Top Finance Options for People on Centrelink

When times are tight, getting a loan may seem like the best option for getting the money you need. But, if you’re on collecting benefits, you may feel that your options are limited. Typically, Centrelink recipients are considered low-income households, and that may prevent you from qualifying for loan products through traditional lenders, like banks.

However, there are a variety of responsible lending options designed for low-income families on Centrelink, and they might not even cost you any interest.

No Interest Loans Scheme

The No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) gives low-income households access to an affordable form of credit to purchase essential goods and services, like home appliances and furniture, health items, like wheelchairs, and car repairs. People who qualify can receive $300 to $1,200 to handle eligible expenses and are scheduled to repay the loan over the course of 12 to 18 months.

Loans through the NILS don’t come with any interest charges or burdensome fees, so you won’t have to repay more than you originally borrowed.

To qualify, you must have a Centrelink healthcare or pension card, or at least be eligible for one. You must also demonstrate that you are willing and able to repay the full amount in the designated time.


StepUP is a program that provides low-income households, such as those who qualify for Centrelink, with access to unsecured personal loans ranging from $800 to $3,000. The associated interest rate is typically characterized as low, currently set at 5.99% p.a., and there are no additional fees.

Like the NILS, the funds must be spent on qualifying purchases, such as household goods, medical expenses, dental treatments, vocational education, or second-hand cars. Qualified applicants get up to three years to repay the loan. To be eligible, you must have either a healthcare or pension card, or receive Family Tax Benefit A. You must also have been at your current resident for over three months.

Pension Loan Schemes

Offered by the Australian government, the Pension Loan Scheme is a voluntary reverse mortgage that allows pensioners to access an additional income stream during retirement. The funds are received as a fortnightly payment, the size of which varies depending on a number of factors such as the current amount of equity in your home and your or your partner’s age (based on whoever is younger).

Funds from the scheme can be received over the short-term, allowing an emergency situation to be handled, or as a source of long-term support. There is an associated interest rate, currently set at 5.25% with compound interest, and there may be an initial set up fee.

Repayment terms vary depending on how the loan is set up and whether you attempt to sell the home before the loan is repaid. It is also tied to your estate, so, if it is not paid-in-full before your death, repayment is required when your estate is settled.

The list of options provided by Low Income Loans Australia are designed to show low-income families and those who receive benefits through Centrelink that there are alternatives to costly payday or quick cash loans, allowing you to reach a more stable financial future while handling your immediate needs.

Probably watching Netflix.