Help for Low-Income Families Facing an Emergency

The below programs are specific to Australians however similar programs are provided by most countries governments and non-profits. The below is to give you an idea of the types of assistance that me be available in your country.

If you are low-income and facing an emergency of any type, there is help available. The government has set up several programs that are designed to help people who are facing a significant financial hardship. These programs offer temporary financial support to help you get through this difficult time. Eligibility varies for each service offered, but most of these programs are design specifically for low-income families. Here is a look at the top benefits available for low-income families facing an emergency.

Crisis Payments

A crisis payment is a one-time payment that is made to people who are experiencing a severe financial hardship. Some examples include a person who is homeless due to domestic abuse, or a person who has just been released from jail. This payment is equal to one week’s worth of income support payments. A limit of four payments can be received within a 12-month period, but only one payment for each specific crisis. The crisis payment must also be requested within seven days of the date the life-changing event took place.

Community Engagement Offices

Community engagement offices are designed to help people with a wide range of issues, such as financial problems, homelessness, drug abuse, mental illness, and domestic violence. These offices can provide financial support to help low-income people get the services they need, such as housing, drug treatment, or therapy.

Advance Lump-sum Payment

In extreme cases, low-income people may also be eligible to receive an advance lump-sum payment from their regular Centrelink payments. This amount will then be slowly deducted off future Centrelink payments. This is benefit is available to those people who face an extreme emergency and meet eligibility requirements.

Special Benefit

If you are having a difficult time meeting the immediate needs of your family because of an emergency or your income level is too low, you may be eligible for a Special Benefit payment. This benefit may include long or short-term payments depending on your specific set of circumstances. Certain income and asset eligibility requirements must be met, as well as, residence requirements.

Early Release of Superannuation

In extreme cases, you may be eligible to have an early release of some, or all, of your superannuation funds. This is only allowed in cases of severe financial hardship, terminal illness, or if you are leaving the country on a permanent basis. This early release of funds will help you in the short-term, but will reduce the amount of funds available to you at your retirement age. This should be considered only after all other options have been exhausted.

No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS)

If you are already receiving Centrelink payments, you may be eligible to receive a no-interest loan from the government. You may obtain a loan of up to $1,200 and repayments can be made over the course of 12 to 18 months. You may not obtain a second NILS loan until the first one is paid off.

StepUp Loan

You may also be eligible to receive a StepUp loan in the amount of up to $3,000. These low-interest loans require you to meet certain income eligibility requirements. These types of loans can be repaid over the course of three years.

If you are facing an emergency situation, any, or all, of the programs listed above may be able to help you obtain the funds you need. This can help you until you are able to secure stable income and housing. You may also want to check with several charities, such as the Salvation Army, or local churches for additional funding and support.

This post was submitted by a guest author. 

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