Are You Caring for Someone? Here’s Help

It’s easy for carers to neglect their own needs. After all, there’s usually no time to think about yourself; your life mostly revolves around caring for someone else.

But your needs are there and they do matter. It’s OK to recognise your own needs, including the necessity of financial support and respite.

The Nature of Caring

Anyone can find they’ve become a carer. You may be looking after your parents, your partner or your children. You may be in full- or part-time employment or you may have had to stop work in order to care. You could be of any age – there are over 270,000 carers under the age of 25 in Australia.

The reason you’re caring for someone varies too. Perhaps your loved one has a disability, a mental health condition, a long-term illness or maybe they’ve become frail with age. Your caring role may involve helping your loved one bathe, eat, go to the toilet, take their medicine, and find enjoyment in life.

Despite all this variation, there’s something all carers have in common; you need support. Each day, you battle exhaustion, distress, and financial concerns. Where can you get help?

Payments for Carers

Informal carers provide $60.3 billion of unpaid care each year, according to a Deloitte Access Economics Report.

Though the money doesn’t come close to covering the full cost of the care you provide, there are some payments for carers that can help to ease life a bit.

Depending on how much care you provide, you might be eligible for certain types of financial support.

Carer Payment

The Carer Payment is an income support payment for carers who provide constant care to someone with a severe disability or illness, or who is frail and aged.

To be eligible for this payment, both you and the person you care for need to meet certain conditions. If you’re eligible, you can apply for the payment online. You’ll need to supply certain documents to support your claim, such as medical reports, financial information, and proof of Australian residency.

Carer Allowance

This Carer Allowance is a fortnightly supplement if you give additional daily care to someone who has a disability, serious illness, or is frail aged.

Again, there are certain eligibility conditions that you and the person you’re caring for must meet. You can apply online here and will need to supply documents about your finances, Australian residency and the medical needs of the person you care for.

Carer Supplement

If you’re getting a Carer Payment or a Carer Allowance, you may also be eligible for the Carer Supplement. This is paid yearly if you care for someone with a disability or serious illness and are receiving certain payments. The government calculates it and sends it to you automatically each year; you don’t need to apply.

You get a fixed payment of $600 per year for:

  • An eligible income support payment you receive (e.g. the Carer Payment or Carer Allowance)
  • Each person you get the Carer Allowance for.

That means you may qualify for more than one payment of $600.

Carer Support and the NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) recognises the importance of carers and provides a range of carer supports through a participant’s NDIS Plan. That could include:

  • Counselling
  • Building your skills and capacity
  • Supports that help your loved one gain more independence and so benefit you indirectly
  • Personal care and domestic assistance to the NDIS participant to ease your workload
  • Providing a support worker on family outings to assist a person with disability, especially if you are caring for other children.

How Focused Health Care Helps Carers

Caring is a long-term role. You need to sustain yourself with regular periods of relief and refreshment.

Focused Health Care provides respite services to help carers. We know how much you give out each day and how desperately you need a break sometimes. We encourage you to plan respite so that you know there’s a breather coming.

We’ll come to your home and ensure your loved one has a good day with a mix of interesting activities, personal care and nutritious meals. And we’ll stay overnight, responding to any needs in the small hours and dealing with breakfast next morning.

You’re welcome to stay if you’d like – but you might prefer a night at a friend’s house or a hotel with crisp, clean sheets and room service!

If you’re ready for a break or would like to plan some regular respite, please call us today.

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