Concessions and grants

If you’re eligible for a concession, in most cases you’ll need to fill in an application form from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and send it back with copies of your bills from the previous year.

In some lifestyle or retirement villages, the village management will apply for the concession on your behalf. Check with your village management if you're not sure.

Utility Relief Grant Scheme (URGS)

Financial assistance is available to Victorians on very low incomes who’ve experienced unexpected hardship. This grant provides help to pay a non-mains energy or water bill that is overdue due to a temporary financial crisis. This can include bills for:  

  • metered electricity from an embedded network
  • liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)
  • diesel and petrol (for a generator)
  • heating oil
  • firewood
  • carted water.

The grant is available to renters and homeowners. You can apply if you’re an account holder who holds one of the following eligible cards:

  • Pensioner Concession Card
  • Health Care Card
  • Veterans' Affairs Gold Card.

If you don’t have one of these cards but you are on a very low income, you may also be eligible. You must show that you have no way of paying the account without assistance, and

You must meet one of the five following criteria:

  • You have had a substantial increase in utility use.
  • You have had a recent decrease in income, for example, lost your job.
  • You have had high unexpected costs for essential items.
  • The cost of shelter is more than 30 per cent of your household income.
  • The cost of utility use is more than 10 per cent of your household income.

The amount of the grant is based on the amount you owe at the time of the application. It is capped at six months’ worth of utility use up to a maximum of $650 and can only be given once every two years.

To find out more about the grant, Phone the Concessions information line on 1800 658 521.