The Families Commission say budgeting services are struggling to cope with increasing numbers of financially desperate people.
A new commission study shows budgeting services are effective at providing people with advice, but do not have the resources to keep up with the fallout from the recession.
Commissioner Gregory Fortuin says clients have changed from being predominantly beneficiaries to middle-income earners who have been made redundant.
Mr Fortuin says the solution is not just about investing more money, but getting volunteers who can deal with more complex clients and issues.
He says early assistance is also required to stop the slide of struggling families getting into problem debt.