% in winter months.)


Disability Services


Solve Disability Solutions (formerly TadVic's Technology for Independent Living service) makes custom equipment for people with a disability throughout Victoria. Their service helps people with disabilities, for whom no commercially available solution meets their needs.


Travellers Aid Australia assists travellers at the point of need, to ensure that they reach their destination safely and confidently. It is especially helpful for people who are ill or have physical disabilities.


Ryder Cheshire Homes - low cost accommodation for people from the country and interstate needing to stay in Melbourne while undergoing treatment at Melbourne hospitals for cancer and other serious illnesses.


The State-wide Equipment Program (SWEP) – SWEP provides Victorian people who either have a permanent or long-term disability or are frail aged with subsidised aids, equipment and home and vehicle modifications to enhance their independence and facilitate community participation.


National Disability Insurance Scheme endeavours to ensure people with disability continue to get the support they need, and support a better life for hundreds of thousands of Australians with a significant and permanent disability and their families and carers.


Emergency Assistance


Walter and Eliza Hall Trust Survival Fund - this provides financial assistance for almost any purpose considered necessary for the applicant’s health and wellbeing, but the Trust is positioned as a provider of last resort assistance.

The Queen's Fund provides assistance to women who are single, widowed, separated, or divorced and in special cases where a husband or partner may be totally incapacitated. Women must have resided in Victoria for 12 months and assistance can only be given once in any one year.

Loan Schemes and Scholarships


'No Interest Loan' Scheme offers small, no interest loans for people on low incomes for the purchase of essential household goods, in the range of approximately $800-$1,000.


StepUP Loan Scheme offers personal, unsecured loans between $800 and $3,000 for individuals and families living on a low income, at a basic interest rate significantly below commercial bank interest rates.


The AddsUp Saving Plan - this entitles eligible applicants (who have completed a NILS loan) to receive up to $500 from the NAB.

ANZ Savers Plus – scheme to help with educational expenses.


Children of Phoenix Scholarship – To help with education costs for women survivors of child abuse.


Australian Disability and Indigenous Peoples' Education Fund – Educational scholarship for people with disabilities or of indigenous background

Money-Saving Tips


SwitchWise is a free Australian services which makes it easy to perform an electricity or gas comparison for your home so that you can quickly see a great range of savings that might be available.


SMSPup is a free Australian online SMS sending facility.


iSelect - a free service offering individualised comparisons on insurance and utilities costs.


All the Deals - All Australia's best deals on one site.


Savings Guide - How to Save Money on Credit Cards, Budgeting, Shopping.


RACV Petrol Prices - search for petrol pries around Melbourne.


MotorMouth - search for petrol prices (includes free daily emails with prices for your local petrol stations).


Thinking Green


Green-bank - this entitles applicants to a range of rebates for investing in environmentally friendly products.


GreenPC - inexpensive recycled computers.


Local Energy Trading System (LETS) - People trading goods and services using alternative currency. Non profit, community focused.


Freecycle - a grassroots and entirely non-profit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills.


Ziilch – Amazing free stuff given away every day. Best freebies in Australia. Free books, clothes, baby items, furniture. Freecycle, declutter and keep out of landfill.



'Never hesitate to hold out your hand and never hesitate to accept the outstretched hand of another.' – Pope John Paul XXIII