Dealing with illness is often unexpected and stressful. Getting emotional and financial support can help you manage.
If you're unable to work because you or your family have been hospitalised or in isolation because of COVID-19, you may be entitled to government assistance.
Get financial support
See a financial counsellor
If you're feeling overwhelmed, a financial counsellor can help you manage your money during this difficult time. They can help you review your budget, your bills and your debts, and find ways to improve your situation.
Medicare helps with the costs of seeing a doctor, getting medicines, and accessing mental health care. See what's covered by Medicare.
Help with bills and mortgage
If you're finding it hard to pay your utility bills or mortgage, contact your service provider or bank. Ask about other options for payment, including. Their financial hardship team can help. They may be able to extend the due date, let you make smaller repayments over a longer period, or postpone your repayments.
For step-by-step help, see:
- Problems paying your bills and fines
- Problems paying your mortgage
- Struggling to pay your rent (National Debt Helpline website)
If you're in crisis or struggling to make ends meet, see urgent help with money. Find services to help you with food, housing and bills, as well as emotional support.
Use your leave, insurance and super
Leave from your employer
Most employees — but not casual employees — can take paid leave when they can't work because of an illness. This is called personal leave or sick leave, and it can cover stress and pregnancy-related illnesses.
Ask your employer how much paid sick leave you're entitled to. You may also be able to get unpaid leave or carer's leave (if you're a carer). The Fair Work Ombudsman website has more information about paid sick leave and carer's leave.
Some insurance policies cover costs related to illness. Check your policies, including any insurance you hold through your super fund. Check any:
- Health insurance — May help you pay for medical costs not covered by Medicare
- Total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance — Covers the costs of rehabilitation, debt repayments and the cost of living
- Trauma cover — Covers you for specified illnesses or injuries.
- Income protection insurance — Replaces some of your income if you can't work due to injury or illness.
Getting your super early
If you're unable to work because of a medical condition, you may be able to get your super early. For more information about whether you're eligible, see getting your super.
Get emotional support
Finding out that you or someone close to you has a serious illness can be traumatic.
If you're struggling, a professional can help you deal with your situation and give you confidential support.
Ask your doctor or search online to find support networks or groups. Connecting with others who are experiencing the same illness can also be a good way to share information.
online Crisis Support Chat
Depression, anxiety and grief support
1300 22 46 36
Counselling and support organisations for carers
1800 422 737
8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday
Social work and counselling services
13 17 94
Information, support and resources for people living with chronic illness and their loved ones