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What government benefits are we entitled to?

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#1 smtm

Posted 31 October 2008 - 10:55 AM

This week I want to talk government payments because I have discovered something I would like to share. My son has been going to speech therapy for the past 9 months; we recently swapped therapists, as I found out there is a public hospital close by that offers very affordable help… compared with the cost of a private therapist. A few weeks ago our new speech therapist explained to me, because I have a child who requires speech therapy I could be entitled to a Carer Allowance – paid by Centrelink. All I have to do … and perhaps this is the catch, make several appointments to gather the necessary documentation. I had to go back to my GP, ask for a referral to a Paediatrician that deals with children with speech difficulties. So I did this, then it took 6 weeks just to get to see the Paediatrician. Finally got in, where she simply spoke to Ethan for a minute or two, asked me a lot of questions about his health and birth, completed the Centrelink form titled “Carer Allowance MR and TDR” signed it and gave it to me to submit to Centrelink. I am now awaiting approval of the benefit.

It is so frustrating when there are benefits to be had and not everyone in the same profession is aware. My paediatrician knew all about the form, where as my GP and the first private speech therapist had no idea that I would even be entitled to such a benefit. If your interested I suggest you call Centrelink, speak to your GP, and if you are seeing a speech therapist – discuss the ‘Carer Allowance’ with them too. I was lucky to find a well informed speech therapist that understood the financial pressure placed on a family with a child who needs weekly therapy sessions.

Also by the way, when we first started seeing a speech therapist we were entitled to claim the first 5 consultations through Medicare because my GP completed … yet another exhausting form, called an Enhanced Primary Care plan. You need your GP to complete this plan (which is submitted to Medicare so you can be registered for the extra assistance) and your GP must refer you to an allied health care professional, before you can be entitled to claim.

The benefit is limited to five allied health services per year and cannot be used in conjunction with private health care benefits. Instead of paying $500 for my sons first 5 visits we only paid about $270, Medicare rebated us around $230 (from memory), what a huge saving!

The scheme was introduced in 2004, and is apart of the ‘new Medicare allied health and dental care initiative, allowing people who are being managed by their GP under an “Enhanced Primary Care” (EPC) plan access to Medicare rebates for allied health services. If you’re after more information, click on these links;
http://www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au...BER%2010970.pdf  and  http://www.medicare.gov.au/provider/incent...eligibility.pdf or http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/pub...-epcahs-cnt.htm or

Its worth reading up on this as, the entitlement doesn’t just cover speech therapists, it in includes a range of service providers like Chiropractors, Mental Health Workers and Osteopaths just to name a few. You can save yourself some real money, by ensuring your GP registers you for the entitlement under an “Enhanced Primary Care” plan so you can claim back some of the expense. You can call Medicare to find out more as well http://www.medicareaustralia.gov.au/.

I was really surprised that I was entitled to any benefit at all. My son is not exactly ‘chronic’,  if you ask me he competes for air time with his sister who could talk the legs off a chair so he doesn’t get much of a chance too talk much.

Sadly unless you know what’s out there you have no idea what your entitled to. It’s not like the government publicises these initiatives so I am hoping by sharing my discovery with you, that we can uncover any other government initiatives where families are entitled to a payment or a helping hand.

I wonder if there are any other government payments that we are entitled to?

I know of the following ones, but I am sure there are more out there….

- Family Tax Benefit (Part A)—provides help with the cost of raising children.
- Family Tax Benefit (Part B)—provides extra help for families with one main income and this includes sole parents.
- Child Care Benefit—offsets the cost of long and part-day childcare.
- Maternity Payment, the good old baby bonus – designed to help with the extra costs of a new baby.
- Maternity Immunisation Allowance, this is a separate payment for children who have been fully immunised usually paid at about 18 months.

Sonia Williams a mother of two, qualified accountant and founder of the free online magazine Show Mummy the Money, designed to help mums, save, make and protect their money. You can access the current edition and past editions at http://www.showmummythemoney.com.au, simply click on the covers. She is the author of two books, Show Mummy the Money 2006, and Raising a Business 2007 available through all good book stores.

This information is correct at time of writing. It is general advice only and has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Please seek personal financial advice prior to acting on this information.

#2 ~*luvmytribe*~

Posted 12 November 2008 - 08:56 PM

Thanks OP, we have been paying for a private speech therapist for over 12 months and it will be ongoing for at least another 12. We were NOT aware that we "could" be entitled to this payment. I will be going to CL tomorrow for the paperwork as DS has an appointment on Friday, so I can get the ST to fill in her bit.
I wonder if CL back date when you can proove through the initial referral and then appointment records that this has been going on for over 12 months?
We did/do get the 5 reduced fees from medicare.

#3 Guest_Cat©_*

Posted 12 November 2008 - 09:28 PM

Children with speech issues often do not get the benefit, unless they have a medically diagnosed condition, such as a chromosomla defect, autism or down sydrome or many other respitory disorders/muscular dystrophy/cerebral palsy etc etc, then if htey dont fit in this criteria they are then required to have the paed fill in a functional assesment, this functional assesment basically is, that if they are functioning in MOST areas as age approprite then they wotn get the allowance, but if thier speech issue is part of a greater problem (whether diagnosed so far or not) then they will achieve the required "score" for the assesment and will get the payment.
Many children with autism and GDD have speech issues but arent diagnosed till 4/5/6, hence why they do it this way, so that those with greater issues but not diagnosed dont miss out.
If your child has ONLY a speech delay (with no other delays) then they wont get the payment.

#4 2blue1

Posted 13 November 2008 - 08:49 PM

If your child has ONLY a speech delay (with no other delays) then they wont get the payment.

That is right.

#5 rodeenie

Posted 24 November 2008 - 08:30 AM

Thank you for letting everyone know about this - such a shame it is not common knowledge.

#6 jojonbeanie

Posted 24 November 2008 - 02:01 PM

What an offensive thread. The Carer Allowance is not designed as a money grab for any parent who wants to stick out a grubby paw and say "I want mine". This Allowance is for parents of children with significantly higher care needs, usually as a result of illness or disability. It should not be touted as a nice way to make a bit of money on the side.

If your interested I suggest you call Centrelink
OP if you are interested in being taken seriously as a writer I suggest you learn when to use *you're* rather than *your*.

Edited by jojonbeanie, 24 November 2008 - 02:02 PM.

#7 not-surprised

Posted 24 November 2008 - 04:37 PM


cclap.gif jojonbeanie

#8 yummy-mummy-3-boys

Posted 24 November 2008 - 04:49 PM

I do not find this offensive and they aren't saying "OVER HERE PLEASE" or what ever else you are saying.they are simply sharing with essential baby community that there are payments out there that will help parents out.Yes in all fact some people may not get this payment or any in all fact but this forum is designed to give people information of things that will help, payments included.Wether you agree or not its up to centrelink to make the judgement on wether they get this kind of payment or not.If they dont get the payment then they dont. But if they do it might help them out in a big way.No one really knows any one else's finacial situation so before you jump on peoples backs take a stand back and think: if your children had some kind of illness/disease/problem would you sit back and not try to give your child the best or would you try and give them the best and apply for payments like these?

I am a mother of 3 boys whom are under 3. My oldest has asthma, a umbilical hernia and also problems with his stomach, my middle son has asthma and my youngest has bilateral talipes, tongue tie and hyperspadis that is all we know as of now. I will be applying for this payment in the next week as i have my sons appoitnment with his doctor.

I am not saying that there arent greedy people out there but i expect this to be a nice forum were people dont get yelled at for letting others know what is out there.

Good Luck Ladies


#9 ~MakkaPakka~

Posted 24 November 2008 - 04:54 PM

You are very lucky

We don't get monetary carer allowance for my son, though we are entitled to a health care card for him.

My son has major speech and language delays to the point he can only be assessed on his understanding at present as he is not developed enough to assess him in any other areas of speech yet.

He also has Major sensory integration issues, Developmental Delays, Low Tone Issues, Behavioural Issues and now possible ASD.

At present he sees the following professions:  Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist, on the list to see the Physio and allergy specialist, Developmental pediatrician, general pediatrician and our General Practitioner.

Oh he also has to see some Child Developmental Specialist next month.

He has been seeing therapists since he was 18 months old and now is 3.5 years old.

It makes me really annoyed to hear people are getting monetary carer allowance for their child who just has a speech/language delay and I am struggling with my DS who has a huge list of problems yet get knocked back  rant.gif

I don't understand the system at all - it sucks  cry1.gif

#10 Soontobegran

Posted 24 November 2008 - 05:25 PM

It makes me really annoyed to hear people are getting monetary carer allowance for their child who just has a speech/language delay and I am struggling with my DS who has a huge list of problems yet get knocked back

I don't blame you for feeling this way.  sad.gif
I thought this payment was for those parents of children with disabilities that require ongoing regular therapy and costly ongoing pharmaceutical treatment. Certainly not for some of the medical issues which have been mentioned here. unsure.gif

Many of our children will have an illness or need a surgery at some time in their life that will be expensive to us as parents. It will be inconvenient, painful and emotional at times but it is more often than not something that is recovered from and will require no further care.
It is all part of the responsibility of parenting.
The decision to have children should  mean that we are also going to be responsible for their health care.
We are extremely lucky here in Australia that we have a healthcare system which covers everyone despite their income.

Illnesses that do not cause a major distruption to the child or it's family should not qualify for carer's payment, it should be for those poor children/parents whose children require a high level of care just to maintain a basic lifestyle that is so taken for granted by those with able/well children.

My eyes sure have been opened by some of the posters here.

What an offensive thread. The Carer Allowance is not designed as a money grab for any parent who wants to stick out a grubby paw and say "I want mine". This Allowance is for parents of children with significantly higher care needs, usually as a result of illness or disability. It should not be touted as a nice way to make a bit of money on the side.


Edited by soontobegran, 24 November 2008 - 05:19 PM.

#11 jofisk

Posted 24 November 2008 - 05:40 PM

I receive the Carer's Allowance for DD1 who has Autism and ADHD, but when I first receive CA it was based on her Functioning level when she was 7 yrs old.

At that time she had ADHD, severe language delays and speech issues.  And I had to provide that she took an additional 14 hrs care per week.

Her sister DD2 has Severe Verbal Dyspraxia and language delays and I wasn't able to get the Carer's Allowance for her.  This doesn't bother me now as she is at a stage that she can be understood and she can function in her age group, unlike her sister.

I agree with lot of posters here that only those who really need it should get it.  Without the extra funding we get, DD1 wouldn't be able to do speech therapy and social skills training starting next year.  Also I would have had to wait 2 yrs before and Autism assessment, which I paid for privately.

#12 jojonbeanie

Posted 24 November 2008 - 06:11 PM

they are simply sharing with essential baby community that there are payments out there that will help parents out.
The OP is distributing this information as a part of her commercial web presence. Her blog is aimed at informing readers how they can make money (and presumably designed to increase her own income). It is not a philanthropic venture.

I find her post trivialises the very real need for adequate support and funding for families coping with significant health and caring issues.

If the OP finds filling out the paperwork to be the most onerous task in the process of caring for her child's medical needs, or can even get a single specialist appointment within a six week period, then I suggest she is very lucky indeed. She needs to take a long hard look at the resources required to care for someone with a truly high needs condition. Perhaps she can write an article for her blog on why it will cost me $14,000 to provide a suitably trained carer to accompany my profoundly disabled child to 7 hours a week of free, government provided, kindergarten next year.

#13 kristybradford

Posted 24 November 2008 - 06:33 PM

My little angel of almost 2 1/2 has cerebral palsy, and a significant vision impairment. She was diagnosed with CP at 8 months. We get the Carer's Allowance currently, but do not qualify for the Carer's Payment. She sees a speech therapist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, paediatrician, a vision Australia lady and her GP in our local area. We then need to regularly go to Sydney to see a speech therapist, dietition, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, specialist CP doctor, orthotist, opthamologist and an orthopaedic surgeon. I didn't just apply for the payment, I was urged to do so by her local therapist. Her paediatrician thinks that we should be getting the Carer's Payment, but the legislation has very strict and confusing guidelines. I love my little one with or without the extra $100.60 a fortnight, but when things are tough for families out there I think that they should be given the opportunity to get it. This probably isn't the place for this, but anyone out there with a similar little one please feel free to email me at kristybradford@live.com.au. Thanks for reading. smile1.gif

#14 Divine 37

Posted 24 November 2008 - 06:44 PM

My DS has a severe speech delay in several areas and we get Carers Allowance for him, he has been going to ST for a couple of years now. I doubt you would get it for a mild or moderate delay.

Edited by marcusdeanasmum, 24 November 2008 - 06:46 PM.

#15 Acidulous Osprey

Posted 24 November 2008 - 06:53 PM

Yeesh, I'm with you JJB.

Another piece of research that needed to be done is that the immunisation allowance is not just paid to parents of fully immunised children, it's also paid to those parents who fill out the forms from Centrelink saying that they are not immunising and who have a doctor certify they are making an informed choice.

And honestly the CA is common knowledge for parents of kids with actual dx'ed kids.  The reason parents with kids with speech delay aren't told about it is because they very rarely get it if speech delay is the sole issue.

#16 not-surprised

Posted 24 November 2008 - 08:25 PM

And in additiona to JJB's further post, it's hardly like people who frequent the Children with Special Needs and Managing Money boards on EB aren't going to find out about this stuff.


#17 shimmering

Posted 25 November 2008 - 07:29 PM

Thankyou so much for trying to make anyone who may need help aware of this.
Thankyou also for sharing your experience.
I hope all goes well for you.

We all have our crosses to bear.


#18 ~*luvmytribe*~

Posted 26 November 2008 - 12:42 PM


Edited by ~*luvmytribe*~, 27 November 2008 - 05:29 PM.

#19 Acidulous Osprey

Posted 26 November 2008 - 03:01 PM

But luvmy tribe, you're talking about a fairly complex condition which is ongoing and needs ST.  That's a world of difference from a child with a simple speech delay who needs comparatively little support.

I hope CA comes through for you.

#20 jojonbeanie

Posted 26 November 2008 - 06:51 PM

It is a very expensive treatment to fund at $120 per hour.
You are telling this to parents of children who need not just one specialist, but perhaps ten.

Edited by jojonbeanie, 26 November 2008 - 06:51 PM.

#21 Soontobegran

Posted 27 November 2008 - 12:00 AM

am sure other parents who are in a similar situation would be greatful for the information posted by the OP. No one ever told us we may be entitled to such assistance. We were only ever told about the medicare rebate which partially covers 5 session per year.

Surely if the money you were spending on your child's treatment was causing severe financial issues you would look into what financial help is available to you.
Some of the respondent posts were from people who were going to make appointments with their GP'S 'just in case I am eligible'---sorry but this I find to be offensive.
If your child's illness/disability is not one that has been noted by your GP already as one that is deserving of Carers Payment then it probably isn't.
I am sure all those SN mums will also find that 'going looking for an excuse to get Carer's payment'is distasteful.

#22 ~*luvmytribe*~

Posted 27 November 2008 - 02:50 PM

ETA~ I have basically deleted my post as I do not have to explain myself or answer to anyone.

At the end of the day if a family qualifies to recieve either CA or CP it no one elses business but theirs.

Edited by ~*luvmytribe*~, 27 November 2008 - 02:55 PM.

#23 Copacetic

Posted 27 November 2008 - 03:29 PM

What an offensive thread. The Carer Allowance is not designed as a money grab for any parent who wants to stick out a grubby paw and say "I want mine". This Allowance is for parents of children with significantly higher care needs, usually as a result of illness or disability. It should not be touted as a nice way to make a bit of money on the side.

And that is exactly the way the OP is written.  It also p*sses me off that its written like its an easy payment to get.  Its not.  There's a lot of red tape to cut through to get it.  

I do not take issue with anyone that actually needs it, but a bit of a speech delay isn't going to get you there.

#24 makybediva

Posted 27 November 2008 - 03:30 PM

And that's fair enough ~*luvmytribe*~

#25 Soontobegran

Posted 27 November 2008 - 04:38 PM

At the end of the day if a family qualifies to recieve either CA or CP it no one elses business but theirs.

Well that is true but you made it everyone's business when you posted here and asked our opinions.

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