A Financial Counsellor is a person who can assist you with a range of services relating to personal finances. It is free, independent and confidential.
A Financial Counsellor can look at your overall financial situation and provide you with your options and are able to advocate and negotiate on your behalf.
A financial Counsellor doesn't give financial advice, planning or financial assistance.
In South Australia the financial Counselling service is operated by a range of service providers that have qualified Financial Counsellors who are motivated to supporting and assisting people in financial difficulty through an appointment based service (see locations below for providers). They are part of the National Debt Helpline 1800 007 007 and can arrange for a face to face meeting in a location near you or a phone meeting with an experienced trained counsellor.
The Helpline Service is available from Monday to Thursday between the hours of 9.30am - 8pm and Fridays 9.30am - 4.30pm (closed public holidays).
Alternatively many of the agencies can be contacted directly through their local related locations listed below. Appointments are essential.
A Financial Counsellor can also provide information and assistance about:
- Financial rights and responsibilities
- Budgeting and money management
- Negotiating with creditors and others
- Debts and the debt recovery processes
- Insolvency and bankruptcy options
- Hardship applications if your situation has changed.
Qualified financial counsellors will help you:
- Ensure you are receiving all your concessions and entitlements
- Manage your money
- Deal with a summons
- Prioritise bills and debts
- Deal with debt issues
- Negotiate with creditors
- Work out a budget or a payment plan
- By referring you to agencies who can help you make informed choices.
What Is NILS?
The No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) provides individuals and families on low incomes with access to safe, fair and affordable credit.
Loan amounts are between $300 – $1,200 for essential goods and services such as fridges, washing machines and medical procedures.
Loans cannot be used for cash, bond, rent arrears, debt consolidation, holidays or bills. Repayments are set up at an affordable amount over 12 – 18 months.
WHAT ARE THE LOANS FOR?
Loans are avaibable for the purchase of essential goods and services.
These may include
Household items like fridges, washing machines, stoves, dryers, freezers and furniture Some medical and dental services
Education essentials such as computers and text books
Some other item as requested
DO I QUALIFY FOR NILS?
To qualify you must:
Have a health care card/pension card
Reside in your current premises for more than 3 months Show a willingness and capacity to repay loan
StepUP provides low interest loans to people on low incomes through community providers across many parts of Australia.
StepUp offers loans of between $800 and $3000 for personal or houseold purposes such as:
- Household itmes including fridges, washing machines and furniture.
- Medical and Dental expenses
- House repairs
- Car repairs
Interest is charged at a fixed low rate, and loans can be repaid over three years. No fees apply.
Relationships Australia provides a range of financial counselling services and support to problem gamblers and their families. Gambling becomes a problem if someone spends more time or money than they can afford to, or if it is having a negative impact on their relationships.
Please contact the office nearest you for assistance and to make an appointment.
MoneySmart is an initiative of the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC). The website assists people with managing their money and finances by offering tips & tools to help you make the most of your money.
If you hold a Federal Government Concession Card you may be eligible for a reduced rate on stamps and other services. You can get 5 free stamps and 50 reduced cost stamps per year and discount on mail hold and redirection services.
For South Australians needing advice or assistance with managing the cost of living or budgeting. The Helpline provides information, advice and referrals to appropriate services such as financial counselling, case work, advocacy or community education.
The Helpline Service is available from Monday to Thursdays between the hours of 9.30am and 8pm and Fridays 9.30am and 4.30pm (except Public Holidays). To access information, support, or referrals, call the Helpline on the number provided.
People who have recently experienced the death of a friend or family member and who cannot raise the funds for a funeral, after all options have been tried, may be eligible to receive a dignified funeral through Funeral AssistanceSA.
To be eligible, you must prove all of the following:
- The deceased was a South Australian resident.
- The deceased was in receipt of a pension or benefit or was a low income recipient.
- The deceased's estate and death benefits are estimated to be valued at less than $3,000 when liquidated (including property and shares).
- The deceased's immediate relatives are not in paid employment or are low income recipients.
- The deceased's immediate relatives have insufficient assets to cover the costs of funeral expenses (less than $3,000 of accessible funds).
The funeral must not yet have been arranged or, where a grant is sought after the event, the account must be moderate and not yet fully paid.
The funeral provided is normally a cremation service, except in certain cultural circumstances. If the requirements are for a burial, families may elect to pay the difference between a cremation and a burial.
The income, assets and liabilities of the deceased and their immediate relatives are taken into account when assessing eligibility for assistance through this program.
For further information call 1300 762 577 or visit the website
If your having problems with debt, your starting point should be the National Debt Helpline 1800 007 007.
In a nutshell, financial counselling helps you manage your debts and get your finances back under control.
Get advice about
- Your financial situation, to help you fully undertsand your position.
- How to prioritise your debts
- The pros and cons of the options that might work for you in addressing your debts (for example, repayment of loans, negotiating with creditors, bankruptcy and so on. There are always options.
- Your rights and responsibilities around credit and debt
- How to access other services you may need, such as legal services, crisis food and accomodation services, and health services.
Financial counselling is free, confidential and independent. The National Deb Helpline is a not-for-profit, community based service that's available to people in Australia experiencing financial difficulty.