Federal Government assistance:
Disability Support Pension: Disability Support Pension provides financial support to people whose FA stops them from working.
You may be able to get Disability Support Pension if your FA stops you from working or being retrained for work within the next two years. You also have to be an Australian resident and meet other eligibility criteria. The Disability Support Pension is income and assets tested, unless you receive a Disability Support Pension because you are permanently blind.
If you are eligible, you may receive a fortnightly Disability Support Pension, along with other benefits, including a Pensioner Concession Card. If you start working again, you may still receive Disability Support Pension, depending on the hours you work for and how much you earn.
Chronic Disease Management Plan: If you have FA and ask, your doctor should develop a GP Management Plan. A GP Management Plan is a plan of action agreed between you and your GP. It identifies your health care needs, sets out the services to be provided by your GP and lists the actions that you need to take.
If you ask further, your doctor may also put a Team Care Arrangements plan in place for you. A Team Care Arrangements plan lets your doctor work with, and refer you to, at least two other health professionals who will provide treatment or services to you.
You may be eligible for Medicare benefits for specific allied health services if your doctor prepares both types of plans for you. This could cover the cost of a total of five visits divided between at least two other health professionals (i.e. chiropractor, physiotherapist etc.)
Mobility Allowance: Mobility Allowance helps with transport costs for FAers who cannot use public transport without substantial assistance.
You may be eligible for Mobility Allowance if your FA prevents you from using public transport without substantial help and are:
- looking for work under an agreement with an Employment Services Provider
- participating in a Disability Employment Services Program
- involved in a combination of paid employment, voluntary work, vocational training and independent-living or life-skills training
There are two rates of Mobility Allowance. The rate you receive depends on whether you meet certain eligibility criteria.
Medicare Card: Every Australian resident should be enrolled in Medicare and will receive a Medicare card: Having a valid Medicare card is important for claiming a Medicare benefit, visiting a doctor who bulk bills, seeking treatment as a public patient in a public hospital or having a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme prescription filled.
If you are aged 15 or older, you can get your own Medicare card. Children under 15 can be listed on their parents’ card.
You use your Medicare card when:
- making a Medicare claim for a paid or unpaid doctor’s account
- visiting a doctor who bulk bills
- getting treatment as a public patient in a public hospital
- filling a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme prescription at a pharmacy
For more information, click here.Health Care Card/Concession Card:
Vehicle Modification Subsidy Scheme:
Essential Medical Equipment Payment: The Essential Medical Equipment Payment is an annual $140 (fy 12-13, indexed to increase in future years) payment to people who experience additional increases in home energy costs from the use of essential medical equipment to manage their disability or medical condition. Payments will start from 1 July 2012.
There are eligibility criteria but the payment is not means tested. “Neurodegenerative disorder” is listed among eligible conditions (your GP would need to verify that your FA means your body has difficulty with temperature control if you’ll claim to help with heating/cooling bills) and “electric wheelchair” is among the eligible appliances. Application for this payment must be made online. NB: once you’ve submitted your claim online, you’ll be required to take this form to your GP to be filled so it might be smart to bring it with you and have it filled before you make your claim.
Carer Payment: Carer Payment provides financial support if you are unable to work in substantial paid employment because you are providing full-time daily care to an FAer.
Carer Payment is subject to an income and assets test and is paid at the same rate as other income-support payments. You cannot receive Carer Payment and another income support payment, such as Age Pension, at the same time. Residential criteria also apply.
Carer Allowance: Carer Allowance is a supplementary payment for parents or carers who provide additional daily care to an adult or dependent child who has FA.
Carer Allowance is not subject to an income and assets test and is not taxable. It can be paid in addition to other income support payments such as Carer Payment or Age Pension.
Child Disability Assistance Payment: Child Disability Assistance Payment is an annual payment to assist parents with the costs of caring for a child with a disability.
To be eligible for Child Disability Assistance Payment, you must have been paid Carer Allowance for a child under 16 years for a period that includes 1 July. This also includes Carer Allowance backdated to include 1 July.
QLD State Government assistance:
Home Assist Secure: The Home Assist Secure program aims to remove some of the practical housing-related difficulties experienced by FAers whose disability provides challenges but wish to remain living in their home.
The service provides free information and referrals about home maintenance, falls prevention, repairs and modifications and home security. Subsidised assistance for minor home maintenance, repairs and modifications which relate to health, safety and security is also available.
Taxi subsidy: The Taxi Subsidy Scheme subsidises taxi travel for people with severe disabilities. Eligibility criteria apply but include being wheelchair-dependent or permanently dependent on a walking aid.
Half of the total taxi fare is subsidised (up to a maximum of $25 per trip, as at Oct 2012). There is an application form to fill and you’ll need your condition and the extent of your disability verified by your GP.
Medical Aids Subsidy Scheme:
Companion Card: A Companion Card makes going to events like football games, festivals, concerts and movies more affordable for FAers who rely on help from someone else most (or all) of the time.
Having a Companion Card means you receive 2 tickets for the price of 1 when attending events or activities at participating venues. Simply visit a participating business, show your card when you buy your ticket and you will receive a second ‘companion’ ticket, at no charge, for your companion or carer. This ticket is also exempt from booking fees and the cost of the ticket is covered by the business.
The Companion Card is valid on public transport too.
The card is issued in the name of the FAer and is valid for 5 years. It gives cardholders freedom to go to different places with different people. The cardholder’s companion may be a partner, family member, friend, volunteer or paid carer assistant. There is an application form to fill and you’ll need your condition and the extent of your disability verified by your GP.
Translink Access Pass: A TransLink access pass is available to people that can travel independently on TransLink services but who have been assessed by a qualified health care professional as being unable to independently use the go card ticketing system. For instance, someone wheelchair-bound who has limited fine hand movement
For an annual fee, the access pass allows unlimited travel on all TransLink services (except Airtrain) for one year. There is an application form to fill and you’ll need your condition and the extent of your disability verified by your GP.
Carer Business Discount Card: Many of the same businesses that give pensioner discounts also give discounts to carers. A carer with a QLD address registered with Centrelink can apply online here.