Disability Carers – A Plight

John Hargreaves 19 April 2016 8

I wanted to start a conversation about a subject which came to my attention the other night and see what other rioters thought.

A guy I know was a professional graphic designer but had to give up his job to care full time for his disabled father. He survived on the carers’ allowance. His career was on hold. After six years, the father passed away and his son lost his carers’ allowance.

But here’s the rub. He is six years away from his profession and no job. He can’t afford to retrain in the profession because he has no savings having existed for the past six years on the allowance which is meagre.

He asked me what supports the federal government or Territory government had for people like him. I didn’t and don’t know.

There are heaps of people in this state. They have essentially put their lives on hold for a disabled relative and have received some small support during that care period but once it’s over, they’re on their own.

This post is not a blame game post. I reckon that it is possible a responsible Territory minister would be advised by the bureaucracy that this is a federal issue as the carers’ allowance is a federal allowance. The feds would say that since the reason for the allowance has ceased so too has any responsibility for assistance to the carers.

I am ashamed that I hadn’t thought of this before now. I have had and have a lot of involvement with people with a disability and should have thought of it before.

Perhaps they have just fallen between the cracks. Maybe we need to seriously look at doing something for them? Thoughts?

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8 Responses to Disability Carers – A Plight
Antagonist Antagonist 2:48 pm 20 Jul 15

I had a career in the public service, admittedly in a job I did not like. I care for my wife who has injuries from an accident, in addition to three children – two of whom are mentally disabled. The intermittent and unpredictable nature of my caring responsibilities effectively rendered me unemployable, despite lots of hot air from employers about being flexible for caring responsibilities. I left the workforce to be a full-time carer. It sounds like a sob story on the surface, but I have thoroughly enjoyed having several years out of the workforce to enjoy watching my kids grow up – something many parents miss out on these days.

But now the kids are older and go to school. This left a lot of free time during the day. I considered returning to work but it was going to be a cold day in hell before I went back to my old career (which was in tatters from the impact of my caring responsibilities). So I chose to go back to university instead of whining about what life had thrown me. And I am almost finished now. Soon I will have another go at starting a career – and with my experiences I have a deep understanding and empathy for the may women who try to return to the workforce after starting a family.

My wife and kids are eligible for whatever the NCIS thing is, but we didn’t bother to fill out another mountain of forms since Centrefail already have the information, there just aren’t enough hours in a day, and we still can’t work out how it can possible help us. There is an information vacuum when it comes to finding out what assistance is there for carers. Centrefail seem to be more interested in finding ways to stop you from accessing assistance, rather than providing it.

So carers continue to struggle away without complaining. It does not take a carer long to figure out that they are in it alone, and if you want to change anything you have to work hard to make those changes yourself. Cos no one else is going to help you get when you are in the depths of the welfare abyss.

JustThinking JustThinking 6:53 pm 19 Jul 15

Parents give up careers all the time to raise children and then have to find their way back into the work force.
Sometimes you just have to start at the bottom again or make do with a new career.

bigred bigred 8:14 pm 18 Aug 14

Certainly a federal issue that this country has been ducking for years. How it happens is easy to diagnose, with a desire to help out a near relative who requires care the able bodied unselfishly volunteer. Care receiver goes into formal care or dies, and the carer ends up being out in the cold after a bit of a period of grace. Carer Allowance is one of the payments available. Very little thinking has occurred about the post care future of these folk. Also, the avalanche of burnt out carers relinquishing care needs to be worked through in more than an economic way.

banco banco 8:04 pm 18 Aug 14

Clearly what is required is another Government program..

chewy14 chewy14 4:05 pm 18 Aug 14

I would suggest the support available would be 100% identical to any other unemployed person.

Sure his situation is unlucky and he made a sacrifice to help a relative but I honestly don’t know what other kind of support you would suggest.

neanderthalsis neanderthalsis 2:44 pm 18 Aug 14

Is it the responsibility of a government to get someones career back on track after a hiatus and how is his situation any different to a mother returning to work after 7 years of raising a child?

Why is there an expectation that the hand of government will direct (and support) us through every aspect of our lives?

If he took a few minutes to look at his options he would discover that HECS HELP/ VET FEE HELP can cover the cost of the course upfront to be repaid later and Newstart/Austudy will pay a basic living allowance while he studies.

dungfungus dungfungus 1:35 pm 18 Aug 14

There is no plan for volunteer carers to be involved in the NDIS.

JennD JennD 12:56 pm 18 Aug 14

I think that the Human Services systems would simply view him now as a job-seeker, meaning he’ll be connected to an agency who is meant to find him work. thing is, those agencies are not set up to support re-training in something like his area. He’s more likely to end up with a forklift ticket. It would be great if there was an agency that concentrated on people who are in a situation like this – to re-train up to the standard that employers want in the SPECIFIC field a person previously worked in. Otherwise it can end up feeling like wasted time, and really importantly, wasted talent.

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