Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Changes to the Lists of Recognised Disabilities

Parents or carers of children with a disability or medical condition may find it easier to receive the Carer Allowance under changes to the Lists of Recognised Disabilities.

Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, announcing the changes, said the revised Lists include a number of new childhood disabilities and medical conditions that automatically qualify for payment of the Carer Allowance.

“A review of the Lists was held to determine whether they were providing a consistent and objective means of assessing eligibility for the Carer Allowance. The Government has adopted most of the recommendations by the independent review panel, which was made up of peak disability and carer organisations and specialists in childhood disability.”

The adopted recommendations included:

  • adding some conditions to the Lists such as Asperger’s Disorder and Lamellar ichthyosis;
  • modifying the descriptions of some existing conditions;
  • developing new categories to simplify the Lists and allowing for the future inclusion of other conditions;
  • increasing the flexibility and longevity of the Lists without compromising their integrity; and
  • streamlining the assessment process for medical practitioners.

“I will also be seeking further additional expert medical advice regarding Diabetes Mellitus Type 1. I have asked my Department and the Reference Group to explore the prospect of this condition being added to the Lists of Recognised Disabilities in the future,” Senator Patterson said.

“If a child has a disability or medical condition on the Lists their parent or carer can be fast tracked on to Carer Allowance with no need for further medical assessment until the child’s 16th birthday.

“This benefits the customer and the Medical Practitioner as the revised Lists will reduce, in a number of cases, the volume, complexities and length of the Treating Doctors Report.

“These changes follow the recent Budget’s $461 million increase in assistance for carers over four years in recognition of their important contribution to the community which included a one-off carer bonus and respite measures for both older and young carers. The Howard Government also supported carers by bringing forward the implementation date to extend eligibility of Carer Allowance from 1 April 2005 to 1 September 2004.

“As part of its election commitments the Howard Government will also increase the number of hours that a carer may work or study without losing qualification for Carer Payment, from 20 to 25 hours per week from 1 April 2005.

“The Australian Government’s ongoing programs and budget initiatives will continue to provide support for people with disabilities, their families and others who care for them,” said Senator Patterson.