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Finance and kidney disease

Access to funds is crucial when you require treatment for kidney disease. We’ve provided an overview of options, including concessions that may be available to you, for consideration below.

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Financial assistance for patients

Financial support from the Australian government can help you cover dialysis costs, travel costs, and carer support costs. To find out exactly what you’re eligible for, please speak to your social worker or healthcare team.

  • For remote and rural patients – you may be able to recoup travel and accommodation costs for medical treatment far away from home. This is called the Patient Assistance Transport Scheme (PATS), and the amount of assistance varies per state. For more information, you can view this Guide to Patient Assistance Transport Schemes compiled by the National Rural Health Alliance.
  • For patients doing home dialysis – you may be eligible for concessions on your water and electricity bills. These vary by state and territory. You may also be eligible for the Essential Medical Equipment Payment program that helps to cover costs associated with running your dialysis machine.
  • For patients requiring local dialysis-related travel – you may be able to apply for financial assistance or transport assistance. Support can include taxi vouchers, corporate shuttles or private cars. Please check with your individual unit about what is offered in your location.

For patients requiring carers – you may be eligible for carer assistance. To find out, call Centrelink on 132 717. You can also refer to the Department of Human Services website.

Private health insurance

Some private health insurance policies cover chronic kidney disease, including dialysis and certain medications. To compare and find out more, visit the Federal Government Private Health website, or call 1300 737 299.

If you already have private health insurance, call your provider directly.

Using your superannuation

If you have kidney disease and are under financial stress, you may be able to access your preserved superannuation early 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 and have been on Centrelink payments for nine months (you may be able to claim all your super)
  • you, or a dependent, need money to pay for palliative care, funeral expenses, modifications to your home or car, or medical and transport expenses for treatment

Superannuation disability benefits

Most superannuation policies include benefits for disabilities such as kidney disease. If you are eligible to make a claim, you could receive a lump sum, or disability pensions, or both.

To be eligible for a total and permanent disability benefit, you must prove you can’t return to your usual job or other suitable work that fits your education, training or experience. If you have kidney disease, it’s likely you qualify for a benefit.

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.

Need more support? Contact the Kidney Helpline