This page provides information about the financial assistance that might help rural and remote families with costs of raising children, accessing health care and coping with financial hardship.
Managing healthcare expenses for rural families
If you live in a rural or remote area and need to travel to access health care, you may be eligible for financial assistance. Patient Assisted Travel Schemes (PATS) provide reimbursement for some travel and accommodation costs.
Each state and territory has its own PATS, which pays for part or all of your transport costs and helps towards accommodation costs at times when the only option is to travel for your medical care.
Medicare rebates are available for telehealth appointments to improve access to specialists for people in rural and remote locations.
Asking your specialist if they do Skype or other telehealth consultations could save you travel time and costs. Find out more about Medicare benefits for telehealth.
You may qualify for greater rebates from Medicare if your family meets the safety net threshold. Find out more about this and register your family at Medicare Safety Net.
Payments and services for people who live in regional, rural or remote Australia
The Australian Government provides several payments and services for people who live in regional, rural or remote Australia. These include:
Carers of children with a disability or medical condition can apply for government benefits such as the Carer Payment (income support) or Carer Allowance (a supplementary payment), along with other forms of financial assistance — find out more about payments for carers. You can access government-funded services for carers by contacting Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737.
Support during financial hardship
When things are tough financially, it can take an emotional toll on families. Charitable organisations like St Vincent De Paul or the Salvation Army also provide assistance to families in crisis. Below are some of the organisations and websites that can help if you need financial assistance, support or counselling in a crisis.
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Last reviewed: September 2021