The financial burden of a cancer diagnosis can be significant for patients and their family who often face additional medical and practical expenses, alongside a reduction of income. Questions arise around how to access alternate sources of income, whether they will be entitled to access insurance and superannuation, how to navigate complex claim forms and how to manage debts and negotiate with creditors. The significant economic and human impact of COVID-19 has exacerbated these issues for people affected by cancer who are now facing additional financial hardship.
People affected by cancer are often unable to navigate financial issues alone. Cancer Council has established a number of practical support services to support patients and carers with their financial matters. Cancer Council’s national Pro Bono Program, established in 2010, connects people affected by cancer with financial advisers and lawyers who provide free advice and support with a variety of financial issues, including debt management, applying for early access to superannuation and attached insurances and appealing denied applications. Since 2010, Cancer Council has assisted more than 14,000 families across Australia with managing the financial implications of a cancer diagnosis.
Cancer Council NSW also offers support to cancer patients and carers who are facing acute and critical financial hardship, through financial navigation, financial counselling, and financial assistance to pay everyday expenses. Cancer Council NSW’s financial navigator assesses a client’s financial needs and connects them with the right support, at the right time. Financial counsellors act as an advocate and negotiator on behalf of a patient or carer, supporting them to prepare and manage their budget, manage debts, and provide information about financial rights.