Where to find help managing debts

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Where to find help managing debts

Many Australians are finding themselves in financial difficulty. You are not alone if you're not able to keep up with cost of living expenses, or your debt is becoming hard to manage. 

You can find information about support services available to help you below.

Contact a financial counsellor

If you are experiencing financial difficulty, there is help available. We recommend contacting a financial counsellor who can help you make a plan to financial recovery. 

Financial counsellors offer free, independent and confidential services to help you get back on track and discuss your options for dealing with unmanageable debt. 

Financial counselling services

National Debt Helpline - 1800 007 007
 

The National Debt Helpline is a free hotline to help you tackle debt problems. Their financial counsellors provide free, independent and confidential services. 

  • Call 1800 007 007 - 9:30am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday.
  • Live Chat with a financial counsellor - 9:00am to 8:00pm, Monday to Friday.
     

Mob Strong Debt Help - 1800 808 488
 

Mob strong are a free nationwide legal advice and financial counselling service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 

Call 1800 808 488 - 9:30am - 4:30pm, Monday to Friday.


Small Business Debt Helpline - 1800 413 828
 

The Small Business Debt Helpline is a free service for small business owners in financial difficulty.

  • Call 1800 413 828 - 9am - 5:30pm AEST, Monday to Friday
  • Live Chat with a financial counsellor - 9am - 5:30pm AEST, Monday to Friday


Rural Financial Counselling Service Program
 

The Rural Financial Counselling Service Program provides free and independent financial counselling to eligible farmers, fishers, foresters and small related enterprises who are experiencing, or at risk of, financial hardship.

 

If you’re facing personal financial problems, it’s important to know where to go for help that you can trust. Find out more about untrustworthy debt advisors.

Find a financial counsellor near you

Specialist financial counsellors 

Some financial counsellors are specialists in providing free advice and support to individuals in specific circumstances. This includes: farmers, first nations people, small business, people with gambling issues or people who have experienced family and domestic violence. If this is you, it may help to speak to a financial counsellor who specialises in this area.

If you are unsure whether you need a specialist financial councillor, you can contact the national Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.

How a financial counsellor can help


When you contact one of these services you will speak to a trained financial counsellor who can help assess your situation and provide you with free advice to help you move on.

If your matter is more complex, they can refer you to your closest financial counselling service to see a financial counsellor in your local area.

Financial counsellors work in various community organisations and are all:

  • free
  • qualified
  • confidential
  • impartial
  • non-judgemental
  • respectful


Financial counsellors can offer help and guidance in the following areas:

Managing your debts
  • work out what you can afford to pay
  • negotiate payment terms
  • prioritise your debts
  • know your rights
Explaining your options
  • apply for government benefits or emergency assistance
  • request a hardship variation
  • connect you with support services
  • temporary relief
  • debt agreement
  • help decide if this is the best option for you
  • bankruptcy
    • explain how bankruptcy could affect you
    • help you apply

 

You may come across other services who offer to provide this advice for a fee, such as debt consolidation companies. You may be able to get the same service and information from a financial counsellor for free.

Video: where to find help

Help with living expenses

ASIC’s MoneySmart website can help make your money go further with free tools, tips and guidance across many topics.

Many state and territory governments also have concessions, rebates and assistance available to help you make ends meet. Contact your local state or territory government to find what may be available. 

State or territory

Contact

New South Wales

nsw.gov.au

Victoria

vic.gov.au

Queensland

qld.gov.au

South Australia

sa.gov.au

Western Australia

wa.gov.au

Tasmania

service.tas.gov.au

Northern Territory

nt.gov.au

Australian Capital Territory

act.gov.au

You can also read more on our website about Budgeting and Dealing with debt

Support in a crisis

If you are in a crisis and need assistance with housing, food, emergency help and other essential services, there is help available. 

Ask Izzy 

Ask Izzy is a website that connects people in need with housing, a meal, money help, family violence support, counselling and much more. It is free and anonymous and if you are on the Telstra or Vodafone mobile network, you can access AskIzzy on your phone even if you don't have credit or access to wifi. 

Services Australia

Services Australia - call 132 850

Services Australia or Centrelink can help if you’re in severe financial hardship, recovering from a disaster, or need special assistance. In some situations, you may be able to access crisis payments or advanced payments

 

Not for profit services

The Salvation Army - call 13 72 58.

The Salvation Army offers a range of services to help with financial hardship, crisis support and more.

 

St Vincent de Paul Society - call 13 18 12

St Vincent de Paul Society offer people who need help with everyday living costs along with the impacts that can be felt when facing poverty and disadvantage.

Small business help

Small Business Debt Helpline - call 1800 413 828

The Small Business Debt Helpline is a free service for small business owners in financial difficulty.

 

Business.gov.au - call 13 28 46

Business.gov.au is a whole-of-government website for the business community. It provides information, grants, services and support for business owners.

Indigenous assistance

Mob Strong Debt Help - call 1800 808 488

Mob Strong Debt Help is a free nationwide legal advice and financial counselling service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

You can find more money tips and resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at ASIC's MoneySmart website Indigenous Outreach Program.

Free legal advice

See the Seek legal assistance for debt related issues page.

Community support services

Mental health and wellbeing

Lifeline - call 13 11 14 (24 hours a day).

Lifeline crisis support service is available to anyone needing emotional support.

 

Beyond Blue - call 1300 22 4636

Beyond Blue offers support for people affected by anxiety, depression and suicide.

 

Alcohol and Drug Counselling Online

Alcohol and Drug Counselling Online is a free and confidential service that provides support to people across Australia affected by alcohol or drug use.

 

Gambling Help Online - call 1800 858 858

Gambling Help Online provides free support for anyone affected by gambling in Australia.

Domestic violence, family violence or abuse

1800Respect - call 1800 737 732

1800RESPECT offers support to people impacted by domestic, family or sexual violence.

Financial abuse

Financial abuse occurs if someone restricts or controls your access to money or uses your money without consent. You can find out more and get help from ASIC's MoneySmart website at Financial abuse.

Separation and family dispute resolution

Relationships Australia - call 1300 364 277

Relationships Australia can help provide family and relationship counselling as well as range of other support services. 

 

Family Relationships Online - call 1800 050 321

Family Relationships Online can provide a range of counselling and dispute resolution services for relationship issues and separation. 

 

Help in your language

Translating and Interpreting Service - call 131 450 (24 hours a day)

The Translating and Interpreting Service can help you if you have difficulty speaking or understanding English.

You can also see the Help in your language section.