Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Key reform for carers of children with disability starts tomorrow

An extra 19,000 carers of children with severe disability are expected to qualify over the next 12 months for Carer Payment (child) as legislated reforms come into effect from 1 July.

Other changes to a range of family assistance, pension rates and thresholds will also apply from tomorrow.

The qualification for carer payment (child) has been changed from the previous narrow medical model and now recognises and assesses the impact of caring for children with disability or medical condition.

The changes will also:

  • Broaden the circumstances in which carers may qualify for the Carer Payment;
  • Increase the range of health professionals who can complete medical forms;
  • Give carers access to the Carer Payment for short-term care periods of at least three months but less than six months;
  • Provide more sensitive and generous arrangements for carers of children with a terminal condition or those with a child in hospital; and
  • Enable automatic qualification for Carer Allowance based on qualification for Carer Payment.

The Australian Government is committed to supporting carers of children with disability or medical condition, and is actively developing and implementing child-centred family policies.

Also from today, some pension thresholds, income free areas and cut offs rise in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Pension assets limits and other limits are adjusted on 1 July in line with the CPI.

More than one million pensioners, including those receiving Age Pension, Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension and Parenting Payment Single, will benefit from being able to earn more income and hold assets of a higher value before pension rates are reduced.

For example, the pension income free area increases for singles from $138 to $142 per fortnight, and the disqualifying asset limits have increased from $555,720 to $562,000 for single home-owners and from $882,500 to $891,500 for partnered home-owners combined.

Recipients of other allowances such as Newstart Allowance, Parenting Payment, Youth Allowance (other), Widow Allowance, and Special Benefit will also benefit from changes to the assets test.

Family Tax Benefit payment rates, supplements, some thresholds and associated limits, are adjusted in line with the cost of living increase.

In line with Budget savings measures, the higher income thresholds for family assistance will remain unchanged for the next three years.

Approximately 2.2 million families receiving Family Tax Benefit will benefit from the increases to payment rates.

Maximum rates of Family Tax Benefit Part A will increase by $5.60 per fortnight for each child aged 12 and under, rising from $151.34 to $156.94, and for each child aged 13 – 15, the fortnightly rate will increase by $7.28 per fortnight from $196.84 to $204.12.

The higher income free area for FTB Part A remains unchanged at $94,316, plus $3,796 for each additional child.

Families with income above this amount have their base level of Family Tax Benefit Part A reduced until it reaches zero. Each family’s limit depends on the age and number of children.

For example a family with two children under 13 years of age will be entitled to some FTB Part A until their income exceeds $111,569.

The rate of Family Tax Benefit Part B also increases. A family with a youngest child under 5 will have their rate of FTB Part B increase by $4.76 per fortnight to $133.56. The FTB Part B primary earner income limit will remain unchanged at $150,000 per year.

The Baby Bonus will also increase by $185 from $5000 to $5,185.

The Baby Bonus family income limit will also remain unchanged at $75,000 in the six months following birth or adoption.