IWSN Fact Sheet Financial Counselling 2015

 Injured Workers Support Network
Fact Sheet
Financial Counselling -­‐Note: Information contained in this fact sheet is general advice only and should not be relied upon as professional legal or medical advice. “People from all walks of life can find themselves with money problems. Financial counsellors are non-­‐judgmental, qualified professionals who provide information, support and advocacy to people in financial difficulty. Working in community organisations, their services are free, independent and confidential. ” (Financial Counselling Australia. Financial counselling and workers compensation: Financial stress is a common experience for people recovering from a workplace injury. Your pay might reduce, but your bills don’t, and your medical expenses may increase. If your recovery is long-­‐term or your injury permanent financial counselling may be a way to assist you in dealing with the financial stress. If you are looking to receive a lump sum payment through the courts it is important you know that this needs to cover you for a number of months if not years before you can access Centerlink benefits. A financial counsellor can help you make that payment stretch. What financial counsellors do Financial counsellors provide a free, confidential and independent service. Financial counsellors can: • Suggest ways to improve your financial situation • See if you are eligible for government assistance • Negotiate repayment arrangements with your creditors • Explain your options and their consequences, including debt recovery procedures, bankruptcy and other alternatives • Help you apply for a hardship variation • Help you organise your finances and do a budget • Refer you to other services, for example, a gambling helpline, family support, personal counselling or community legal aid IWSN Fact Sheet Financial Counselling. Correct as of May 2015 Financial counsellors can also help with the following problems: • Debts that you are struggling to pay • Threatening letters or harassment by debt collectors • Debt recovery through the courts • House eviction, disconnection of gas, electricity, phone etc • Uninsured car accidents, taxation debts and unpaid fines Financial counselling is not Debt Consolidation. There are other businesses that offer to assist you to consolidate your debts. These often change you a fee and assist you with a new loan (where your debt is consolidated). How to find a financial counsellor. There are a large number of community services that provide financial counselling across NSW. To find one please go to: www.moneysmart.gov.au Financial counselling hotline 1800 007 007 The free hotline is open from 9:30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. When you call this number you will be automatically transferred to the phone service in your state. Calls from mobile phones may incur a fee from the mobile phone carrier. Their website is www.financialrights.org.au and it contains a large number of good fact sheets about debt and budgeting. Get an online debt assessment Use the free Debt Self Help Online Assessment Tool from Financial Counselling Australia to get a tailored assessment of your debt situation. You can also contact a financial counsellor through their website. www.debtselfhelp.org.au Information taken from the moneysmart website. IWSN Fact Sheet Financial Counselling. Correct as of May 2015