The Hardship Assistance Fund provides direct relief from hardship to volunteers and their dependants. It is designed to help cover basic living costs such as rent, food and utilities. Financial assistance is not provided for expenses arising as a result of living beyond one’s means, or to clear gambling incurred debt, or to fund lifestyle choices.
Applications must be for a volunteer who is a member of an emergency services group created under the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1998; Bush Fires Act 1954; or the Fire Brigades Act 1942 and who has served a minimum of six months (unless in exceptional emergency situations). Surviving dependants of eligible volunteers (if death has occurred within a 12 month timeframe) are also eligible to apply.
Applications are submitted and endorsed by the relevant volunteer association.
What is hardship?
Hardship is when a volunteer is unable to meet minimum living expenses because of unexpected or unforseen events, such as:
- Loss of work or reduction of work hours
- Illness or death of family member
- Relationship breakdown
- Accidental injury or illness
- Emergency event or natural disaster
Under such circumstances, hardship assistance is provided in order to bridge the gap between changed circumstances (i.e. inability to meet expenses) and a return to normal circumstances.
Up to $5,000 of hardship assistance can be provided in order for an eligible applicant to meet the following expenses:
- Outstanding utility accounts and charges
- General household expenses (including emergency primary needs)
- Expenses for funeral of a family member
- Unexpected accounts due to accident or injury to self or family member
- Self-employment expenses
- Support for dependent family members
- Last resort welfare mechanisms for self or family member
- Medical expenses
- Municipal rates
- Mortgage or lease expenses