Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Government delivers Carer Supplement and better support to carers

From 1 July 2010, more than 500,000 carers across Australia will receive a $600 Carer Supplement, as part of the Australian Government’s Secure and Sustainable Pension Reform.

This payment recognises the significant challenges facing hundreds of thousands of carers who make enormous sacrifices to care for a loved one.

The annual $600 Supplement will be paid to people who receive:

  • Carer Payment;
  • both Wife Pension and Carer Allowance;
  • both Department of Veterans’ Affairs Partner Service Pension and Carer Allowance; and
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs Carer Service pension.

The payment will also be provided to recipients of Carer Allowance for each person they care for.

This means that if a person is in receipt of Carer Allowance and Carer Payment (or Wife Pension, Department of Veterans’ Affairs Service Pension or Carer Service pension) they will qualify for two Carer Supplement payments, with an additional payment for each extra person they care for.

The annual Carer Supplement gives carers certainty about the level of assistance they receive each year, and assists with budgeting for any unforeseen costs.

Most Carer Supplement payments will be paid between Thursday 1 July and Wednesday 14 July. The annual cost of the Carer Supplement is around $440 million.

Around 135,000 carers who receive Carer Allowance (child) will also be paid the annual $1000 Child Disability Assistance Payment from 1 July for each child they care for.

Also from 1 July, the assessment process for Carer Payment (child) and Carer Allowance (child) will be streamlined.

There will now be a single assessment process for Carer Payment (child) and Carer Allowance (child), removing the requirements for more forms and medical examinations.

Carers claiming Carer Allowance (child) will also have an additional three months to re-test their eligibility for Carer Allowance (adult) once their child turns 16. This means carers will now have up to six months to be assessed.

The Government is also providing an additional $2 million in 2010-11 for emergency respite care under the Respite Support for Carers of Young People with Severe or Profound Disability Program, bringing total funding to $8.7 million next year.

The funding will provide emergency places that cater for both the needs of individual carers and the people they care for, including overnight stays in respite cottages, in-home care or time enjoying recreational activities.

This program is delivered through the Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres.

People wishing to access the service can call the Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222.

Carers eligible for Carer Supplement by state and territory

State Number
Australian Capital Territory 4,673
New South Wales 178,282
Northern Territory 2,464
Queensland 93,945
South Australia 42,092
Tasmania 14,760
Victoria 136,060
Western Australia 36,156
Other 167
TOTAL 508,599

Figures are as at 4 June 2010 and include eligible carers in receipt of Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs payments and are estimates of the number of carers who will be eligible for the Carer Supplement. Eligible carers may also be paid through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and are not included in these figures.