Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Secure and Sustainable Pension Reform: New payment for 500,000 carers across Australia

Joint Media Release with:

  • Wayne Swan MP, Treasurer

Around 500,000 carers across Australia will receive a new, permanent, Carer Supplement to help them meet the significant financial challenges they face, as part of the Government’s Secure and Sustainable Pension Reform.

Carers make significant sacrifices caring for the most vulnerable in our community. The Government recognises the selfless contribution made by carers every day of their lives. Many are under significant financial pressure.

Around 140,000 carers who receive Carer Payment or a related income support payment will receive pension increases as part of the Government’s Secure and Sustainable Pensions Reforms.

From 20 September 2009, the Secure and Sustainable Pension Reforms deliver increases to the Carer Payment of:

  • $32.49 per week for singles on the full rate; and
  • $10.14 per week combined for couples on the full rate.

The Government will also provide carers with better financial security by replacing previous ad-hoc bonuses with a legislated annual supplement.

The supplement payment will help carers manage their own financial circumstances, allowing them to better budget and plan their household finances and expenditures.

The new annual Carer Supplement of $600 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 provide around 450,000 recipients of Carer Allowance with $600 for each person they care for.

People who receive Carer Payment and Carer Allowance will receive at least two payments every year, in addition to increases to their pension. More than 95 per cent of Carer Payment recipients also receive Carer Allowance.

A single carer who receives both full rate Carer Payment and Carer Allowance will get two supplement payments totalling $1200, plus an annual pension increase of $1689, bringing additional permanent increases in this Budget to $2,889 a year.

A couple comprising a full rate Carer Payment recipient partnered to a Disability Support Pensioner and who also receives Carer Allowance, will receive pension increases of $527 a year and two Carer Supplement payments, will benefit from permanent increases of $1727 a year.

The first payment of the new Carer Supplement will be made to carers before July 2009. The regular payment will be made from 1 July 2010 onwards.

This new measure will enable an individual in receipt of both Carer Allowance and Carer Payment, or Wife Pension, or DVA Service Pension and Carer Allowance or Carer Service pension, to qualify for two or more Carer Supplement payments.

The existing Child Disability Assistance Payment of $1,000 a year for carers who are paid Carer Allowance (child) will continue.

This reform builds upon the Government’s 2008 extension of Utilities Allowance to Carer Payment recipients, now valued at $518 a year.

It also builds upon the Government’s reforms to Carer Payment (child) which will expand access to payments for parents of children with severe disability from 1 July 2009.

These changes are part of the Government’s Secure and Sustainable Pension Reforms to deliver a stronger and fairer pension system and provide security and sustainability into the future.