Practical Financial Assistance
Due to your child being unwell and requiring ongoing treatment, aspects of your family life will be so severely disrupted you may require some practical or financial assistance. Some of the resources that may be available to your family are listed below:
- Your child may be entitled to the Child Disability Allowance, which is a fortnightly allowance given by the Department of Social Security. The approval of this allowance is based not so much on what your child is diagnosed with, but on the extra care and attention you provide for your child due to their diagnosis and treatment. The allowance is payable each fortnight and will alter with each financial year.
Once the Child Disability Allowance has been approved, the child will also receive a Health Care Card which you can present to your chemist and this will make the cost of prescriptions for your child a great deal cheaper. The Social Worker is able to provide you with the application form and assist you with its completion and where to send it. Approval of the allowance may take 6-8 weeks.
- Parents who need to take extended leave from their jobs without pay due to their child’s illness and treatment, may be eligible for other Social Security Benefits. If you find yourself in this situation the Social Worker will be able to provide you with the appropriate information.
- Families who live more than 200kms from Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick (SCH) and whose child requires treatment at the Hospital, are eligible for an allowance through the Department of Health. This allowance is called the Isolated Patients Travel & Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS) and is a reimbursable scheme for one parent’s (escort’s) travel and accommodation expenses while their child is receiving treatment. Each state in Australia has a specific application form with the name of the scheme varying slightly. One form must be completed for every return trip the child and parent (escort) make to the hospital for treatment. It is important for families to be aware reimbursement of expenses will take approximately 6-8 weeks. The Social Worker will be able to give you the appropriate form and assist you with its completion.
- There are a number of charitable organisations that may be able to provide financial assistance for families who find themselves in financial crisis due to their child’s diagnosis and treatment. Application for financial assistance for a family will need to be made by the Social Worker working with your family. (For further information consult your Social Worker or refer to the pamphlets enclosed in your folder).
- Families may experience difficulties with their present housing situation due to their child’s diagnosis and treatment. For example, families may find they live too far from the Hospital or they can no longer afford the normal rental prices. If you find your family is experiencing these difficulties, there may be other housing options available for you through the Department of Housing.
When your child is required at the Hospital for treatment, you, and perhaps other family members, will need accommodation close to your child. There are a number of accommodation options available which the Social Worker will be able to assist you with.
- During your child’s treatment, you may require letters of support or explanation to clarify your family’s situation for various reasons, which the Social Worker may be able to help you with. These support letters may need to be written for you or your partner’s employer; for your child’s school, other children’s schools, and letters supporting your application for Department of Housing accommodation or Social Security Benefit Applications. If you or other family members require support letters or telephone liaison with organisations advocating your particular circumstances, do not hesitate to contact your Social Worker.
- Families with a child with cancer may require additional help around the house, or help with baby-sitting, house cleaning, or shopping. Agencies such as Home Care may be able to assist families with these specific needs and referral can be made by the Social Worker. Each Home Care office varies with regard to what specific services are available. Eligibility for Home Care Services is based on strict criteria and fees are means tested.
- Childcare may become an issue for other children in the family when a child is diagnosed with cancer. The Social Worker will be able to help you with information about childcare options either in your area or near the Hospital.
The Social Worker can also provide you with information about support organisations for your child and family. These support organisations include: Camp Quality, CanTeen, Starlight Foundation, Make-A-Wish Foundation and Yurana Holiday Homes. A referral to any of these organisations can be made by either the Social Worker or community nurse.