Keeping your finances under control while you’re a carer
While you’re caring for a loved one who is unwell, it’s important you keep an eye on your own wellbeing too, and make sure your finances are under control.
Millions of Aussies care for an older family member or someone with a disability or health condition. Being a carer can be very emotional and stressful, and have a dramatic impact on your daily routine. It’s important you look after yourself and keep an eye on your finances.
Get the support you’re entitled to
Centrelink offer government benefit assistance if you’re unable to work because you are caring for someone.
- To check if you might be eligible, check the Department of Human Services payment finder.
- If you’re working, chat with your employer about how much paid carer’s leave you’re entitled to. You can read about your rights here with the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Adjusting to a change in income
The demands of being a carer might mean you have to cut back on your hours of paid work – or even leave work altogether. This can put a huge drain on your cash.
- Once you’ve worked out whether you’re entitled to a Centrelink carer payment and any other financial support, you’ll need to take a look at your budget.
- Determine exactly how much money you’ll have coming in, and get an accurate view of your expenses.
- If you’ve had to leave work to be a carer, it’s also important to understand how your superannuation might be affected. Find out here using this career break super calculator.
Ask for a break with your bills
You might find it hard to keep up with your regular expenses, such as rent, bills and other repayments.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help and renegotiate your terms. Contact each of your bill providers and let them know you’re experiencing financial hardship.
- Many companies provide relief and can assess your situation and alter your repayment terms, providing you with some much needed breathing room.
- Read here for more information about applying for a hardship variation.
See a financial counsellor
Just as you might see a counsellor for your emotional support, a financial counsellor can offer expert help with your finances.
- A financial counsellor can help you negotiate payments.
- Free, independent and confidential financial counselling services are available through Financial Counselling Australia.
- Find a financial counsellor near you.
Take care of yourself
It will be harder for you to be a good carer to others if you’re not looking after yourself.
- Be kind to yourself, grab a break every now and then and make sure you get support from family and friends.
- If you’re receiving Centrelink payments, find out about accessing the social work services offered by the Department of Human Services.
- Or you could also consider getting professional emotional support – start by seeing your local GP, who can assess your needs and recommend someone for you to talk to.
- There’s also a carer’s association in each Australian state and territory that can help you with advice and support: