• Emergency help and funding

Emergency Funding and Help – Who you can contact

Way Forward offers free support to people in financial hardship who qualify for our service. We do not provide emergency funding. For more information about our service check out how we can help.  

If you are in financial hardship and would like as assessment to access our service please get in touch.

Where should I go for emergency relief if I need money urgently?

If you are struggling to pay for the essentials such as food and rent, you might want to know more about your options.

This page lists some of the available free emergency services and funding if you live in Australia and find yourself in financial difficulty and needing money urgently.

Many reasons can land a person in financial difficulty or hardship and things can escalate quickly. If you are struggling to make ends meet, ask for help sooner rather than later to get the support needed to manage your situation.

A range of free support is available through government services, community organisations and charities there is no reason to struggle on your own. Do your research and consider free services before paying fees or high interest rates, as these options usually worsen your situation in the long term.

Read about emergency support options for:

Needing emergency support might mean you need debt help

At Way Forward, we offer free debt help and management to hundreds of Australians. We’re a debt charity and completely free service. Our team of professionals are funded by some of Australia’s leading financial institutions, allowing us to help you find your way forward, faster.

During the free consultation we will assess your suitability for assistance with your debts via a long-term arrangement. If we are unable to accommodate you, we will provide information on other organisations that may be able to support you.

Get in touch to see if we can help you get out of debt faster.

Can I get my mortgage or other debts deferred?

Many banks and mortgage providers have given generous repayment moratoriums during the pandemic but a lot of these arrangements are coming to an end. Most providers have hardship teams whose job it is to help customers struggling with their repayments. As a first step, get in contact with your lenders to see what they can do for you in your circumstance.

If you have multiple debts and are feeling overwhelmed, Way Forward can help renegotiate payment terms with your creditors. Get in contact to see if we could help.

How to find your local foodbank?

If you’re finding it difficult to pay for food, search for your nearest charity or local church offering foodbank services. These include Salvation Army and  St Vincent de Paul Society among many other organisations offering free meals, food vouchers or food parcels or even transport vouchers for those in need.

For options in your area, you can find a comprehensive list of local services on Australian Government Department of Social Services Directory.

Worried you can’t pay the bills? 

We can support you to get on top of debt repayments so you can still afford to pay for the essentials. Get free debt help now.

How can I get help paying utility bills?

If you’re unable to pay for gas, electric or water bills, contact your supplier to discuss options such as deferring payments. You can also consider the government-backed Household Relief Loan to pay for utilities if you’ve been financially impacted by COVID-19.

If you’re unable to pay your bills, you could be eligible for government assistance and concessions but the options depend on your State or Territory. Head to the Government’s MoneySmart website for detailed information and links for support in your location.

Many Australian charities also offer free support and no-interest loans so search online what’s available before applying for more credit.

Struggling to make important payments?

At Way Forward, we offer free debt management services. Get debt help now. 

Can I get financial help from the government?

Centrelink provides payments to people eligible for income support. Call 132 850, 8am to 5pm AEDT, Monday to Friday or head to Services Australia to find out more about on-going support and how to claim.

Centrelink also offers one-off payments to people in extreme circumstances such as fleeing domestic violence or impacted by COVID-19. See more information on Services Australia’s website on crisis payments.

Ask Izzy offers helpful guidance and links to relevant services across over 370,000 support services, including available government support, across Australia so have a look what support is available in your area.

Centrelink one-off emergency payment

Way Forward does not provide direct payments of any kind. This information is a resource page only.  

What are Centrelink one-off emergency payments?  

If you’ve experienced extreme circumstances and as a result and are in severe financial hardship, a one-off non-taxable payment is administered by Centrelink, depending on whether you meet the criteria listed below.  

Where can you access a Centrelink one-off emergency payment?  

Centrelink ask that you contact them within 7 days of your extreme circumstance occurring. However, if your extreme circumstance is due to coronavirus (COVID-19) please contact Centrelink within 14 days. 

What circumstances do you need to be in to apply? 

There are different types of Crisis Payments to cover different situations. 

Please note: You cannot get a Crisis Payment if you already get a disaster relief payment. 

To get any of these payments, it is stipulated that you meet all the following: 

  • be in severe financial hardship 
  • be eligible for an income support payment or ABSTUDY Living Allowance 
  • be experiencing an extreme circumstance. 

You’ll also need to meet other eligibility criteria based on the type of Crisis Payment you claim. 

How we define extreme circumstances [LINK] 

To be eligible, you must be experiencing 1 of the following: 

  • experienced an incident of family and domestic violence 
  • left your home because of a natural or other disaster not covered by a disaster relief payment 
  • arrived in Australia as a Humanitarian Entrant for the first time 
  • released from prison or psychiatric confinement. 

Where to apply for Centrelink one-off emergency payment 

Please apply at the Centrelink website for step-by-step instructions that explain whether you’re eligible and then how to apply. 

Can I get emergency help or grants if I own a small business?

If you’re a sole trader or small business, there is COVID-19 financial assistance available but it varies between States and Territories. Find the latest government support relevant to your location and circumstance on Australian Government’s Business support website.

For guidance for your specific circumstance, go to Small Business Debt Helpline or give them a call on 1800 413 828.

Can I get support with mental health issues

We know that complex debt combined with the unpredictability of the pandemic can cause immense stress and anxiety.

If you’re struggling to cope, support is available. If you’re in crisis and need help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. They offer a free phone support that’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For a comprehensive list of mental health services available around Australia, visit our webpage for support services.

Due to the pandemic, the government has extended its support to cover some of the costs of mental care treatment plans. For detailed guidance, visit Services Australia web page.

At Way Forward, we offer free support when it comes to managing complex debt. While we can’t offer mental health support, many of our clients report immense positive impacts on their mental wellbeing after our team has helped them get on top of their debts again. See some of our success stories here.

How can I get financial support with a funeral?

If a loved one has passed away and you are struggling to pay for their funeral, help is available.

If you’ve lost a partner who received a Centrelink benefit, bereavement payments may be available. Visit Services Australia for more information.

Services Australia also offers a useful guide to considerations, payments and exemptions that might be available to you, support groups and other relevant services.

Veterans or former members of the Australian Defence Force may be able eligible for financial support and bereavement payments following the death of a pensioner or a current or former serving member. Go to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs for more detail.

We also encourage you to check whether the person who passed away had a relevant insurance as part of their super fund, which may help pay for the funeral.

For indigenous services, head over to the Government-backed MoneySmart site for additional support services across States and Territories.

I can’t pay my rent. What can I do?

If you’re unable to pay your rent, reach out to your landlord to make them aware of the situation. You may be able to come to a payment arrangement that works for you.

You may also be eligible for housing benefit. You can go on Services Australia page to find out if you can access support or funding using the Payment and Service Finder. The online tool can help you work out amounts of Centrelink payments, including pensions and allowances, Family Tax Benefit and Childcare fee assistance.

Charities such as Wesley Mission offer practical support and services to avoid eviction and potential homelessness, including crisis payments to pay outstanding rent.

I need financial help after a natural disaster

Australia is prone to natural disasters but help is out there if disaster strikes. The Australian Government’s Disaster Recovery and Resilience Agency offers support and funding for Australian communities recover and has given out more than 31,000 small business grants and $17bn in emergency funding towards recovery. 

Head to Services Australia to find out what payments and help might be available if you’ve been directly affected by recent floods, bushfires or other natural disasters. The site also lists other relevant help on this page if you’ve been impacted by a natural disaster.

Can I get support if I am or have been in the Army?

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs can help with payments and support if you have an injury or health condition because of your service. Benefits are available to the veteran and the family.

Multiple nationwide charities also provide support services for veterans including Soldier On and Bravery Trust.

Note: This page offers a brief overview of options but many other services are available so we encourage you to research services in your area, for your particular circumstance. We aim to regularly update this page to give you up-to-date guidance, but things can change quickly so do verify with each provider what’s available to you. Reach out to us on assist@wayforward.org.au for feedback or if you have questions. 

How can Way Forward help?

At Way Forward, we cannot provide financial advice, but we can help manage and reduce your debt.

We’re a completely free service and there are no hidden fees or costs. Our dedicated team of professionals are funded by some of Australia’s leading financial institutions, allowing us to help you find your way forward, faster.

How Way Forward can help in simple steps:

Step 1: Reach out to our team

Step 2: We evaluate your circumstance and verify your financial situation

Step 3: We take over negotiations with your creditors and act on your behalf

Step 4: We put together a manageable plan and combine your repayments to one reoccurring payment across your creditors