Cancer Council offers four pro bono services for people who are experiencing financial hardship as the result of their cancer diagnosis - Legal, Financial, Workplace Advisory and Small Business Advice. These services are delivered by professionals in the community who volunteer their time to assist people who cannot afford to pay for advice. Cancer Council matches eligible people to the appropriate service providers.
These services are free for people who qualify via a means test. If you don’t qualify for free help, paid assistance is available.
Legal referral services
Having cancer can raise numerous legal issues that can be challenging and expensive to manage. We can connect you to free legal advice and assistance on a range of legal matters.
The program focuses on:
- End-of-life legal matters, including wills, powers of attorney and making parenting arrangements for terminally ill clients with children;
- Legal matters relating to financial hardship, including early access to superannuation, insurance claims and disputes, mortgage hardship and other credit and debt issues;
- Employment issues and other disputes, including discrimination and tenancy matters.
Legal assistance is available to patients, as well as carers and bereaved carers, where the legal issues are related to the patient’s cancer.
Financial planning referral service
If you or someone in your family has cancer and you need financial advice, we can connect you with a financial planner in your area at no cost.
Loss of wages and other mounting costs such as treatment, childcare and accommodation leave many patients in need of access to additional funds after a cancer diagnosis.
The financial planner can help you with:
- Centrelink payments in relation to your overall financial matters
- debt management
- restructuring income and assets
- estate planning
- transition-to-retirement strategies.
This may be at their office, or at your hospital or home. If you speak a language other than English, we can arrange an interpreter for you.
Workplace advice service
This free program can help you to:
- Manage workplace issues before, during and after treatment, including disclosing a diagnosis, managing expectations, coping with side effects at work, taking leave and managing discrimination, bullying and harassment
- Transition back into the workface after a period off work for treatment, including reviewing CVs, role-playing interviews and connecting with recruitment services.
Small business advice service
We provide patients and carers with access to free assistance to manage their small business after a cancer diagnosis. Qualified accountants can advise on tax issues, appointing a caretaker, business debts, sale of a business and assets, and other issues.
How do I find out more?
For information, support and to confirm your eligibility for any of these pro bono services, contact 13 11 20 or send a message through this online form and a nurse will be in contact with you as soon as possible.
Please note: Cancer Council staff and volunteers do not provide financial advice to callers.
Other services that may be of assistance:
If you have urgent concerns about your financial situation related to your cancer diagnosis or treatment, we recommend you speak with your hospital social worker and contact the websites below for more information and assistance.
Provides emergency food and material aid.
Advises on government disability, sickness and carers' payments.
Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service
Provides emergency accommodation and other services.
Formerly known as the Malcolm Sargent Cancer Fund For Children. Provides emergency and practical financial support to families where a child is being treated for cancer.
Provides emergency financial assistance, clothing, house furnishings and shelter.
Victorian Patient Transport Assistance Scheme
The Victorian Patient Transport Assistance Scheme (VPTAS) is run through the Department of Human Services in Geelong. You must travel more than 100km (each way) for medical treatment, or 500km a week for over 5 weeks to be eligible.
Provides information on where to get help if you're in crisis or struggling to make ends meet.
Provides information on government services and payments.