Feeling the pinch as Christmas looms? We’ve rounded up the help available for South Australians doing it tough.
With the cost of living through the roof, this silly season might not be feeling quite so merry and bright for many South Australians right now. That’s why the State Government funds a range of services to make Christmas cheer on a budget possible. From no-interest loans to discounts on your bills, now is the time to make the most of all the help available to manage the festive financial crunch.
Cash relief could be a click away
The government’s Cost of Living Concession has already helped out over 212,507 households this financial year with a total of $42.7 million in support. And guess what? You can still apply for it.
If you’re a full-time student, not currently working, or on a low income, you might be eligible for up to $243.90 as a one-off payment. The deadline’s 31 December, so hop on the website and apply now.
People who need help with the eligibility criteria can hit up the Department of Human Services website for all the information on concessions and other support available.
Your guide to Affordable SA
If you feel like you’re in a hole or need help in a hurry, Affordable SA is where to go. Run by the Salvation Army, the platform provides advice and information on nearby places you can go for help. It really is a one-stop-shop, with everything you need for support across 15 different categories, including food relief, accommodation and transport. It’s free, confidential and promises to treat all comers with dignity. Check it out at the Affordable SA website, where you can also download the app, or call 1800 025 539.
Support in a financial crisis
In August, the State Government launched its Financial Wellbeing Program across the state to assist South Australians to manage their financial stress. The program provides financial counselling, help to manage and renegotiate debt, access to no-interest loans, and emergency financial support. We’ve laid out all the details about it for you here.
There are a bunch of service providers involved in this. Depending on where you are in SA, you can reach out to groups like Lutheran Care, Uniting Communities, Centacare Catholic Country, and several others. More info on the program and which provider covers your part of the state is here.
Offline? Help’s available for students
Life can be especially tough if you can’t afford an internet connection- especially if you’re the parent of a school-aged child who needs it to study. It’s just one more thing to worry about saving up for over the summer break. But did you know that if you live in a household with a school student, then you might be eligible for free internet access to help them study? Find out all the details here.
Energy bill relief already flowing
Rising power prices are making it tough for many families. To help, the Energy Bill Relief Fund is providing about 420,000 vulnerable households with a $500 rebate on their electricity bills this financial year. The rebate is paid on top of the existing State Government energy concession, which is worth up to $263.15 per household in 2023-24. This means these households get an impressive – and super helpful – $763.15 total savings on their power bills across the financial year.
All households which currently receive the energy concession automatically qualify for the rebate, which is applied directly by retailers and spread evenly across the quarterly electricity bills. Households which receive Family Tax Benefit, Carer Allowance or holders of certain Department of Veteran Affairs cards are also eligible for the $500 relief, which is being delivered in partnership with the Federal Government.
If you think you’re eligible for the rebate but haven’t yet received it, visit Energy bill relief for households – South Australia for more information.
More government concessions
The government’s got a bunch of other concessions and programs available too, including help with discounts on water and sewage rates, and even low-cost glasses. 2023’s been tough with cost of living, inflation and rising interest rates, but Christmas adds its own kind of stress. That means it’s really worth making the most of all the concessions and help you’re eligible for. You can find the full list here (plus eligibility requirements).
If you or someone you know is experiencing financial stress, you can find emergency help with finances here.