Double win for carers: $600 Carer Supplement begins today and more carers to receive Carer Payment (child)
From today, around 500,000 carers across Australia will begin receiving a new $600 Carer Supplement, as part of the Australian Government’s Secure and Sustainable Pension Reform.
In a separate win for carers, around 19,000 extra carers of children with profound disability are expected to qualify for Carer Payment (child) of up to $569.80 a fortnight for singles from 1 July 2009, following passage of legislation in the Parliament last night.
The new $600 Carer Supplement is permanent and will provide greater financial security to carers who are under significant financial pressure.
This payment recognises the significant challenges facing the hundreds of thousands of carers who make enormous sacrifices to care for a loved one.
This Supplement will replace ad-hoc bonuses with a legislated annual payment.
The $600 Supplement will be paid to people who receive:
- Carer Payment
- both Wife Pension and Carer Allowance
- both Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Partner Service Pension and Carer Allowance
- DVA Carer Service pension
The new Supplement will also be provided to all recipients of Carer Allowance who will receive $600 for each person they care for.
Recipients of both Carer Payment and Carer Allowance will receive two Carer Supplement payments worth $1200 in total.
The first Carer Supplement payments will be paid between Wednesday 17 June and Friday 26 June. From 2010, the payments will be made every year from 1 July 2010.
A single carer who receives both full rate Carer Payment and Carer Allowance will get two new Supplement payments totalling $1200, plus an annual pension increase of $1689, bringing additional permanent increases arising from the reforms to $2,889 a year.
A couple, comprising a full rate Carer Payment recipient partnered to a Disability Support Pensioner, who also receives Carer Allowance, will receive pension increases of $527 a year and two Carer Supplement payments. This brings the total permanent increase to $1727 a year.
The total cost of the new Carer Supplement is $1.8 billion over the forward estimates.
Passage of Social Security Legislation Amendment (Improved Support for Carers) Bill 2009 last night will also deliver simpler and fairer eligibility requirements for Carer Payment (child).
From 1 July 2009, around 19,000 parents caring for a child under the age of 16 will gain access to fortnightly income support as part of a $273.6 million package to fundamentally overhaul the eligibility and assessment for Carer Payment (child).
Eligibility for the payment will now depend on the level of care required rather than a narrow set of medical and behavioural criteria.
The Government’s fairer assessment system will better reflect the circumstances of the child and their carer and respond better to individual circumstances.
As part of the Government’s Secure and Sustainable Pension Reforms, from 20 September 2009 those who receive Carer Payment will also receive a weekly increase of $32.49 for singles on the full rate and $10.14 combined for couples on the full rate.