A cancer diagnosis can turn your life upside down. Facing a serious illness and a long treatment journey can be extremely daunting, so to help make things a little easier for you we will be bringing you a weekly 'coping with cancer' series. These articles will offer a range of advice and information on various issues from nutrition to finances. We will also provide advice on how to best connect with our relevant support services so you can spend more time focusing on the things you love.
This week, we're talking legal and financial changes. Nobody plans to have cancer, so it's natural to be caught unawares by the costs or sometimes legal challenges involved if you, or someone close to you is diagnosed.
Cancer is stressful enough without having to worry about how to make ends meet. So, to help make things a little easier for you we provide a Pro Bono Referral Service available free of charge to eligible clients to help you navigate through the maze of options available.
The areas our Pro Bono Referral Service can assist you include:
- Legal Assistance - drafting your will, accessing your superannuation early, mortgage hardship and insurance claims.
- Financial Planning - applying for Centrelink benefits, budgeting, planning for retirement and debt management.
- Workplace Advisory Service - managing workplace issues before, during and after treatment; including disclosing a diagnosis, taking leave and transitioning back into the workforce after a period of time off for treatment.
- Small Business Advisory Service - assistance with bookkeeping and Business Activity Statement (BAS) lodgement, to the management of business debts, appointing a temporary caretaker during treatment, and also longer - term succession planning.
You can access a range of fact sheets providing information about common legal and financial issues, along with further information about our Pro Bono Referral Service here.
We have also put together our top four tips for coping with financial stress:
1. Ask a professional
You may never have had to worry about your finances before and you might not know where to start, but help is at hand. Financial counsellors provide a free service and can help you manage your budget and access support.
2. Keep track
Preparing a personal budget will help you develop a strong understanding of your financial situation. Write down all your income and expenses and then calculate the difference. If you find that you are now spending more than you expect to be earning, explore how you can reduce your expenses and / or supplement your income. Our Cancer and Your Finances booklet
outlines ways you might be able to do this.
3. Take action early
Informing your creditors and service providers of your circumstances early will help to ease the stress of debts and ensure you aren't hit with penalties or late payment fees. Most providers of essential such as electricity, gas, water and phone are required to help customers who are having trouble paying their bills.
4. Talk about it
Financial stress adds to the worry of being diagnosed with cancer and may feel overwhelming or place strain on your wellbeing or relationships. If you are finding it hard to cope emotionally give our cancer care nurses a call on 13 11 20 - they can connect you with a range of services and resources to help you manage the range of emotions associated with cancer and connect you with our Pro Bono Referral Service to help assist you with legal and financial issues free of charge.
You don't have to face the stresses of cancer alone. Whether you are looking for trustworthy information or simply need someone to listen to your immediate concerns, we can support you, your family and friends.
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