If you have been affected by a bushfire, storm or flood, we can help you with everyday legal problems including financial hardship.
Call us on 1800 801 529 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday
What is financial hardship?
Financial hardship is when a person is having trouble repaying a loan, or debt.
You might be having trouble:
- making your mortgage repayments
- making your credit card or personal loan payments
- making business loan repayments
Financial hardship can be caused by things like:
- loss of job or reduced shifts
- injury or illness
- relationship breakdowns, domestic violence or financial abuse, or
- a disaster
People affected by natural disasters can experience both short-term and long-term financial difficulties, ranging from lost credit cards and problems accessing cash through to being unable to make loan repayments. Your bank or credit provider must consider what’s happened to you if you have experienced a disaster. You can speak to their hardship department, or you can talk to a financial counsellor on 1800 007 007.
If the lender won’t help, you can contact the Disaster Response Legal Service on 1800 801 529 who can help you with your legal options. These include making an Internal Dispute Resolution complaint (IDR) or making a complaint with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
Disaster relief and support
If you live in an area declared a natural disaster you may be eligible for financial assistance or other support from the NSW Government.
You can use the Disaster Assistance Finder to receive a personalised list of available programs and services.
Use the Centrelink payment and service finder to see what payments and services you might be eligible for. Payment and Service Finder - Department of Human Services (centrelink.gov.au)
MoneySmart has tips and tools to help you make the most of your money. They can direct you to charities and community organisations that can help with:
- one off food, transport or chemist vouchers
- rent or accommodation
- part payment of electricity, gas or water bills
- food parcels or clothing
- budgeting or referrals to other programs.
How can the DRLS help?
We can help you by;
- putting you in touch with a financial counsellor,
- speaking to your bank or creditor on your behalf,
- helping you make a complaint to your bank or credit provider,
- giving you legal advice about your options,
- and more.
How can a financial counsellor help?
Financial counsellors are skilled professionals. They will listen to your problems and help you with things like:
- bills or fines you're struggling to pay
- being harassed by debt collectors
- gas, electricity or phone disconnection
- being evicted from your house
- car accidents with no insurance
- tax debts
Financial counselling is a free and confidential service
Find a financial counsellor near you visit Financial counselling - Moneysmart.gov.au
Financial counsellor search tool - Financial Rights Legal Centre - Advice and advocacy for consumers in financial stress.
For more information about financial counsellors visit Financial Counsellors Association of NSW (fcan.com.au)
Glossary of terms
Everything to do with money, debt and credit!
Links and resources
- Financial Rights Legal Centre – Natural Disaster factsheets
- Mob Strong Debt Help – Financial Rights legal Service
- National Debt Helpline
- Centrelink - Payment and Service Finder
- Financial Counsellors Association of NSW (fcan.com.au)
- Resilience NSW - Disaster relief and support
- Service NSW - Financial assistance
- Insurance Council of Australia
- AFCA (Australian Financial Complaints Authority)
- Salvation Army – Moneycare (financial assistance services)
- Ask Izzy Disaster support
- Legal Aid NSW Sample letter - Financial hardship - Legal Aid NSW
- Financial Rights Legal Centre – Self-Help Centre
- Includes fact sheets, sample letters, multilingual resources and more
- Moneysmart – Practical steps you can take to start managing your debt - Financial hardship - Moneysmart.gov.au