Financial hardship

If you are experiencing financial hardship, we may be able to help by:

  • allowing some extra time to pay
  • arranging smaller regular payments such as fortnightly direct debit
  • removing accrued interest on rates where the person was unable to pay for reasons beyond their control
  • supporting you through our Rates Assistance Program

Please note: Daily simple interest applies to extensions of time to pay and repayment arrangements.

Rates Assistance Program FAQs:

  • Council has partnered with Port Stephens Family and Neighbourhood Services, Tomaree Neighbourhood Centre and the Samaritans Foundation to give our ratepayers experiencing financial hardship access to limited rates of financial assistance.
  • Assistance of up to $500 may be available to individuals or families or $250 to those who already receive a Council pensioner rate concession.

  • Only those experiencing financial hardship can access the program.
  • Examples of financial hardship are: Finding it hard to keep up with living expenses, such as rental or mortgage payments, utility bills, and groceries; Missing loan and credit card repayments; Having to cover unexpected expenses.
  • As part of the assessment process, applicants must show proof of financial hardship.

  • Eligible ratepayers contact the service directly who will book you in to meet with one of their counsellors.
  • As part of the assessment process, Council checks the ratepayer’s property ownership and pensioner rate concession status and provides the service with confirmation of the maximum eligible amount.
  • A credit will then be processed to the ratepayer's rate assessment and a record of all assistance is kept.

If you are experiencing financial hardship, we may be able to help in other ways as mentioned at the top of this page.

Contact Council about your situation by completing the Financial Hardship Form or calling 4988 0255 for a confidential discussion.

Aged Pensioners and Rates Deferral

Aged pensioners may be eligible to defer payment of their rates against their estate. Contact Council on 4988 0255 for a confidential discussion about the support available to you.

Revaluation Hardship Rate Relief

If you’ve received a large rate increase on your home due to the recent land revaluation and are experiencing financial hardship you may be eligible for financial assistance of up to $200. If you want to discuss your new land value, call the NSW Valuer General on 1800 110 038.

How do I set up direct debit?

To set up direct debit from a financial institution account (credit cards not available) go to

To contact Council about your situation, you can: