Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Carers of children with disability to benefit from Government reforms

The Australian Government’s legislation to implement a simpler and fairer assessment process for thousands of carers of children with severe disability or medical conditions today passed the Parliament.

From 1 July 2010, there will be a single assessment process for Carer Payment (child) and Carer Allowance (child).

The Disability Care Load Assessment (child) was introduced on 1 July 2009 for Carer Payment (child). It assesses the level of care provided rather than a narrow set of medical conditions, and will now also be used for Carer Allowance (child).

This means that parents who qualify for Carer Payment (child) will automatically qualify for Carer Allowance (child), removing the requirements for more forms and medical examinations.

The List of Recognised Disabilities will remain as an alternative eligibility pathway providing for automatic qualification for Carer Allowance (child) to carers of children with disabilities or conditions on the List.

As well, this legislation will introduce new rules from 1 July 2010 to provide carers with more time to transition from Carer Allowance (child) to Carer Allowance (adult) once the child turns 16.

Carers will now have up to six months to be assessed for the adult payment – a three month extension on the previous rules to complete the Adult Disability Assessment Tool.

The changes will also allow speech pathologists to complete medical assessments for Carer Payment (child).

The Government has committed $273.6 million over five years to reform Carer Payment (child) and Carer Allowance (child) in response to the recommendations of the Carer Payment (child) Review taskforce.

In 2007, this review into the effectiveness of Carer Payment (child) found that overly restrictive and complex eligibility requirements meant thousands of parents, providing intensive care for their children, were ineligible for the payment.

The Australian Government is committed to supporting and helping carers of children with disability.