For people with a chronic health condition - especially kidney disease
Quick links: Families and Carers and Home Dialysis
Australian Home Dialysis Patient - Financial Support
Patients on home dialysis treatment may be eligible for financial assistance for costs related to, but not exclusive to, electricity and water. More at www.homedialysis.org.au
Essential Medical Equipment Payment
Annual $140 payment to people who experience additional increases in home energy costs from the use of essential medical equipment to manage their disability or medical condition. This payment must be claimed.
This subsidy applies if you run a Home Dialysis machine in your home. Refer Clean Energy Future Q&A> & Centrelink - Essential Medical Equipment Payment (several translated infosheets).
NEED FINANCIAL SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE?
You may be able to claim disability benefits from your Super or Insurance. Our fact sheets below may help answer questions. Also refer Medicare - Your Health
Early access to preserved superannuation funds
You may be able to access your preserved superannuation If you have a chronic disease, especially CKD are on dialysis and are under financial stress, under some circumstances:
- if you've been on Centrelink payments for at least six months and can't pay living expenses (up to $10,000 per annum)
- if you're over retirement age (55-65) and on Centrelink payments for nine months (all your Super)
- if you need money to pay for palliative care, funeral expenses, modifications to your home or car, or medical and transport expenses for treatment outside the public health system, for you or a dependent
- if you need funds to cover loan repayments to prevent sale of your home (up to 3 month repayments plus 12 month interest)
- if permanently incapacitated for work (you can get all of your Super)
- if preserved amount is up to $200
- if a temporary resident and permanently leave Australia (you can get all of your Super)
Total and permanent disability benefits
To get a TPD lump sum you need to prove you can not return to your usual job, or other suitable work that fits your education, training or experience. You don't have to be unfit for any work at all e.g. if you have only ever done manual work and can't do this work now, it won't matter if doctors say you could do office work. If you lose the use of your arms, legs or eyes, you may qualify for a TPD benefit even if you can still work. There is a six month qualifying period, but this can be reduced. Many people with disability will qualify for a TPD benefit, as will many on disability support pensions.
What are superannuation disability benefits?
Most superannuation policies include disability benefits. Superannuation disability benefits are total and permanent disability (TPD) lump sums, or disability pensions, or both. They are usually insurance benefits that 'top up' the contributions in your fund if you have to stop work.
It's important to get advice from experts
Disability claims can be complicated but it's important to find out about your rights. There are time limits for appeals to the courts so you should get help from an experienced lawyer before making a claim or appeal.
Free Super and Insurance Advice Service - for people with kidney disease and others with chronic conditions. Fact Sheets below are only a general guide to legal, superannuation and financial issues and not a substitute for professional advice. Kidney Health Australia acknowledges contributions of John Berrill from Maurice Blackburn Lawyers developing this information. Call 1800 810 812 - Maurice Blackburn Lawyers www.mauriceblackburn.com.au
AUSTRALIAN FAMILY AND CARER FINANCE AND SUPPORT SERVICES
Australian Patient Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS) state information
Isolated Patient Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS)
Patients traveling to city for treatment may be eligible for a government scheme to provide financial support for travel and accommodation. Patients may be unaware of eligibility for this support. Refer to information below for State concessions and subsidies.
Patients should be advised they may need to claim in advance in some states. In some states, support is available for family members and some states also have patient accommodation available through the cancer organisations or hospitals at reduced cost. A list of available resources can be obtained from each State and Territory cancer organisation or local hospital.
Dialysis Transport Information booklets
These transport information booklets detail options that should be available in your State, to assist you in attending your local dialysis clinic. You may need to use a combination of services. Talk to staff at your local dialysis clinic if unable to find a transport solution.
Dialysis Transport Options - ACT
Dialysis Transport Options - New South Wales
Dialysis Transport Options - Queensland
Dialysis Transport Options - South Australia
Dialysis Transport Options - Tasmania
Dialysis Transport Options - Victoria (updated December 2013)
Dialysis Transport Options - Western Australia
Electricity and Water concessions
Carers Payment and Allowances
Patients on Home Dialysis treatment may be eligible for financial assistance for costs related to, but not exclusive to electricity and water. The HOME Network has put together Fact Sheets providing a guide to concessions available in each State of Australia. Refer Home Dialysis - Support: Finance page>
If your carer is helping you with the dialysis and other activities of daily living you may be eligible for carer financial assistance. Support is available via Centrelink or call 132 717.
Handy quick links: Centrelink Payment Finder * Illness or Disability
Department of Social Services - Disability and Carers Benefits and Payments
Useful financial and general resources
Medicare Australia - 132 011 to locate a Medicare office
TTY 1800 552 152 for hearing/speech impaired - 131 450 for interpreting service
Private Health Insurance and Chronic Disease
Updated 25 May 2015