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Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Financial support for carers of young children in exceptional circumstances

The Howard Government has established an interim ex-gratia scheme to provide financial assistance to families under exceptional circumstances who have a child, aged up to six years, with a disability or illness.

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, said the Carer Adjustment Payment (CAP) would enable families to apply for assistance following a catastrophic event or diagnosis.

“Families will be able to apply for the CAP on a case by case basis, if their child, aged 0-6 years, is diagnosed with a major disability due to accidental injury, or severe illness,” Mr Brough said.

The Carer Adjustment Payment may be made available where:

  • the child has significant care requirements – e.g. requires full time care from the carer for a minimum of 2-3 months following the incident;
  • the child’s carer qualifies for Carer Allowance in respect of the child;
  • the carer is not eligible for Carer Payment;
  • the family is not already receiving an income support payment; and
  • the carer is able to demonstrate a very strong need for financial support during the adjustment period immediately after the catastrophic event.

“Recently, the Government announced it would review the eligibility criteria for Carer Payment (child) and its effectiveness in providing a safety net for carers of children with a severe disability or medical condition.

“CAP is an interim payment available while the review is being conducted and considered, and will provide further support to parents in difficult circumstances.

“This initiative solidifies the Howard Government’s commitment to supporting families in exceptional circumstances and its efforts to provide financial assistance to help families in their caring role. People who want more information or think they are eligible should contact Centrelink,” Mr Brough said.

Carer ex-gratia payment

Why is this important?

  • The Government is establishing an interim ex gratia scheme to provide assistance families, on a case by case basis, to adjust to a catastrophic event or diagnosis resulting in a disability relating to a child aged 0 to 6 years.

Who will benefit?

  • Families will be able to apply for assistance through the Carer Adjustment Payment where:
    • the child, aged 0-6 years, is diagnosed with a major disability due to accidental injury, or a severe illness;
    • the child has significant care requirements – i.e. requires full-time care for a minimum of 2-3 months following the incident;
    • the child’s carer qualifies for Carer Allowance (CA) in respect of the child;
    • the carer is not eligible for Carer Payment (CP);
    • the family is not already receiving an income support payment; and
    • the carer is able to demonstrate a very strong need for financial support during the adjustment period immediately after the event.
    • People seeking more information or wishing to apply should go to Centrelink.

What funding is the Government committing to the initiative?

  • $6.5 million

What have we done in the past?

  • There are two existing forms of financial assistance that may be available to carers.
  • CA is an income supplement of $98.50 per fortnight, that recognises the impact of the caring role on carers. CP is an income support payment for people who, because of their caring responsibilities, are unable to support themselves through significant workforce participation.
  • In 2005-06, CA was provided to about 367,000 customers, at an estimated cost of $1.3 billion, including one-off bonus payments. In the same year, CP was provided to approximately 105,000 customers at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion (including bonuses).

When will the initiative conclude?

  • Terminating on 30 June 2008.