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Financial support for rural families

5-minute read

Key facts

  • The Australian Government provides financial support and services for people who live in regional, rural or remote Australia, including farmers, student and others.
  • Financial assistance can help with costs of raising children, accessing health care and coping with financial hardship.
  • If you live in a rural or remote area and need to travel to access health care, you may be eligible for extra financial aid, such as Patient Assisted Travel Schemes (PATS), who provide a refund for some travel and accommodation costs.
  • There is also a range of other health, transportation, accommodation and crisis support options available to eligible people who live in rural or remote communities.

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 aid. Patient Assisted Travel Schemes (PATS) provide a refund for some travel and accommodation costs.

Each state and territory has its own PATS. This program pays for part or all of your transport costs and helps towards accommodation costs. It is for times when the only option is to travel for your medical care.

Medicare rebates are available for telehealth appointments. This is to improve your access to specialists if you live in rural or remote locations. Asking your specialist if they do 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 Nets.

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.

Payments for farmers include:

Payments for students include:

Financial help for carers

Carers of children with a disability or medical condition can apply for government benefits such as:

These may be available in addition to other forms of financial aid. 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 your family. Community support groups like St Vincent De Paul or the Salvation Army provide help to families in crisis.

Some of the organisations and websites that can help if you need financial aid, support or counselling in a crisis include:

For access to crisis support and suicide prevention services call Lifeline on 13 11 14, available 24 hours a day / 7 days a week.

The Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) has a national information line on 1300 771 741. They provide free, independent and confidential assistance to help eligible farmers and small rural related businesses with current and long-term financial planning.

Speak to a maternal child health nurse

Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: September 2023

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