From September 2018 the Australian Government is introducing means-testing as an additional elgibility requirement to the Carer Allowance and the Carer Allowance (child) Health Care Card.. In addition to current eligibility requirements this this will be increased to include a family incomes of $250,000.
Who is impacted by the changes to the Carer’s Allowance?
The change is expected to affect 6500 recipients whose family income is above the new threshold, meaning they will no longer be eligible for the Carer Allowance and the children’s Carer Allowance Health Care Card.
These changes were approved by Parliament on 28th June and savings from the test will fund reforms in carer services, with carers able to access new tailored and targeted services from September 20.
What does this mean in practice?
Carer Allowance is either:
- for a child with higher needs – $127.10 every fortnight and a Health Care Card for the child
- for a child with lower needs – a Health Care Card for the child
The Health Care Card enables card holders to acccess cheaper health care services and medicines. Benefits can include:
- bulk billing for doctor’s appointments, as decided by your doctor
- more refunds for medical expenses through the Medicare Safety Net
- discounted mail redirection through Australia Post
Some State and territory governments and local councils also offer additional concessions for costs such as:
- energy and electricity
- healthcare, including ambulance, dental and eye care
- public transport
In practice I am not a fan of removing of support for carers. I do not see a benefit in adding income testing and removing support from people while the NDIS is transitioning in and people are still struggling with unpredictable levels of supports. In pracitce what it will do is make it more difficult for people with disabilities to get access to Medical services and this can’t be a good thing.