Find out about your rights to flexibility at work
Talk to your employer about your situation and see if you can come to an arrangement so you can keep your job and still provide care
Talk to family and friends, and see if they can help out while you are at work
Many working carers do not use Government funded services and assistance programs because they are too busy working and caring to ask for help and do not know where to go, or are put off by the procedures. Sometimes carers do not want strangers involved with the people they are caring for, and sometimes they have had bad experiences of outside assistance.
Part of managing money is to make the most of available services and programs. If you do not, you and the person you care for could miss out on money specifically allocated by government and community organisations to help make it possible for you to continue to earn a living. Service staff can usually address any concerns you may have about outside assistance. You also have the right to complain if the services provided are not of high quality.
It is worth the time to find out what your entitlements are and to use them, as they can help ease the pressure of caring while working.
Visit our Services Directory to find support services in your area.
Applying for the Carer Allowance
If you provide daily care for another person, you could be entitled to the Carer Allowance, payable through Centrelink. Eligibility depends on an assessment of care needs by a doctor or health practitioner.
As with services and assistance programs, many carers do not apply for a Carer Allowance because they do not know where to start or are put off by the application process. Do not feel embarrassed about applying for the Carer Allowance or other benefits or payments. You are entitled to financial assistance and if you do not take it up, you could lose out on money specifically allocated by government for helping you.
It is worth persevering to get your entitlements. The Carer Allowance is a small income supplement - $123.50 per fortnight - but there is no income or asset test for it and it is tax free. While this is a small payment now, it has been increasing since it began. In recent years the Federal Government made one-off payments of $600 to people receiving the Carer Allowance.
A budget or cash flow chart can help give you control over your finances and help you to manage your money.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I have a workable budget?
- Are my files and accounts organised?
- Are my insurance policies up to date?
- Do I have superannuation?
- Do I need help managing my credit?
If you feel you need extra assistance you can seek help from an expert. Get professional advice if you are:
- Getting into debt
- Unsure what to do about any financial matter
- Planning to reduce your hours or leave work to become a full-time carer
- Planning to set up a trust or company for the person you care for
- Considering paying an accommodation bond
- Needing advice on how to help the person you are caring for manage their money.
Your union or trade association
Your local council or family service
A financial adviser
A Centrelink Social Worker 13 27 17
Centrelink's Financial Information Service 13 23 00
Consumer Credit and Debt Hotline 1800 007 007
Australian Tax Office (ATO) Helpline 13 28 65
Seeking legal advice
Legal matters can have an impact on your finances. Check these questions:
Do I have an up-to-date Will, Power of Attorney and Enduring Power of Attorney?
Does the person I care for have an up-to-date Will, Power of Attorney and Enduring Power of Attorney?
Is my relationship with the person I care for legally recognised?
For more information see our fact sheet Planning for your Future.
You can get information and assistance on these matters from:
- Your nearest community legal centre by checking the White Pages in your telephone book, or by calling the Combined Community Legal Centres Group on 02 9212 7333 or visit www.nswclc.org.au
- A legal aid office by checking the White Pages, calling the Legal Aid Commission of NSW on 1300 888 529 or visit www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au
- A solicitor
- The Guardianship Board or Tribunal in your state
- A Law Society or Institute.
Seek financial advice first. You may be eligible for the Carer Payment, a pension paid by Centrelink to people who are caring for a person who needs full-time care and attention. This payment is income and assets tested and eligibility is dependent on an assessment of care needs.
For more information
For a comprehensive list of benefits and entitlements for carers, check the Carers NSW Fact Sheet Benefits and Entitlements.