Special Assistance Schemes

Assistance for eligible Australian residents and others who were directly or indirectly affected by acts of terrorism or natural disasters.

The assistance is for health related out-of-pocket costs. These are costs not covered by Medicare, other government programs, private travel or health insurance.

The assistance relates to the following incidents:

Bali 2002: Bombings in Bali on 12 October 2002

Tsunami: Indian Ocean tsunami on 26 December 2004

London: Bombings in London on 7 July 2005

Bali 2005: Bombings in Bali on 1 October 2005

Dahab Egypt: Bombing in Dahab, Egypt on 24 April 2006

Services covered

Out-of-pocket costs are costs paid for some or all of the following services related to the injury received in the incident:

  • medical – the difference between the Medicare benefit and the doctor’s fee that is not covered by private health insurance
  • hospital – costs not covered as a public patient or by private health insurance
  • medicines – the full cost of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and other eligible medicines not covered by private health insurance
  • allied health – less any amounts covered by Medicare or private health insurance:
    • physiotherapy, speech therapy, dentistry, audiology, occupational therapy, counselling and/or psychological care/treatment and the cost of any aids and appliances

Assistance with the costs of counselling, psychological services and psychiatric services may also be available for:

  • Australians who were not physically injured but were in the area and directly exposed to the aftermath of the bombings or natural disaster
  • immediate family members and friends of Australian residents who died, were physically injured, or were seriously psychologically injured as a result of the bombings or natural disaster
  • immediate family members of non-Australians who died as a result of the bombings or natural disaster

Assistance is only for the costs of health care received in Australia. The health professional must notate on the account/account receipt that the service is directly related to that incident.

Eligibility for Special Assistance Schemes

The following people may be eligible for special assistance:

Balimed - 12 October 2002

  • Australian survivors
  • Family and friends of Australian survivors and Australians who died
  • Eligible foreign nationals

Tsunami - 26 December 2004

  • Australian residents present in a tsunami affected area when the tsunami struck
  • Expatriate Australian citizens and permanent visa holders who were present in a tsunami affected area when the tsunami struck
  • Immediate family members of Australian victims

London bombings - 7 July 2005

  • Australians injured as a direct result of the bombings
  • Australians not physically injured but were in London and directly exposed to the aftermath of the bombings
  • Immediate family members of Australians who died, were physically injured or were seriously psychologically injured as a result of the bombings
  • Immediate family members of non-Australians who died as a result of the bombings

Bali bombings - 1 October 2005

  • Australian survivors
  • Immediate family members of Australian survivors and Australians who died
  • Eligible foreign nationals

Dahab, Egypt bombing 24 April 2006

  • Australians physically injured by the bomb or physically affected by the bombing
  • Australians not physically injured but directly exposed to the aftermath
  • Family members of an Australian who died or was physically injured or seriously psychologically injured as a result of the bombing
  • A family member of a non-Australian who died

Payment of Special Assistance benefits

You can choose to receive your Special Assistance payment as either an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) or cheque payment.

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)

If you have paid in full for your medical service, your Special Assistance payment can be deposited directly into your bank account. Payment by EFT is faster than payment by cheque through the mail. To receive your payment by EFT you will need to provide your bank account details, including the BSB (branch identification number). Medicare claiming is strictly confidential. Your bank account details will only be used to deposit your Special Assistance payment.

Cheque

If you have not fully paid the account for your medical service, a cheque will be sent to you made payable to the doctor. You should give the cheque to your doctor along with any outstanding balance.

Where you have paid the account in full and you do not wish to receive your Medicare benefit by EFT, a cheque made payable to you will be sent to your address.

Register for Special Assistance benefits

To register to receive special assistance, you need to fill in and lodge a registration form with any required documents.

If you need information on registering, call the Special Assistance Line on 1800 660 026 (Monday to Friday between 7.30 am and 5.00 pm Australian Western Standard Time).

If you are registered for Special Assistance benefits

If you are registered for special assistance, fill in the relevant form when making a claim and lodge it with any required documents.