20 April, 2020 20 April, 2020

The Coronavirus Supplement

From the 27th of April 2020, the government will be providing extra income support payments for people affected by COVID-19.

If you receive one of the following payments then you will automatically receive an extra $550 p/fortnight for up to 6 months.

- JobSeeker Payment

- Partner Allowance

- Widow Allowance

- Sickness Allowance

- Wife Pension

- Youth Allowance

- Austudy

- ABSTUDY Living Allowance

- Parenting Payment

- Farm Household Allowance

- Special Benefit.

You do not need to do anything. The payment will be made automatically

For more information about the Coronavirus supplement and other forms of financial assistance available due to COVID-19 visit https://moneysmart.gov.au/covid-19/financial-assistance or search for Moneysmart on the Affordable SA App.

16 April, 2020 16 April, 2020

New Doorway to The Salvation Army 1800 025 539

The Salvation Army is the biggest “Emergency Relief” provider in SA. Their Emergency Relief service forms part of their Doorways program and utilises its reach across the farthest corners of the state to provide the basic essentials to people struggling with the cost of living as well as deliver a wide range of counselling services.

Due to Covid-19 The Salvation Army, like many other providers, have needed to re-invent the way it provides help to those in need. Moving to non-contact appointments and putting in place strict social distancing whilst still providing humanity and care is a difficult scenario but it’s where we may be for much of the foreseeable future.

The Salvation Army has now sought help from the Affordable SA Helpline as a central point of contact for referral to their Emergency Relief provided across SA.

Affordable SA remains user focused and will continue its independence and promotion of the most appropriate local assistance for people seeking help to ease cost of living pressures, as well as keeping you up to date with COVID-19 changes to service delivery across SA.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by cost of living issues help is always available at your fingertips via the Affordable SA App (free to download) and online at affordablesa.com.au or a call to the Helpline 1800 025 539 locally staffed from 9.30 till 8pm Monday to Thursday and 9.30am to 4.30pm Friday. You can leave us a message after hours and we’ll get back to you, e-mail us at the website or drop us a message on facebook.

For those seeking self help please use the “I need help with… “ tool, available on the Affordable SA App and website. Download the App for free from Google or iTunes.

Affordable SA is proudly made in SA and staffed by South Australians.

14 April, 2020 14 April, 2020

Cost of Living Concession and COVID-19

Due to COVID-19, if you receive a Centrelink JobSeeker Payment and you are a current ConcessionsSA customer then you may be eligible for the advance payment of your 2020-21 Cost of Living Concession. Furthermore, you may also be eligible for the once-off boost payment of $500.

If eligible, you can expect to receive your advance payment and boost in April 2020.

- For eligible homeowners, the 2020-21 payment will be $715.10

- For eligible tenants, the 2020-21 payment will be $607.60

The Cost of Living Concession helps those on low or fixed incomes with their cost of living expenses, whether that be electricity, water, gas or medical bills.

For more information contact Concessions SA on 1800 307 758 search for Cost of Living Concession on the Affordable SA App

8 April, 2020 8 April, 2020

Bushfire recovery and COVID-19

Those effected by Bushfire in South Australia have been hit with a double whammy. Hit hard by the fires in Kangaroo Island and Woodside, the COVID019 crisis has wiped out any confidence of recovery for a lot of people and businesses in these communities.

In response, Governments are now announcing more support to help get Bushfire effected communities through the coronavirus pandemic and the Bushfire recovery agency has put together a combined list of assistance and options available covering these crises. It includes bushfire, drought, flood and COVID-19 support from the Australian Government and links to state government assistance.

From help for mental and domestic violence to property clean up and support for ongoing living costs including where COVID-19 assistance may provide more benefit. This information site quickly defines what is available for individuals, small business including not for profits and primary producers.

Click on the list most relevant to you:

- Combined list of support for individuals

- Combined list of support for small business and not-for-profits

- Combined list of support for primary producers

Keep in mind that governments are announcing more support as things change, and check back occasionally with the Bushfire Recovery Agency to see what’s new.

If you are struggling there are Financial Counsellors available on Kangaroo Island and in Lobethal. financial counsellors are free, independent and confidential. They are there to help you manage through the cost of living pressures. Check out the Affordable SA App, website or ring the Affordable SA Helpline 1800 025 539 to book an appointment with one of the financial counsellors based in these communities or find out what other assistance is available.

7 April, 2020 7 April, 2020

How much do we care?

The release of 1.1 Billion dollars by the PM was less about “how we are managing” coronavirus and more about “how much we care” for those that will be thrown into financial chaos and personal hardship.

It will help to provide protection for the frontline Doctors and Nurses who have shown their stamina and courage and who will be put under even more pressure in the weeks and months to come. So much depends on these people and the outpouring of genuine appreciation for their efforts continues to grow as we learn about the day to day struggles they face in managing patients and what could happen.

It will help people that will find it hard to cope with these times. We know that many people will suffer mental health issues as anxiety and fear will cross our paths at some point through this crisis. We know that financial hardship undeniably creates a spike in domestic violence. We know that people will need support for the basics such as food and money and many wont know where to turn to find the help they need.

The SA Government has for many years provided for a network of support agencies across the State that can help you with the basics such as food, financial help and support. We call this Network, Emergency Relief. It supports people in need with food, financial and material assistance. Fuel vouchers to be able to travel to work or out of harms way. No Interest Loans, access to cheap insurance, the basic essentials and free Financial Counselling to help you manage debt. Organisations such as FoodBank, Oz Harvest, Second Bite and even your local supermarket form an important supply chain for this Network.

This network is now set to ramp up to support even more South Australians, not just in Adelaide but across our regional areas with the SA Government releasing 1.6 million dollars to the charities, food relief organisations and online and phone support programs. Businesses too have jumped in to lend a hand with chefs, restaurants and major commercial kitchens cooking up meals to supply Foodbank and meals on wheels. These Emergency Relief providers have re-invented the way they work in order to follow the guidelines that are helping to keep us safe and to flatten the curve.

Check out the South Australian Emergency Relief providers in the Affordable SA App, website or speak to the Affordable SA Helpline on 1800 025 539 to find the services that can help you and in your local area.

For the immediate future, Emergency Relief will continue almost entirely as a phone-based services. Working with the SA Government to deliver help and keep people safe by minimising exposure to the COVID19 virus.

It’s going to be a long haul and these charities and agencies no matter how big or how small will be pushed to their limits. Many have been forged during war or tough times. Many are driven by their volunteer’s enthusiasm and personal knowledge of hardship. All will need to draw on every once of their tradition and unity to successfully stand with those that will be in need and show just how much we really do care.


6 April, 2020 6 April, 2020

Banks responses to COVID-19

Banks, like most businesses and organisations, are responding to the current crisis with COVID-19 by delaying or making payments a little easier for you. To see what may be available to assist you through this crisis the South Australian Financial Counsellors Association (SAFCA) has put together a quick guide to how the Banks are currently responding. See attached pdf.

As things are changing rapidly during the COVID-19 crisis please check with your bank and their website for updates.

Financial Counselling is free, independent and confidential. They can help you manage through financial hardship and provide you with the options that may assist now and into the future. To read more about financial counselling and how it may help you please visit the Affordable SA App, website or ring the Affordable SA Helpline on 1800 025 539.

Affordable SA is proudly designed, maintained and produced in South Australia for the benefit of South Australians.

3 April, 2020 3 April, 2020

COVID-19 and the Early Release of Superannuation

In the last few weeks the Government has made some unprecedented economic decisions that have had a major impact on a lot of people's financial situations.

One of the decisions that the government has made is in regards to the criteria surrounding the early release of superannuation. Due to the unprecedented effects of COVID-19, the government is allowing individuals affected by the pandemic (who satisfy one or more of the requirements) to access up to $10,000 in 2019-2020 and a further $10,000 in 2020-2021 from their superannuation fund.

With everything going on in the world, it is extremely tempting to take up the government's offer without a second thought and access these funds. The concern at the moment is that there are situations unfolding whereby unlicensed financial advice about the early release of superannuation is being given to satisfy personal interest, such as real estate agents advising tenants in financial hardship to access money from their superannuation fund to pay their rent. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has expressed concern about this kind of conduct because it may constitute as unlicensed financial advice and may not be in the best interest of the individual. For more information, see the attached article from the ABC.

We can appreciate that this is an overwhelming and confusing time for a lot of people, therefore if you are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 please consider speaking to a trained financial counsellor first to discuss your options. To speak to a free financial counsellor call the Affordable SA Helpline on 1800 025 539 or search for Financial Counselling on the Affordable SA App.

31 March, 2020 31 March, 2020

Look After Yourself

Keeping yourself fit and healthy can be difficult in normal circumstances, so it’s going to be very tricky during the current Covid 19 restrictions. The best advice seems to be to keep it simple. Make sure you move more and eat lots of colourful fruit and veggies. Drink plenty of water and get quality sleep (about 8 hours is ideal). Dance and sing often!

Why is exercise important for your mental health?

We all know that exercise has many physical benefits, but it also stimulates chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood and the parts of the brain responsible for memory and learning.

If you exercise regularly, it can reduce your stress and symptoms of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety and help with recovery from mental health issues. Plus, exercise helps you sleep better.

Sleeping well improves our wellbeing and helps us to be more alert, energetic, and better able to concentrate and perform tasks during the day. Getting enough sleep each day is one of the most important things you can do for your health and wellbeing and to reduce your risk for ill-health.

This is because during sleep we undergo many important functions that improve physical recovery as well as support learning, improving memory and mood.

So, even though you are practicing physical distancing, you can still go for a walk, walk the dog, play with the kids in the backyard or a local park as long as you keep you distance from other people.

You can always exercise at home too. Put on your favourite music and dance around the room with your family, or just by yourself. You will be surprised how good you feel after. If you are looking for some inspiration, there are plenty of opportunity online to dance, dance, dance!

A fun beginners dance workout at home can be found on the PsycheTruth channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mR9td6t5mTc and a cute 80’s warm up by WE LOVE DANCE can be found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xewf0Ecyrfs

You could always just try to ‘Shake Your Tailfeather’ in Blues Brothers style – it’s surprising just how much cardio is involved in the actions of this short song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdbrIrFxas0

If you are feeling particularly fit and strong, you could try a 20 minute strong Zumba (be sure to give yourself plenty of room!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm4WZyH5p2I

You can always just google some more traditional exercise at home videos such as the series by Pamela Reif called no equipment which are easy to follow but quite challenging.

Another options is to go old-school with Aerobics Oz Style – just google this iconic breakfast television segment from the 80’s and early 90’s to get a good workout, along with some insights into the social culture of the time.

Risks of sitting too long

There will be a real risk to you and your family over the next few weeks of sitting too much, especially when watching television, phones or other screens. Research has found that this can be bad for your health and it has been linked to diseases such as diabetes and cancer. It also has been tied to an increased risk of mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression.

Many people will also underestimate the time they spend sitting in a day, so consider using an activity tracker on your phone, or better still, keep a diary. It is a good time to record the emotions and events you are experiencing, given this is something that has never happened before in quite this way. We are truly in unprecedented times and it might be good for you children or grandchildren to be able to read what is was like for you in many years to come.

Plus, the added benefit of writing gets you away from a screen and helps you to think creatively, which has additional benefits for your wellbeing.

Keep Moving

Its likely you and your family are spending more time than usual in front of screens and hopefully you will get to enjoy some movies and fun times together with family, but the downside of this is that our bodies weren’t designed to sit all day, or our necks to be looking down continuously.

You need to take some action with some simple exercises into your day. There are many options for yoga on Youtube, from beginners to advanced.

There are also a number of exercise options to combat ‘text neck’ the name given to the impact on your body from too much phone use. The following link provides 6 exercises, but you can find more by searching on line for exercises to reverse the impact of mobile phone use. https://www.inquirer.com/health/exercises-to-undo-damage-of-smartphone-use-20190211.html

You’ve Got This!

Try to keep some routine for you and your family, so make exercise time consistent if you can. Start the day with free online yoga, or get some cardio into your lunch break, learn a new language with Duo Lingo or try making meditation a standard part of your day.

Remember to wash you hands with soap and water and practice social distancing as much as you can. Stay safe but focus on keeping healthy and busy at home – its up to you now!

Affordable SA believes that your health and well-being is an important part of managing yourself through troubled times and financial hardship. Helping you to respond to the challenges that we all face today and the future. Check out the Well-Being and Healthcare section of the App and website to find more ways to look after yourself without breaking the budget.

If you're experiencing financial hardship ring the Affordable SA Helpline on 1800 025 539 or make an appointment to speak to a financial counsellor. They are free, independent, confidential and most of all there to help you.

27 March, 2020 27 March, 2020

COVID-19 and Financial Hardship

Here on the Affordable SA helpline we are now receiving calls everyday from people who are feeling the financial repercussions of COVID-19.

The whole country...or more like the whole world is currently in an unprecedented state of uncertainty. It feels like we are just is just taking one day at time, not sure what's happening from one hour to the next.

With such a degree of uncertainty at the moment there are a lot of "what-ifs". What if I can't make may mortgage repayments? What if I can't make my car loan repayments? What if I miss the due date for my electricity bill? What happens if I can't pay my phone bill?

To address theses concerns banks, telecommunication companies and utility providers are taking daily steps to support their customers during this time of unpredictability. For example, banks are offering periods of no payments, telecommunication companies are offering extra data, utility companies are offering payment extensions.

If you have been financially impacted by COVID-19 it is important to contact your providers and creditors straight away by visiting their websites or giving them call to see what immediate assistance is available.

For more information about how to look after yourself and your money during this challenging time, see the attached link to the Moneysmart website.

If you are feeling overwhelmed about your current financial situation and you would like to talk to someone, call the Affordable SA Helpline on 1800 025 539 to speak to a free Financial Counselor or search for Financial Counselling on the Affordable SA App.

by Sam