Commonwealth Financial Counselling

Commonwealth Financial Counselling services are delivered by community and local government organisations to help people in personal financial difficulty to address their financial problems, manage debt and make informed choices about their money in the future.

These services are voluntary, free and confidential, and can be accessed through:

  • face-to-face meetings;
  • the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 (calls from public phones/mobile phones may be timed and charged at a higher rate); or
  • by visiting

Services may include:

  • direct casework (for example, advice and information);
  • advocacy and/or negotiation;
  • referral; and/or
  • community education.

Financial counsellors can assist people with personal financial problems to:

  • negotiate with creditors if you are having difficulty maintaining your loan, mortgage or credit card repayments;
  • advocate with government or non-government organisations;
  • explain options when you are not able to pay bills;
  • explain the debt recovery process if you have received a letter of demand, a summons, a warrant of execution or a judgment summons and are not sure what to do next;
  • develop a budgeting plan to suit your circumstances if you are having difficulties making ends meet, and to help gain financial management skills to enable you to take control of your finances; and
  • provide information on bankruptcy and help explore various options.

Commonwealth Financial Counsellors Do Not provide:

  • financial planning advice;
  • finance lending;
  • endorsement of specific financial products or services; or
  • business or legal advice.

Financial Capability

Financial Capability workers deliver financial literacy education, information and coaching and maintain a strong focus on supporting consumers to change their behaviour and ‘learn by doing’. This includes basic financial literacy education and support either individually or in group settings.

Financial Capability services include:

  • budgeting support to individuals;
  • non-accredited financial literacy community education workshops to clients and local groups;
  • helping clients to build skills to avoid or resolve financial difficulties and strengthen their capacity to manage their own money and to know where to get further help when required; and
  • assisting families at risk of homelessness to manage their finances and household expenses in order to prevent future accommodation crises.

Financial Capability workers Do Not provide financial counselling, financial advice, or deal with complex financial or legal matters. If individuals require such assistance, Financial Capability workers will facilitate access to financial counsellors and other relevant services as appropriate. In many cases, they work hand in hand with financial counsellors.


These services are available to people who are not able to pay a bill or at imminent risk of not being able to pay a bill and for:

  • those in receipt of a Commonwealth social security benefit, allowance or payment;
  • newly arrived migrants/non-citizens (priority to be given to newly arrived refugees); and
  • women experiencing family violence for the purpose of assisting these women to become financially independent.

Support Available Now

The free National Debt Helpline* is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday, call 1800 007 007 or visit

*Calls from public phones/mobile phones may be timed and charged at a higher rate.

Commonwealth Financial Counselling and Financial Capability Services can be found in the DSS Service Directory.

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