Loans for pensioners

Most of us need a little help financially now and again and personal loans are often the chosen method to help us out of a tight spot. But if you’re on a pension, a personal loan may not be accessible, nor the most suitable means by which to borrow money. If you’re on a fixed income provided by government welfare payments, then you may be able to access special pensioner loan schemes. These pensioner loan schemes can give access to affordable and timely financial assistance with the added benefits of low or no interest rates and flexible payment options.

Eligibility for pensioner loans is varied. However, even if you have missed payments in the past and have a credit history which is less than desirable, they offer a safer and reliable option to ‘payday loans’.

No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS)
The NILS is a community-based program which offers applicants on a low income ability to apply for a no interest loan of up to $1200. Loans are available for essential household goods and services and repayments can be made over periods of 12 and 18 months.

The program is delivered in partnership with National Australia Bank and FAHCSIA in over 400 locations around Australia. To be eligible for NILS an applicant must:

  • be living on a low income and in receipt of a current concession card
  • show willingness and capacity to repay
  • request goods and services which are seen as essential
  • have lived in current residence for at least three to six months

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If you find yourself suddenly faced with a medical expense, urgent car repair or are just running a little short, StepUp loans offer a low interest solution, with amounts from $800 to $3000 available. StepUp loans are for individuals or families holding a current Centrelink Concession Card or receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A. Individuals or families are also required to have lives at their current address for more than three months.

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Centrelink Advance Repayments
As an aged pensioner, you can request one, two or three advance payments during a six month period, as long as the total amount falls within the minimum and maximum amount. From 20 March 2014, these amounts are $397.60 and $1192.80 respectively. (For each member of a couple the amounts are $299.70 and $889.10). This amount is then repaid over the following 13 fortnightly payment cycles. Centrelink will only advance you an amount which it deems will not cause you financial hardship.

If you are n a part Age Pension, you can apply for an amount between the minimum amount which applies to your situation and the maximum, which is calculated based on your rate of pension payment.

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If a loan is not really suitable, then there are a number of charitable foundations which may be able to help pensioners in times of need. Assistance may be provided in the form of money for utilities, sustenance and shelter. You can visit Australian Charities and Non-profits Commission (not sure where to find this list, here is the home page for a list of all major charities that provide support for pensioners.

If none of the above options are suitable for your financial situation, or you find yourself continually struggling to pay bills or are often short of money, try reaching out to a free financial counselor as they may have alternative solutions to your financial needs.

For more information, visit Financial Counselling Australia.

Written by Debbie McTaggart