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FINANCE

Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) www.moneysmart.gov.au or tel 1300 300 630.

Australian Veterans’ Children Assistance Trust (AVCAT) offers scholarships to help children and grandchildren of veterans with tertiary studies. Check eligibility requirements, application dates or register interest for scholarships via www.avcat.org.au or tel 9213 7999.

Defence Service Homes – Home Support Loan may provide a loan of up to $10,000 at a reduced interest rate to assist with the cost of home maintenance and modifications, tel 1800 722 000.

Defence Service Homes – Insurance Scheme for help with policy and claim enquiries, tel 1300 552 662.

Department of Human Services (Centrelink) is responsible for all carer, family assistance and child care payments. Centrelink’s online estimator will assist in reviewing all payment options, benefits and rebates via www.humanservices.gov.au or tel 132 300.

DVA student financial assistance and support services provides guidance and counselling for eligible children who are undertaking full time education or apprenticeships, up to the age of 25. Assistance includes education allowances, fares allowances, guidance and counselling regarding study options, tel 1800 555 254.

Energy

Service NSW offers a number of energy rebates which might be relevant. Contact Service NSW via www.service.nsw.gov.au or tel 13 77 88.

  • Essential Medical Equipment Payment and Rebate Annual financial assistance from DVA to assist with the cost of running essential medical equipment or medically required heating/cooling. Applications only need to be submitted once. Energy retailers provide additional rebates which must be applied for every two years.
  • Family Energy Rebate is provided to families with dependent children who receive Family Tax Benefits. Conditions apply, it is means tested and must be applied for annually.
  • Low Income Household Rebate assists with payment of electricity bills. Conditions apply.
  • Gas Rebate helps eligible NSW customers to pay their gas bills for basic household needs such as cooking, heating and hot water. Different application and payment processes apply for LPG and Natural Gas. Natural Gas customers, contact your provider. LPG customers, contact Service NSW.
  • Appliance Replacement Offer provides discounts on replacing old for new fridges and TV’s. Approval must be obtained prior to purchasing item.
  • Assistance is available for households facing energy bill stress.

Financial Information Service (Centrelink) provides general financial education and free confidential information on financial issues, tel 13 23 00.

Grandparent Adviser Line (Centrelink) is for grandparents and other non–parent carers with ongoing responsibility for children. It provides assistance with child care payments and Medicare services, tel 1800 245 965.

Lump Sum Advance DVA may be able to provide an interest free advance for any purpose, for example, unexpected car repairs or to replace a broken refrigerator, tel 1800 555 254.

National Debt Helpline Financial Counsellors provide free information, support and advocacy to people in financial difficulty, tel 1800 007 007.

National Seniors Australia provides an independent, confidential service that aims to improve investment and retirement information to seniors. Their Financial Information Desk is available to members only, tel 1300 765 050.

No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS) makes low interest loans accessible to people on low incomes to purchase essential items, tel 1800 509 994.

Pension The War Widows Pension is a compensation payment following your spouse or partner’s death. It is not income or asset tested, or taxable. It is not affected by remarriage, a move into residential care or if you receive a large amount of money, for example, inheritance or lottery winnings. It includes the pharmaceutical and energy payment. Widows in receipt of a war widows pension may also be eligible to receive an Income Support Supplement (ISS) if they pass an income and assets test. Contact DVA to determine your eligibility, tel 1800 555 254.

Pensioner Loan Scheme provides fortnightly income payments at a reasonable rate of interest for those who do not receive the ISS or receive a reduced rate of ISS. You must have sufficient property to offer security for the loan. Contact DVA to determine your eligibility, tel 1800 555 254.

Taxation If you are over pension age and the war widows pension and Income Support Supplement (ISS) is your only income, you will not have to pay income tax. Submitting a tax return is required if you have paid tax on income such as share dividends, or have franking credits. For further information contact the Australian Taxation Office, tel 13 28 61.

Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) ‘MY ACCOUNT’ allows you to update your personal, contact and financial details online, make a transport booking or apply for a lump sum advance. DVA also has an extensive range of factsheets on their website about benefits and services for war widows. If you do not have internet access you can contact the Guild or ask DVA to post the relevant factsheet/s to you. Contact DVA via www.dva.gov.au or tel 1800 555 254.

TIPS

  • Special discounts are often available to pensioners or seniors. Just ask.
  • If you change energy providers make sure you let them know if you are eligible for a rebate or concession and check if it has been applied to your new account.
  • Telstra Customers can request an easy to read, larger font sized bill, tel 13 22 00.

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