Carers Australia understands the problems many carers are experiencing during this pandemic, including with their income, financial support and looking after the person they care for. We acknowledge that Commonwealth and state and territory governments have developed new supports for many Australians in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Income Support Payments
The Government is providing two lump sum payments of $750 to a number of social security payment recipients.
- The first payment which will go through on 31 March is available to recipients of any income support payment, including pensions and allowances, or who have a Pensioner Concession Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card or Veteran Gold Card. It will include payments to people on the Carer Payment and Carer Allowance as well as the Disability Support Pension and the Aged Pension
- The second payment is due on 13 July. This payment will also be available to carers on the Carer Payment and Carer Allowance except for those people on the Carer Allowance who are on a range of other payments which will now attract a fortnightly supplement of $550 known as the Coronavirus Supplement. This will include carers who are on the Jobseeker Payment (Newstart), the Parenting Payment, Youth Allowance for jobseekers, Youth Allowance for student, Austudy, ABSTUDY, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit. All these payments will attract the Coronavirus Supplement for a period of six months.
We are aware that many carers on the Carer Payment are considering applying for one of the other payments they are likely to be eligible for which attract supplement. We would urge caution in doing this. Many of these payments do not attract the same allowances attached to the Carer Payment. Going back onto the Carer Payment after the supplement expires may prove complex and time consuming. You should also be aware that people on a Disability Support Pension (DSP) who switch to another payment may be particularly at risk of not meeting the eligibility requirements at a later date. The eligibility requirements for the Disability Support Pension have changed in recent years and those who have been on the DSP for some time may find that they are no longer eligible.
- Carers on the Carer Payment and/or Carer Allowance will continue to receive their annual Carer Supplement in July.
- You should also be aware that a one-off Crisis Payment, which is equal to one week’s JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance for jobseekers, is available for current recipients who are isolated at home due to COVID-19 and are in severe hardship.
Jobseeker Mutual Obligation Requirements
Mutual Obligation Requirements are all the job seeking activities someone is required to perform in order to keep receiving the Jobseeker Payment (Newstart), Youth Allowance (other), Parenting Payment Single (when their youngest child turns six) and Special Benefit (Nominated Visa Holders). They can be quite onerous.
The mutual obligation participation requirement suspension has been extended until 27 April.
For those people who have mutual obligation jobseeking requirements and who are on the Disability Support Pension, these have also been suspended.
For more information on what you can do to get a personal exemption from meeting the mutual obligation requirements beyond the general exemption, if you or the person you are caring for are impacted by the various social isolation requirements, click here.
Partner Income Limit
From 27 April, DSS is increasing the amount your partner can earn before it affects your eligibility and payment amount for the Jobseeker Payment. The partner income limit at which your payment will cancel temporarily increases to $3,086.80 gross per fortnight. If you earn any income, it will also count in this income test. For more information, click here.
Why aren’t carers eligible for the Coronavirus Supplement?
Carers Australia has been receiving many representations from carers on the Carer Payment who are concerned that the fortnightly Coronavirus Supplement has not been extended to carers receiving the Carer Payment or to recipients of Disability Support Pension and Age Pension.