05 Mar 2018
Canberra’s 48,000 family and friend carers will benefit from today’s announcement by Minister for Social Services, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, of a $85.6 million integrated carer support service to make carers’ lives easier.
“We’re very excited by this announcement,” said Lisa Kelly, CEO of Carers ACT. “This model will introduce a range of new tailored services to help carers get the support they need early before they reach crisis point.
Need for Carer Support
“Most of us have little understanding of what a carer’s life is really like and how critical support is to them. While there are certainly rewards to caring, most carers also face challenges in balancing family, work, caring and their own needs. This can lead to financial hardship, social isolation, health and wellbeing issues, frustration, exhaustion and extreme stress.
“Over one third of Canberra’s carers are the main source of support to one or more people with disability, chronic or terminal illness, mental health issues or who are frail aged. These carers provide 40 hours or more of care a week and a third of them are living with disability themselves.
“Getting practical and emotional support early can have a huge impact on carers’ ability to maintain their caring role and personal wellbeing, stay in work or study and plan for the future.
“Being able to deliver that support in an integrated fashion will be invaluable to making carers’ lives easier. We offer carers a wide variety of support to cater to individual needs all from one entry point – whether it’s advising on the NDIS or My Aged Care, organising essential equipment, providing counselling or support groups, sharing knowledge through educational workshops, or holding social and therapeutic activities. The time and frustration that saves them is immeasurable.”
Carer Allowance to be Means Tested
The Government will means test the Carer Allowance, currently $127.10 per fortnight, from September, in order to provide the additional funding needed to move to the new national model of carer support. Carers with an annual household income of $250,000 or more will no longer be eligible.
“This change will only affect about one percent of Carer Allowance recipients, with all the savings going back into carer services,” said Ms Kelly. “The Government appreciates that some people will feel disgruntled at having their benefit taken away, but it recognises that caring can add substantially to the usual costs of maintaining a household and believes that the new improved carer support services will make up for that”.
Additional information in media releases:
Department of Social Services
Carers Australia – March 2018
Questions and Answers on ICSS and Changes to Carer Allowance – March 2018