Centrelink is a government agency delivering a range of Commonwealth services to the Australian community.  Centrelink is set up so people can get more of the help they need in one place.  To make an appointment to see someone at your nearest Customer Service Centre call 13 1021.

For assistance relating to other services:
Employment Services: 13 2850
Youth Allowance: 13 2490
Austudy Payment: 13 2490
ABSTUDY: 13 2317
Pensioner Education Supplement (PES): 13 2490
Assistance for Isolated Children (AIC) Scheme: 13 2318
Retirement: 13 2300
Disability, Sickness and Carers: 13 2717
Family Assistance Office: 13 6150
For information in languages other than English: 13 1202
Customer Relations (complaints, compliments or feedback): 1800 050 004
TTY Payment Enquiries (only for people who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment.): 1800 000 567

Mental Health Carer Support Fund
This fund is administered by the Tandem.  The fund assists families and other carers by providing support and assistance when required. The aim of the program is to meet the needs of the carer by providing funding for a distinct purpose and, in doing so, promote and sustain a caring relationship and the wellbeing of the carer.

Some examples of how funds may be used include:

•    Travel – Transport costs associated with visiting the person with a mental illness in hospital or accompanying them to medical appointments
•    Support Services – practical assistance for the carer through services such as home help or child care
•    Educational, employment and recreational expenses – opportunities for the carer to pursue other activities through educational, employment or recreational activities
•    Carer education programs and conferences to enhance an understanding of mental illness and the mental health system enhance carer coping capacity and knowledge of self-care
•    Counselling – for carers and family members to deal with the emotional and relationship impacts of caring
•    Respite – opportunities for the carer to have a break from the caring role
•    Expenses – reimbursement of costs incurred to the carer by the person for whom they care when they are unwell
•    Activities for a group of carers – the fund may be used to support an activity for a group of carers such as attendance at a sporting event
•    Sitting fees for carers who participate in activities on behalf of the area mental health service such as membership of Carer and Family Advisory Groups.

Who is eligible?
The carer of a person who is receiving services from a public mental health service or program in Victoria.

In the case of families, assistance through the fund may be provided to other family members if the carer gains the most benefit.

The carer must be a significant person in the life of the consumer (eg partner, spouse, family member or friend). Carers who are themselves consumers of mental health services are eligible. Paid carers are not eligible.

Expenses must arise as a result of unusual circumstances, which present a challenge to the carer’s capacity to continue in their caring role.

Goods and services funded must be of a reasonable standard and cost and must benefit the carer directly. It is anticipated that most applications would be for between $100 and $800. Funds will not be provided for services to the carer that would usually be the responsibility of the public mental health service.

How to apply
1. Discuss your circumstances with the case manager of the person for whom you are caring.
2. Complete the application with the case manager. You will need to provide receipts or other documentation to support your application.
3. The carer and the case manager must both sign the application when it is complete.
4. The case manager will forward the application for consideration and will keep you
informed as to its outcome.

For more information, please contact:
The case manager of the person for whom you are caring, or telephone Tandem Inc on 03 8803 5555, website

Psychiatric Illness and Intellectual Disabilities Donations Trust Fund (PIIDDTF), Department of Human Services –
The fund is managed by the Department of Health &Human Services and applications are made through the client’s clinical case manager at the Community Mental Health Service. The application must be directly related to the applicant’s needs that are associated with their mental illness. Funding may be available for personal items such as clothing, bedding, white goods, heaters, kitchen equipment, furniture as well as entertainment and recreation expenses.

Uniting Connections No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) 03 9521 5666 This scheme provides individuals and families on low incomes with access to interest free loans for essential household and family purchases.  Connections clients or residents of the City of Stonnington are eligible to apply.  Borrowers must demonstrate a capacity and willingness to repay the loan.

Utility Relief Grant Scheme (URGS) This scheme may be able to assist in certain circumstances where you have no other way of paying your bill, and are at risk of disconnection.
Non-mains Utility Relief Grant Scheme (NURGS)  If you use bottled gas, or pay to have water carted to your domestic property, this grant may be able to assist in certain circumstances where you have no other way of paying your gas or water bill and are at risk of non-supply of further gas bottles or water supply.  Application forms can be obtained from your gas, electricity and water companies or your LP Gas or carted water supplier.  Send the completed form to:
Utility Relief Grant Scheme
Department of Health & Human Services
PO Box 4057
For further information contact 1800 658 521,