Emergency Assistance

If you are in financial hardship and struggling to meet your basic needs, emergency assistance is available from services across Australia.

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This page has information about what emergency financial assistance, is available and where to go for help.  It has information about help with food and household bills, help for defence force veterans in financial hardship, Centrelink crisis and advance payments, help for people who have experienced family and domestic violence, housing assistance for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and mental health support available for people in crisis or feeling overwhelmed.

At the bottom of this page we have information about other financial assistance available such as utility grants, cost of living assistance, No Interest Loans (NILs) for essential goods and services, and more.

If you are struggling financially, it is worth checking what assistance is available to you.

If you don’t know where to start, call us on 1800 007 007 to speak with one of our financial counsellors.

Please note:  the National Debt Helpline financial counsellors do not provide crisis support or emergency relief but they can refer you to services that can.

Emergency Relief

Emergency relief supports people experiencing financial distress or hardship and who have limited means to ease their financial situation.

Emergency relief services are delivered by community organisations and help people address immediate basic needs in times of crisis.

The type of assistance offered by each organisation varies, however may include one-off assistance such as:

  • food, transport, telephone or chemist vouchers
  • rent or emergency accommodation
  • part-payment of utility (electricity, gas and water) account/s
  • food parcels or clothing
  • budgeting assistance and/or
  • referrals to other services that help to address underlying causes of financial crisis.

There are more than 1300 outlets for emergency relief across Australia.  You can find your closest service by:

  • using the Ask Izzy search tool
  • calling the Salvation Army on 13 72 58
  • calling St Vincent de Paul Society on 13 18 12
  • calling Anglicare on 1300 111 278
  • contacting your local church, community centre or community organisation and find out where emergency relief is provided in your area.

When you speak to the provider explain your circumstances.  They will help you with the process of getting the emergency relief that you need.

Bravery Trust

Bravery Trust is a national military charity that provides financial aid, financial counselling, and educational support to injured Australian Defence Force veterans and their families who are in financial hardship.

See Bravery Trust or call them on 1800 272 837 for more information.


Centrelink Crisis Payments

There are different types of Crisis Payments for different circumstances.

To get a Crisis Payment you need to meet eligibility criteria for the type of Crisis Payment you are claiming AND you must meet all the following criteria:

  • Be in severe financial hardship.
  • Receive or be eligible to receive a Centrelink income support payment or ABSTUDY Living Allowance.
  • Be experiencing one of the following extreme circumstances:
    • COVID-19 – you or someone you are caring for are required to quarantine or self-isolate
    • Family and Domestic Violence – you have experienced an incident of family and domestic violence
    • Disaster – you have had to leave your home because of a natural or other disaster not covered by a disaster relief payment
    • Humanitarian – you have arrived in Australia as a humanitarian entrant for the first time
    • Confinement – you were released from prison or psychiatric confinement.
    • Other – you had to change where you live for another reason such as fire, flood or community violence.

If you are eligible, the payment is equal to one week of your income support payment or ABSTUDY Living Allowance.

  • In most cases you must contact Centrelink within 7 days of your extreme circumstance occurring in order to claim the Crisis Payment.
  • You can still claim a Crisis Payment even if you get emergency relief from community organisations or charities.

For more information about Centrelink Crisis Payments see Services Australia – Crisis Payment.

Centrelink Advance Payment

If you receive a Centrelink income support payment or Family Tax Benefit (Part A) and need to access additional funds, you may qualify for a Centrelink Advance Payment.

  • This is not an extra payment.  You will need to pay this money back over time out of future payments from Centrelink.
  • If you qualify, the advance payment will be paid to you as a lump sum.
  • The amount you can get as an advance depends on which payment you are getting from Centrelink.
  • In most cases, you can access a Centrelink advance payment twice a year.

For more information about Centrelink Advance Payments see Services Australia – Advance Payment.

Centrelink – other payments

If your income has reduced or your circumstances have changed, you should apply for all government assistance payments for which you are eligible.

Centrelink provides a range of payments and services. These include JobSeeker payment, rent assistance, family tax benefit, health-care and concession cards, and more.

You can check what payments and other assistance you could be entitled to by using the Centrelink Payment and Service Finder.

Also, see our page on Government Benefits for more information.

Family and Domestic Violence

If you are in a situation of danger now, please call 000.

If you are experiencing family violence and need immediate support or advice, call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 and they can help you with information, counselling and support.

Escaping Violence Payment

The Escaping Violence Payment (EVP) Program is available for people 18+ who have recently experienced intimate partner violence, have a changed living situation and are experiencing financial stress.

If you are trying to leave or have recently left intimate partner violence, and you are struggling with finances to live your life in safety, you could be eligible for up to $5,000 financial assistance:

  • Up to $1500 in cash (or cash equivalent based on your needs and preferences)
  • Up to $3500 in goods and services such as removalists, bonds or basics for a new home
  • Time limited wrap-around support including casework from the EVP provider.

There is more information, including how to apply, here.

Red Cross – Family and Domestic Violence Financial Assistance Program

The program can provide financial support to people who are:

  • not Australian citizens or Permanent Residents, and
  • are experiencing or at risk of family and domestic violence (FDV), and
  • are experiencing financial hardship.

The Red Cross FDV Financial Assistance program may can help eligible people with:

  • payments of up to $5,000 to help cover expenses such as accommodation, food and medical care.
  • referrals to specialist services
  • support coordination for up to 3 months

There is more information, including how to apply, here.

Housing Support

If you are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, there are services across Australia that can help with emergency or temporary accommodation, rental bond, applying for social housing and other housing assistance.

The telephone services listed below are run by government and community organisations and are a good first point of contact.  You can contact the telephone service in your state or territory for more information and assistance.

Australian Capital Territory
Phone: 1800 176 468
Mon – Fri 8 am to 6 pm
New South Wales
Phone: 1800 152 152
24 hours a day. 7 days a week.
Northern Territory

This is a website directory of all homeless services for people living in the NT.

Homeless Hotline
Phone: 1800 474 753
24 hours a day. 7 days a week.
South Australia
Homeless Connect SA
Phone: 1800 003 308
24 hours a day. 7 days a week.
Housing Connect
Phone: 1800 800 588
24 hours a day. 7 days a week.
Phone: 1800 825 955
24 hours a day. 7 days a week.
Western Australia
Entrypoint Perth
Phone: 1800 124 684
Mon – Fri 9 am to 7pm
Saturday 9am to 5pm
Closed Sundays and public holidays

Mental Health and Wellbeing Support

If you are experiencing a personal crisis or feeling overwhelmed and finding it difficult to cope, help is available.  You can contact any one of these free and confidential services any time during the day or night.

Crisis support
Phone: 13 11 14
24 hours a day. 7 days a week.
Online chat available via the website.
Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Crisis Support

Phone: 13 92 76
24 hours a day. 7 days a week.

National crisis support line for mob who are feeling overwhelmed or having difficulty coping. Confidential one-on-one yarning with a Lifeline-trained Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Crisis Supporter.

Anxiety and depression
Beyond Blue
Phone: 1300 224 636
24 hours a day. 7 days a week.
Online chat available via the website.
Domestic, family and sexual violence counselling and support
Phone: 1800 737 732
24 hours a day.  7 days a week.
Online chat available via the website.
Elder Abuse

Elder Abuse Helpline
Phone: 1300 651 192
Mon – Fri  9 am to 5 pm

Young people aged between 5 and 25 counselling and support

Kids Help Line
Phone: 1800 551 800
Online chat available via the website.

Counselling and support for Australian men

MensLine Australia
Phone: 1300 789 978
24 hours a day.  7 days a week.
Online chat available via the website.

Alcohol or other drug use
Family Drug Support Line
Phone: 1300 368 186
24 hours a day. 7 days a week.
Gambling Help Online
National Gambling Helpline
Phone: 1800 858 858
24 hours a day. 7 days a week.
Online chat available via the website.

Speak to one of our Financial Counsellors

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need some help to deal with your financial hardship, you can speak with one of our financial counsellors.

Financial counsellors aren’t judgmental about your circumstances – they’re here to offer you free, confidential and independent advice and assistance.

To speak to a financial counsellor you can:

  • Call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 – open Weekdays from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.
  • Use our live chat service by clicking the chat icon in the bottom right corner of your screen. Live chat is available 9:00 am to 8.00 pm weekdays. If you send a message outside these hours a financial counsellor will get back to you.
  • Make an appointment to see a financial counsellor in your local area – Find a local Financial Counsellor.

Other assistance available

Utility relief grants and concessions

If you are struggling to pay your electricity, gas or water bills there are utility relief grants (or bill assistance) and concessions (or discounts) available from your state or territory government.  The eligibility requirements, type and amount of assistance varies from state to state.

Ask your electricity, gas or water provider for information about grants and concessions available or refer to your state or territory government website for more information.

Read more about utility bill hardship and assistance available on our Electricity, Gas & Water bills page.

State and Territory Government Assistance

Australian Capital Territory

  • The ACT Government has a range of discounts, rebates and subsidies to relieve cost of living pressures in areas like housing, transport, bills and dental care.
  • Use the ACT Government – Savings Finder for a list of the savings that may be relevant to you and information on how to apply.

New South Wales

  • The NSW Government has a range of rebates and savings available to help ease the cost of living for NSW residents.  These include Toll Relief, Energy Rebates, Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) vouchers, the NSW Spectacles program and more.
  • See NSW Government – Savings Finder for more information or to use the Savings Finder to find rebates and savings you may be eligible for.

Northern Territory


  • The QLD Government has a range of concessions and savings available to help ease the cost of living for QLD residents.  These include the Electricity Rebate Scheme, Home Energy Emergency Assistance Scheme, Bond loans and rental grants, Spectacle Supply Scheme, Oral health Scheme, and more.
  • See QLD Government – Cost of Living Support for more information.

South Australia

  • The SA Government has a range of concessions, benefits and grants available to help ease the cost of living for SA residents. These include energy bill concessions, School Card scheme, FuneralAssistanceSA, GlassesSA, and more.
  • See SA Government – Concessions and Grants for more information.


  • The Tasmanian government offers a wide range of discounts and concessions to individuals and households to help with the cost of living and access to essential services. These include annual electricity concession, private rental assistance, Student Assistance Scheme, Spectacles Assistance Scheme, and more.
  • See TAS Government – Discounts and Concessions for more information.


  • A range of concessions and grants are available to Victorians who are on low incomes or experiencing hardship and need help meeting the cost of living. These include the Utility Relief Grant Scheme, MyPost Concession Account, Victorian Eyecare Service, Bereavement assistance, and more.
  • See VIC Government – Concessions and Benefits for more information.

Western Australia

  • The WA government offers a range of rebates, concessions and financial assistance to individuals to help meet the cost of certain household bills and other essential services.
  • See WA Government – ConcessionsWA for more information.

Mortgage Relief Scheme

The ACT and Queensland have government-funded mortgage relief schemes for home-owners struggling with short-term, severe financial hardship. In these schemes, interest-free loans are offered to cover arrears and some future payments.

Each of these states/territories has its own strict eligibility requirements. For more information, contact:

We recommend you speak to a financial counsellor if you believe you may benefit from one of these schemes.

Read more about mortgage hardship and assistance available on our Home loans page.

No Interest Loans (NILs)

No Interest Loans (NILs) provide access to safe, fair and affordable credit to people on low incomes.

There is no interest or fees charged on a No Interest Loan.  Ever.  You only pay back what you have borrowed.

You may be eligible to borrow up to $2,000 for the cost of essential goods and services including:

  • Household essentials: for example, a fridge or washing machine
  • Health and wellbeing: for example, medical and dental costs
  • Education and employment: for example, school activities and uniforms
  • Housing: for example, house repairs and hot water tank
  • Vehicle and transport: for example, car repairs and registration.

You may be eligible to borrow up to $3,000 to pay for specific things such as:

  • Rent advance and bond (paid to a real estate agent, not a private landlord)
  • Rent arrears (if caused by exceptional circumstances such as hospitalisation)
  • Council rates
  • Utility bills (only if you have or are experiencing family and domestic violence)

See our page on No Interest Loans for more information.