2008-09 Budget: Carers - Improved support 

Key elements

This measure significantly improves the level of assistance for carers of children with disability or severe medical conditions.

The most significant change is to the eligibility criteria and assessment processes for Carer Payment (child), at a cost of $273.6 million. In 2009-10 around 19,000 carers of children under 16 years of age with disability or severe medical conditions are expected to benefit from the new arrangements. The changes will be implemented from 1 July 2009 and involve:

  • New, fairer eligibility criteria for Carer Payment (child) based on the level of care required.
  • More generous arrangements for carers of children in hospital and those with a terminal illness so they can keep their Carer Payment and/or Allowance while their child is in hospital.
  • Development of a single assessment process for Carer Payment and Carer Allowance.
  • Consideration of more complex claims by expert Carer Assessment Teams.
  • Access to payment for care provided on a short-term or episodic basis, with a minimum period of 12 weeks.
  • Automatic eligibility for Carer Allowance (child) for Carer Payment (child) recipients.
  • Easier transitions between Carer Payment (child) and Carer Payment (adult).

Also included is $20 million over four years for carers who have experienced a catastrophic event involving a young child.
 

Background

Carer Payment is an income support payment for carers who, because of the demands of their caring role, are unable to support themselves through substantial participation in the workforce. There are two streams to Carer Payment: Carer Payment (adult) and Carer Payment (child).

This measure relates to Carer Payment (child) and responds to the recommendations of the Carer Payment (child) Review Taskforce Report, titled Carer Payment (child): A New Approach, which was released on 7 February 2008. The main findings of the Taskforce were that the eligibility criteria for the payment were too restrictive, and the assessment process was overly rigid and produced inequitable outcomes.
 

Implementation

The new eligibility and assessment processes for Carer Payment (child) will be implemented from 1 July 2009.
 

Total Government Funding

$293.6 million over five years.

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