People dependent on the Carer Payment also need the Coronavirus Supplement

Carers Australia has been receiving many representations from carers on the Carer Payment who are concerned and upset that their needs have not been sufficiently considered in income support measures which have been introduced to compensate for the impact of the coronavirus.

The fortnightly Coronavirus Supplement of $550 available to people on a range of social security payments has not been extended to carers receiving the Carer Payment or to recipients of Disability Support Pension and Age Pension.

The Government does not seem to have considered that many carers on the Carer Payment who have been able to access up to 25 hours employment per week have also lost their jobs, or have had to give up their jobs because the people they care for are in the category of those with particular vulnerability to the worst impacts of the virus.

Carers Australia strongly encourages the Government to extend the Coronavirus Supplement to those on the Carer Payment.


COVID-19 information for carers

We understand that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of fear and uncertainty for carers and their loved ones. To help with this, we've created a dedicated page on our website which contains some advice for carers about COVID-19.

It includes information about reducing transmission, making an emergency plan and NDIS information. We will continue to monitor the situation and regularly post updates.

You can access the page here.


Additional financial support for carers

As part of its first economic stimulus package, the Federal government announced that carers receiving the Carer Payment or Carer Allowance will receive a one-off payment of $750.

People receiving the Disability Support Pension and the Age Pension are also eligible for this one-off payment. The payments will be delivered after 31 March 2020.

A second one-off Economic Support Payment of $750 will be available from mid July 2020 for people receiving an eligible payment or having an eligible concession card.


Supermarkets announce extra shopping hours for vulnerable people

Due to increased demand, a number of supermarkets are making plans to ensure vulnerable people are able to access essential groceries.

Woolworths and Coles have introduced dedicated shopping times, from 7-8am Monday, Wednesday and Friday, for shoppers who are aged, have a disability or are a family and friend carer shopping on someone’s behalf. These extended trading hours will be reviewed weekly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

To participate in these dedicated shopping times, you will need a valid identity card (such as a Pensioner Concession Card or a Companion Card). Please check Woolworths and Coles’ websites to see which cards are valid. Both supermarkets are also rolling out priority home delivery to vulernable people who are unable to leave their homes.

Many supermarkets have basic essentials stored behind the front counter for purchase. It’s also a good idea to try contacting smaller local supermarkets, butchers, fruit and vegatable stores and chemists to see if they will home deliver.


Carers Australia office shutdown

As of 24 March, Carers Australia moved to a remote working environment. The health and wellbeing of our staff is important to us, and this precautionary measure will ensure their safety and assist health services in their efforts against novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

Be reassured that you can continue to access Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737, and we will continue to update our website and social media sites regularly. We’ll also continue to take calls to assist young carers with the Young Carer Bursary.

We understand this is a challenging time for us all and we thank you for your understanding as we put these measures in place.

The needs of carers and their families continue to be at the heart of what we do and we remain committed to advocating for carers.


Carer wellbeing during COVID-19

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is causing a lot of stress and anxiety amongst carers but it’s important to take steps to maintain your wellbeing during this difficult time.

Carer Gateway has a number of resources which can help carers manage stress and anxiety. You can also contact them on 1800 422 737 to access a range of support services, including phone-based counselling. The Carers Australia website has a chat forum for carers where you can share your experiences, and the Young Carers Network has a range of resources for young carers.

It is also recommended that you limit screentime and get your news about COVID-19 from the Australian Government or your local state and territory government, as well as reputable news sources such as the ABC and SBS.

If you are struggling, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800. Young adults aged between 12-25 can visit headspace to access targeted mental health resources.


Young Carer Bursary update

Our team are aware of the extra stress that has been placed on our young carers with schools, TAFES and universities moving to online learning.

We are aware that further resources will be required to study from home.  

In response to this, we have brought forward the second bursary payment for this year to the end of March, rather than mid-April. Please let us know if you have not received your bursary payment by early April.


Young carer chat group

The Young Carers Team will be trialling an online chat group to check in and see how everyone is going.

Each fortnight we will discuss different topics with the first focusing on how you are coping with the many changes that are going on.

Young carers will receive an invite to attend via email or alternatively you can join via a link on our website in the events section on the day.