What support is available for informal carers?

Are you currently an informal carer for an elderly parent, relative, or friend at home? With the number of Australians aged over 85 and the number of centenarians set to triple and increase six-fold over the next 40 years, many Australians are becoming informal care providers. The demands of this role often extend beyond the established relationship. Therefore, it’s important that you are aware of support options available through income support payments and various support services to prevent exhaustion and avoid ‘carer burnout.’.

In a recent publication, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, estimated that 2.65 million Australians are classified as informal carers. Of which, 1 in 3 had the responsibility of being the primary carer assisting with self-care, mobility, and communication needs of the person being cared for. Typically, the role of the informal caregiver exists within an already established relationship, such as that of a family member, friend, or neighbour; however, the demands of the role often extend well beyond these relationships.

Whilst many informal carers receive no income support, some are eligible for a government payment. As at 30 June 2023, approximately:

  • 305,330 people were receiving the Carer Payment – a means-tested income support payment for caregivers who, due to the demands of their caring role, are unable to support themselves through substantial paid employment. As of September 20, 2023, the amount payable is up to $1,096.70 per fortnight for singles or $826 per fortnight for each member of a couple.
  • 634,180 people were receiving the Carer Allowance – a supplementary payment for caregivers who provide daily care and attention. This allowance can be paid in addition to an income support payment. As of September 20, 2023, an amount of $144.80 per fortnight is provided for each eligible person receiving care, for those with a combined adjusted taxable income below $250,000 per year.

A carer supplement, which is an annual payment of $600, as at 20 September 2023, is also available for those receiving a carer payment or allowance.

For more information on any of the government payments and how they apply to your scenario, please get in touch with one of our financial advisers.

What help is available to informal carers?

Having a specialist lifestyle and care division, we regularly have the opportunity to meet with informal carers along with their family, friends and neighbours to assist them with understanding the numerous complexities associated with navigating the aged care system and the various options available for the person they care for.

Equally, we understand the importance of ensuring the physical and emotional well-being of you, the informal carer. For many, a good place to start is the Carer Gateway, which is a national service funded by the Australian Government. The service is available to carers, regardless of their financial position (as it is not means tested), who look after a family member or friend who is frail due to age or a person living with disability, medical condition, or mental illness. The services provided include emergency respite, financial support, community peer groups, interactive courses, coaching and counselling services. For more information, please click here.

We also understand the importance of helping carers prepare and navigate the ageing journey of the person they care for. Our specialist lifestyle and care team of advisers can help carers navigate the various financial decisions and options available for the person they care for, with a particular focus on helping carers feel confident in the financial outcomes, both immediate and long-term. To further assist, we provide a strategic implementation service that aims to reduce the time, stress and effort the carer spends dealing with government agencies, to confirm and verify the outcomes from various assessments, both at the time of change and over the person’s lifetime.

Taking a further step

Recently, we have expanded the support we can provide to carers by partnering with Care and Living with Mercer, in order to help carers access the care support they need to achieve better health outcomes for the people they care about. This includes guidance and advice to enable individuals to remain at home and live independently, stay at home with additional care support, transition to a residential aged care facility, or explore available palliative care options.

This service looks to further reduce the stress and time involved, ensuring that you, the Carer, have the right information to guide and make care choices that align with the unique situation of the person you care for. For more information and to find out how you can access this support, please get in touch with one of our financial advisers.

We are here to help

Whether you’re just starting to explore your options or working your way through the aged care system, we are here to help.

If you have any questions or need guidance on your aged care financing journey, please do not hesitate to learn more about our accredited financial advisers for aged care here. Your confidence and peace of mind is our top priority.

 

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