Here we provide information about financial assistance that may be available for people with kidney disease, especially those on dialysis or having a kidney transplant.
There are also links to organisations and programs that may be useful.
Assistance for home dialysis
Under the federal government’s Essential Medical Equipment Payment program, people on home dialysis may be eligible for assistance with the costs of running their dialysis machine and medically required heating or cooling, or both.
You may also be eligible for other concessions for electricity and water costs. Further details, including a guide to concessions available in each state and territory, can be found on our home dialysis website here.
Early access to preserved superannuation funds
If you have kidney disease and are under financial stress, you may be able to access your preserved superannuation if:
- you have been on Centrelink payments for at least six months and can't pay living expenses (you may be able to claim up to $10,000 per annum)
- you are over the retirement age (55 to 60) and have been on Centrelink payments for nine months (you may be able to claim all your super)
- you, or a dependant, 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
- you need funds to cover loan repayments to prevent the sale of your home (you may be able to claim up to 3 months of repayments plus 12 months interest)
- you are permanently incapacitated (you may be able to claim all of your super)
- the preserved amount of your superannuation is up to $200
- you are a temporary resident and permanently leave Australia (you may be able to claim all of your super).
Total and permanent disability benefits
In order to be eligible for a total and permanent disability benefit you need to prove you cannot return to your usual job or other suitable work that fits your education, training or experience.
Many people with a disability such as kidney disease will qualify for a benefit, as will many on disability support pensions.
You don't need to be unfit for any work at all. For example, if you have only ever done manual work and can't do it now, but doctors say you could do office work, you may still be eligible.
Superannuation disability benefits
Most superannuation policies include benefits for disabilities such as kidney disease. Superannuation disability benefits are paid as lump sums for total and permanent disability, or disability pensions, or both.
These are usually insurance benefits that 'top up' the contributions in your fund if you need to stop work.
Advice from experts
Disability claims can be complicated and 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.
We are grateful to John Berrill from Maurice Blackburn Lawyers for helping us compile our information on superannuation and insurance benefits. Free advice from the firm is available for people with chronic kidney disease.
You can phone them on freecall 1800 810 812 or visit their website here.
People with kidney disease traveling from rural and regional areas to the city for treatment may be eligible for financial support under various state government schemes. Refer to the sites below for details of concessions and subsidies:
- ACT – Interstate Patient Travel Assistance Scheme
- NSW – Isolated Patients’ Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme
- NT – Patient Assistance Travel Scheme
- QLD – Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme
- SA – Patient Assistance Transport Scheme
- TAS – Patient Travel Assistance Scheme
- VIC – Victorian Patient Transport Assistance Scheme
- Veteran Affairs – Transport benefits and concessions
- WA – Patient Assisted Travel Scheme
- WA – Live Kidney Donor Travel Reimbursement Scheme
Private health insurance
Some private health insurance policies cover chronic kidney disease, including dialysis. You can check what’s available on the Compare the Market website here.
The federal government provides helpful information about comparing health insurance policies. Phone 1300 737 299 or visit their website here.
If you have a complaint against a health insurer, you can seek assistance from the federal government’s Private Health Insurance Ombudsman. Phone 1800 640 695 or visit their website here.
To access your private health records, contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. Phone 1300 63 992 or visit their website here.
Assistance for carers
If a carer is helping you with dialysis and other activities of daily living, you may be eligible for carer financial assistance. To find out, phone Centrelink on 132 7171 or check the Centrelink Payment Finder here.
Another handy link to details about payments is the Department of Human Services website page, which you can visit here.
You can also find information about assistance for carers here.
Other useful links
Carers Australia – the national peak body representing Australia’s carers.
Children with Disability Australia – the national peak body representing children and young people with disability.
Chronic Illness Alliance – contains a plain English web guide to legal issues around health and life changes.
Consumers Health Forum of Australia – covers issues including health financing, privacy, patient safety, use of medicines, clinical standards and general practice.
Department of Social Services – contains information for people with a disability and their carers.
Medicare: Allied Health Initiative – allows people with a chronic illness to access Medicare rebates for allied health services.
Medicare: Chronic medical condition assistance – provides details of support available if you have a chronic medical condition.
Medicare Safety Net – details financial assistance for high costs for out-of-hospital medical services.
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme – provide details of help available to cover the cost of a wide range of prescription medicines.
Switchwise – provides a comparison calculator for finding the lowest-cost energy provider in your State.
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