Carers: what support is available?

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A carer is a person who, through family relationship or friendship, looks after a frail older person or someone with a disability or chronic illness. Caring can be demanding so that carers themselves can need support. The Australian Government has a range of programs and initiatives which support carers

Carer Payment and Carer Allowance
A Carer Payment is similar to a pension. It is paid by Centrelink to people caring for someone who is in need of constant personal care or supervision at home for six months or more, including frail older people. Carer Payments are for people who cannot support themselves while caring for someone with a disability. It is income tested and it is not paid in addition to an existing pension.

A Carer Allowance is a fortnightly payment through Centrelink to a carer looking after someone assessed as requiring a fairly high level of care. Carer Allowance (Adult) is for people who care for an adult with a disability at home; it replaces the former Domiciliary Nursing Care Benefit. Carer Allowance (Adult) may be paid on top of Carer Payment or other payments, such as Age Pension. It is not income tested and is not treated as taxable income.

Visit humanservices.gov.au for detail or phone Centrelink 13 27 17

There are respite services for carers. Also those under care may be accepted for temporary respite care. The period may be as short as a half a day in a community day care centre or for a week or two in residential care at low or high level, depending on needs. It can also be for a part day or overnight in your home. You must be assessed as eligible for residential respite care by an ACAT before a government subsidy can be paid to the provider. Fees may be payable for these services, for example the basic daily care fee or a booking fee. Call 1800 052 222 during business hours or 1800 059 059 to be connected to your nearest Carer Respite Centre.

Entitled veterans and war widow(er)s may have the daily fee for respite care paid by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs for up to 28 days in a financial year. DVA Facts Respite Care has further information on respite care applicable to veterans and war widow(er)s.

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Written by Debbie McTaggart

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