Improved Assessment Process for Carer Payment and Carer Allowance

The Government is undertaking a project to review the assessment process for Carer Payment and Carer Allowance.

The objective of the project is to develop and introduce a contemporary assessment process to determine qualification for these social security payments.

The project commenced with a review of the present assessment process in July 2015. The improved assessment process will be implemented from 1 January 2018.

What has happened so far?

Initial consultations were undertaken with peak carer, welfare and health professional organisations to review the existing assessment process in Phase 1 of the project.

Consultations continued during Phase 2 of the project which involved developing and testing the new assessment process and forms.

  • Between June and August 2016 consultations were undertaken with carers, health professionals, and peak bodies about the questions that might be asked in the new form. Overall, the new process was well received and stakeholder feedback has contributed to the design of the field test forms.
  • Field testing of the new assessment process took place from September 2016 to January 2017. During the field test some carers claiming Carer Payment and/or Carer Allowance completed both their official forms and the field test forms. This allowed the questions about care to be tested with carers and care receivers from different backgrounds, ages, and care situations.
  • Thank you to all the people who took the opportunity to have their say in this process.
  • Feedback on the test questions was a critical part of the field test. For this reason, some participants completed voluntary discussions with our consultant to seek detailed feedback on the field test.

Phase 3 of the project has begun and involves preparing for implementation of the new assessment process. This includes developing legislation and social security guidelines, making changes to Centrelink systems, and publishing communications for new claimants. Phase 4 of the project will be the implementation of the new assessment process from January 2018.

Stakeholder organisations will continue to be consulted and engaged during the development and testing phases for the new assessment process.

Why is the assessment process for Carer Payment and Carer Allowance being reviewed?

The tools used to assess qualification for Carer Payment and Carer Allowance have not been reviewed for some years. Stakeholders, including carers and health professionals, have raised concerns about the accuracy, relevancy and currency of the present assessment process.

The current assessment process may not be targeting payments appropriately, as it does not effectively measure both the care required by the care receiver and the care provided.

In addition, a range of differences between qualification criteria for Carer Payment and Carer Allowance, and between the adult and child care receiver streams of the payments, require examination to determine if they remain appropriate.

What aspects of the assessment process will be reviewed?

The review will cover the care-related qualification criteria for Carer Payment and Carer Allowance, including the:

  • amount and nature of care required by the care receiver (e.g. personal care, assistance, supervision)
  • amount and nature of care provided by the carer
  • methods of capturing care required and provided, to allow accurate and equitable assessment for payment qualification
  • provisions that allow carers to take a break from providing care and remain qualified for payment

The review will not include non-care related qualification criteria, such as residency requirements, means tests, and care receivers’ entitlements.

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