The following information has been sourced from the Department of Human Services. This is a good starting point for information on the range of counselling and financial support services available to those who are managing the loss of a loved one.
Support and referral services offered the Department of Human Services
- Social work services – The Department of Human Services has social workers can help you during difficult times by providing counselling, support, and information
- Financial Information Service – The Department of Human Services hasa free, confidential service available to all Australians to help you make informed decisions about investment and financial issues for your current and future needs
- Someone else to deal with us on your behalf – if you would prefer to have someone else deal with Human Services on your behalf about our payments and services, you can authorize a person or organisation to be your nominee or make enquires only
Read about eligibility and how to start the claiming process for the following payments and services:
- Bereavement Allowance – a short term income support payment for recently widowed people to help them adjust after their partner has died
- Bereavement Payment – helps ease your adjustment to changed financial circumstances after the death of your partner, child or person you were caring for
- Double Orphan Pension – provides help with the costs of caring for children who are orphans or who are unable to be cared for by their parents in certain circumstances. There is no income or assets test required
- Pension Bonus Bereavement Payment – a payment to the surviving partner of a member of the Pension Bonus Scheme who did not make a successful claim for the bonus before their death
You can also find out if you are eligible for any Human Services payments by using Payment and Service Finder.
After the death of a loved one, you may need to find out more about changes to the investments you own. You should tell us of any changes to your income and assets as they may impact any payment you receive or become eligible for.
If your partner had superannuation you may also be entitled to a super payment. You need to contact their super fund and find out if you could be eligible for any payments.
You should also carefully consider the implications of passing on assets to children or other family members and friends and bypassing yourself. This can affect your asset position and may result in changed payment rates.
Relatives and friends do not have to pay the debts of the person who has died unless the debts are in joint names. Debts can be paid from the estate.
If you would like help to work out a budget, manage your financial affairs or if you are in financial trouble, you can speak to a financial counsellor by contacting any of the following:
- your local Community Information and Referral Service
- a Welfare Rights Centre
- Rural Financial Counselling services
- Financial Counselling Australia
If you do not have the money to pay for the deceased person’s funeral, you might be able to access their bank account to cover the funeral expenses. If your spouse or a dependent is the one who has died and you are unable to pay for the funeral, you may be able to apply for part of your superannuation on the basis of compassionate grounds, through the Australian Government Department of Human Services.
Early release of super
You generally can’t get your super before you reach your preservation age. However, in some circumstances, the law does allow you to access your super early. These limited circumstances include specified compassionate grounds and severe financial hardship.
Read more about early access to your superannuation on compassionate grounds on the Australian Taxation Office website.
For more information about early release of superannuation due to severe financial hardship, contact your super fund.
Grieving is a natural part of losing someone close to you, so adjusting to your new circumstances may take time. Counsellors can often assist people who are grieving. Our social workers can refer you to grief counselling. Counsellors can also be contacted through organisations such as community health centres, the National Association for Loss and Grief or Lifeline.
It may seem difficult at first to take part in social groups and activities. You may or may not want people around you. With time, the company of others may help you develop new interests. Your local council, community health centre or our social workers can put you in touch with organisations such as Rotary or Apex that would value your assistance as a volunteer. You can also join in their activities and outings.
Taking care of your diet and regular exercise can assist you to re-establish a routine. We can arrange for visits by a community nurse if necessary. Community groups or local councils may arrange services to help care for your house or garden. Some of these services are free and some may be provided only after your needs have been assessed.
You may want to stay in your family home. However, if this is difficult, think about all the options carefully before you decide on a change. Moving too quickly may not be the best solution.
You can talk to a Financial Information Services officer. They can give you information about how major decisions you make could affect the payment you receive from us.
There are a range of other organisations that provide support services and useful information you may find helpful. You can use Payment and Service Finder to find help in your local area.
MoneySmart has information to help you make the most of your money. Read the Losing your partner section on the MoneySmart website.
Financial Counselling Australia is the peak body for financial counsellors in Australia. They can put you in touch with a financial counsellor if you are in financial difficulty.
Headspace is the national youth mental health foundation. They can help young people who are going through a tough time.
If you are experiencing depression, anxiety or stress, you may find it helpful to talk to somebody about your mental health.
Lifeline is a national charity open to all Australians in personal crisis. They have 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Solace Australia provides support for people who have lost their partner.