Icon - Financial assistance

Financial assistance

There’s lots of support available for people who are on dialysis. The healthcare team and social worker in each dialysis unit are valuable sources of information about what’s available.

The types of the support include:

  • financial assistance
  • dialysis travel (local travel)
  • assisted transport schemes (country travel)
  • carer support

Financial support – home dialysis
In conjunction with The HOME Network, we have produced a booklet outlining financial support available for people on home dialysis, which you can access here.

There are concessions for water and electricity for people on home dialysis. These vary by state and territory. Together with The HOME Network, we’ve put together fact sheets that provide a guide to the concessions available in each state or territory. See state links here.

Additional information can be found on Moneyhound here , a website where you can check if you‘re getting the best price for your energy needs.

Assistance for home dialysis
Under the federal government’s Essential Medical Equipment Payment program, people on home dialysis may be eligible for assistance with the costs of running their dialysis machine and medically required heating or cooling, or both.

You may also be eligible for other concessions for electricity and water costs. Further details, including a guide to concessions available in each state and territory, can be found on our home dialysis website here.

Early access to preserved superannuation funds
If you have kidney disease and are under financial stress, you may be able to access your preserved superannuation if:

  • you have been on Centrelink payments for at least six months and can't pay living expenses (you may be able to claim up to $10,000 per annum)
  • you are over the retirement age (55 to 60) and have been on Centrelink payments for nine months (you may be able to claim all your super)
  • you, or a dependant, need money to pay for palliative care, funeral expenses, modifications to your home or car, or medical and transport expenses for treatment outside the public health system
  • you need funds to cover loan repayments to prevent the sale of your home (you may be able to claim up to 3 months of repayments plus 12 months interest)
  • you are permanently incapacitated (you may be able to claim all of your super)
  • the preserved amount of your superannuation is up to $200
  • you are a temporary resident and permanently leave Australia (you may be able to claim all of your super).

Early access to preserved superannuation funds
If you have kidney disease and are under financial stress, you may be able to access your preserved superannuation if:

  • you have been on Centrelink payments for at least six months and can't pay living expenses (you may be able to claim up to $10,000 per annum)
  • you are over the retirement age (55 to 60) and have been on Centrelink payments for nine months (you may be able to claim all your super)
  • you, or a dependant, need money to pay for palliative care, funeral expenses, modifications to your home or car, or medical and transport expenses for treatment outside the public health system
  • you need funds to cover loan repayments to prevent the sale of your home (you may be able to claim up to 3 months of repayments plus 12 months interest)
  • you are permanently incapacitated (you may be able to claim all of your super)
  • the preserved amount of your superannuation is up to $200
  • you are a temporary resident and permanently leave Australia (you may be able to claim all of your super)

Total and permanent disability benefits
In order to be eligible for a total and permanent disability benefit you need to prove you cannot return to your usual job or other suitable work that fits your education, training or experience.

Many people with a disability such as kidney disease will qualify for a benefit, as will many on disability support pensions.

You don't need to be unfit for any work at all. For example, if you have only ever done manual work and can't do it now, but doctors say you could do office work, you may still be eligible.

Superannuation disability benefits 
Most superannuation policies include benefits for disabilities such as kidney disease. Superannuation disability benefits are paid as lump sums for total and permanent disability, or disability pensions, or both. These are usually insurance benefits that 'top up' the contributions in your fund, if you need to stop work. 

Advice from experts
Disability claims can be complicated and it's important to find out about your rights. There are time limits for appeals to the courts, so you should get help from an experienced lawyer before making a claim or appeal.

We are grateful to John Berrill from Maurice Blackburn Lawyers for helping us compile our information on superannuation and insurance benefits. Free advice from the firm is available for people with chronic kidney disease.

You can  freecall them on 1800 810 812 or visit their website here.

Private health insurance
Some private health insurance policies cover chronic kidney disease, including dialysis. You can check what’s available on the Compare the Market website here.

The Federal Government provides helpful information about comparing health insurance policies. Phone 1300 737 299 or visit their website here.

If you have a complaint against a health insurer, you can seek assistance from the Federal Government’s Private Health Insurance Ombudsman, phone 1800 640 695 or visit the website here.

To access your private health records, contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, phone 1300 63 992 or visit their website here.

Assistance for carers
If a carer is helping you with dialysis and other activities of daily living, you may be eligible for carer financial assistance. To find ou, phone Centrelink on 132 717, or check Centrelink Payment Finder here.

Another handy link to details about payments is the Department of Human Services website. You can also find information about assistance for carers here.

Other useful links
Carers Australia – national peak body representing Australia’s carers.
Children with Disability Australia – national body representing young people with disability.
Chronic Illness Alliance – plain English guide to legal issues around health and life changes.
Consumers Health Forum of Australia – issues including health financing, privacy, patient safety, use of medicines, clinical standards and general practice.
Department of Social Services – information for people with a disability and their carers.
Medicare: Allied Health Initiative – allows people with a chronic illness to access Medicare rebates for allied health services.
Medicare: Chronic medical condition assistance
Medicare Safety Net 
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme – help to cover the cost of a wide range of prescription medicines.
Switchwise – comparison calculator for finding the lowest-cost energy provider in your State.

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