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Coping Financially with Injury or Illness
Each month, bills still have to be paid, even if an injury or other medical condition has been preventing you from working and earning an income. However, the good news is that assistance is available in this regard if required. After all, it is stressful enough to be dealing with illness or injuries without having to worry about how you are going to meet your financial obligations as well.
Ensuring that you receive what you are legally entitled to, and being able to offset regular bill payments can go a long way in helping to relieve some of the stress of what is already a difficult situation.
At present, government services that are available to assist in situations like these include Centrelink and the Department of Human Services. Under exceptional circumstances or compassionate grounds, it may sometimes be possible to obtain early access to superannuation fund – especially if your injury or illness has been deemed to be catastrophic. You will be able to apply for this via the Department of Human Services.
In some cases, it is also recommended that you contact Financial Counselling Australia so you can chat with someone that will be able to provide unbiased and free information regarding how to obtain assistance or work through your current financial situation.
In the event that you are ill or injured, it’s quite easy to miss out on essential information. As a result, you should have someone you can rely on who will be able to question, listen and ensure that your needs are being attended to.
It’s important to choose someone you can fully trust such as a close friend or family member, who will be able to advocate on your behalf, help understand messages and instructions from medical professionals and schedule any required medical payments that may need to be made.
During this time, it is also important to find out from your employer how much paid sick leave you have due to you, whether it will be possible to take unpaid leave or not, and how long they will allow you to be off work for you to recover. The Fair Work Ombudsman’s Sick and Carer’s Leave Information will also provide you with information regarding your rights at your place of employment.
It is essential to check any insurance policies you may have, including any that may be linked to your superannuation. This will enable you to see if they are able to provide any form of bill payment assistance or income support.
Various types of insurance include:
- Health insurance, which can assist with medical expenses
- Income protection, which provides income until you are able to work again, or indefinitely if you are no longer able to work at all
- Trauma insurance, which makes provision for specific injuries or illnesses
- Total and permanent disability insurance, which may be incorporated into your superannuation and will cover costs associated with bill payments, rehabilitation and daily living expenses
Don’t be Afraid to Reach Out
It’s important to be open about your circumstances with any debtors you may have, and by doing this, you may be able to ask for a hardship variation on your bills or even a customised repayment plan that will enable you to pay lower installments.
A financial advisor will be able to assist you with selecting suitable insurance plans or even setting up the above mentioned payment plans. They will also be able to assist you with managing the rest of your family’s finances while you are not able to work due to injury or illness, which will enable you to focus solely on recovering as soon as possible.
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