Carers Australia recognises the additional financial strain the ongoing pandemic has had on many carers. COVID-19 has impacted cares’ income, financial support and the costs associated with looking after the person they care for. The information below aims to provide some clarification about the financial supports currently available to carers.
Carers on both Carer Payment and JobKeeper Payment
For a single person on Carer Payment, the income limit is $2,062.60 per fortnight, and for a couple combined it is $3,155.20 per fortnight. If a person exceeds the income limit for a period of 12 weeks, their payment can be cancelled.
The single income limit ($2,062.60) is currently higher than the JobKeeper Payment ($1,200) and will be higher again when it drops to $1000 on 4 January. So, if this was the only income a person on the Carer Payment was receiving, they would not lose their payment due to the additional JobKeeper funding. Only carers who have other income in addition to the JobKeeper Payment, which puts them over the income limit, will have their Carer Payment cancelled if this situation continues for 12 weeks.
Carer Payment recipients who are concerned about the impact JobKeeper will have on them should contact Services Australia to discuss their individual circumstances on 13 27 17. Alternatively a factsheet on the topic can be found here.
Recent changes to the Government’s Coronavirus financial assistance policies do not seem to have changed the capacity of affected individuals to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. Individuals will not need to pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments. To apply for early release, the Australian Tax Office website states you must meet one or more of the following:
- you’re unemployed
- you’re eligible for JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance for job seekers, Parenting Payment single or partnered, Special Benefit or Farm Household Allowance
- you became redundant on or after 1 January 2020
- your working hours reduced by 20% or more on or after 1 January 2020
- you’re a sole trader and you had to suspend your business, or your turnover has reduced by 20% or more.
Note: Early release is not available to people on the Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension and the Aged Pension.
Carers Australia recommends that you speak to your Superannuation Fund or a financial advisor if you need further information regarding the impact of these drawdowns on your superannuation.
The Australian Energy Regulator has created a full information page about support for households which can be found here.