Life takes an unexpected turn - Affordable SA

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14 September, 2018

Many of us will go through financial problems at some stage in our lives. Some will waiver in and out of financial stress on a regular basis and most people are only one life-changing event away from hardship.

There are so many uncontrollable life events that can send us into financial hardship. South Australians in recent years have been subjected to a changing workplace environment with industries winding down or transitioning. The cost of utilities such as power and water has skyrocket to record heights.

The more personal scenarios we see are family breakdowns. Divorce and separation can be both emotionally and financial difficult. Domestic Violence. Problem gambling is still a huge burden in the community or a partner who leaves you with a hefty share of uncontrollable debt through credit cards and bad financial loans.

Our health too plays an important part in managing our lifestyle. Serious illness can strike anyone and the cost of care along with changing employment or income due to illness can quickly impact of your ability to maintain lifestyle and can send a financial shock wave through your life.

Not many of us are well prepared for life’s curve balls and seeking help can seem confusing or as confronting as the issue itself. Most service providers now understand that maintaining dignity and confidentiality can be just as important as providing the service, and the more people know and can self manage the more in control they can feel. More control means less stress and the sooner you seek help the less likely debt will accumulate.

The Affordable SA Program is at hand to support and empower you to make informed decisions and connect you easily and readily to valuable independent, confidential and free services in your area.

The Affordable SA Program can be accessed at,, or is free to download through Apple and Google search 'AffordableSA'. 

Affordable SA also is supported through a Helpline service 9.30am to 8pm Monday to Thursday and 9.30am to 4.30pm Fridays its a free call 1800 036 539.

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What is EEPS and who can it help?

The throes of winter has many South Australians throwing on an extra blanket or two and bracing themselves for the expected bite from the costs of heating over the next few months. The last few years of higher energy prices has raised our anxiety of heating and cooling costs and is now the single most feared expense in the family's annual budget.

South Australians in particular are well adept at power consumption reduction around the house but there is only so much you can do regarding heating and power consumption to keep your family out of the cold. Many of us are facing the real prospect of disconnection because we simply do not have the money to pay. Even those with some financial capacity and or budgeting strategies can find paying the kilowatt costs hard. For those who do not have the ability to pay it can be a pretty cold shower of devastating reality. Who can they turn to for help?

Many struggling families have utilised the SA Government's Emergency Electricity Payment Scheme but Financial Counsellors are still finding some people unsure of what they are entitled to in regards to assistance or the types of assistance available. EEPS can be accessed if you are experiencing significant financial difficulties and have had your electricity disconnected or are at risk of disconnection. Payments of up to $400 for low-income households and applicants are available for an emergency electricity payment once every three years. The Scheme is only accessible through the assistance of financial counsellors, who will assess your financial situation before lodging an application. If you're in financial hardship and unsure about where you stand regarding access to assistance please ring the Affordable SA Helpline on 1800 025 539. The Helpline can help you understand the assistance available to you or provide an appointment to see a financial counsellor if needed.

The SA Government is one of the more generous of the states and territories regarding this emergency assistance. It is truly aimed at those in most need and under threat of disconnection but with access to the scheme only every three years if you qualify for the scheme one year you will need to consider major changes to manage the subsequent years between. Accessing a Financial Counsellor early may also help to stop you sinking into more debt.

There are other concessions for a range of circumstance such as Medical Heating and Cooling, Energy Bill Concessions, Energy Bill concessions for Asylum seekers and Cost of Living concessions. These can be accessed through contacting the Concessions Hotline on 1800 307 758 or go to

Financial Counselling is free, confidential and independent. The National Debt Helpline is a not-for-profit, community based service that is available to people in Australia experiencing financial difficulty. South Australians ringing the national helpline will be transferred to a financial counsellor who knows and lives in South Australia, and is as local to the caller as possible. If you require assistance from a financial counsellor please contact the National Debt Help Line 1800 007 007 (Mon to Thurs: 9.30am–8pm and Friday: 9.30am-4.30pm) or go to the Affordable SA App or visit the Affordable SA website to see more information and the services available in South Australia that can be of assistance.

You can find more information on how to apply for EEPS call the Concessions Hotline or visit the website or follow the links below.