The Productivity Commission’s final report from its Mental Health Inquiry has produced a range of recommendations to improve the supports available to family and friend carers.
It was identified that carers of people with mental health challenges often face obstacles to accessing recognition and support compared to carers of people with physical or intellectual disabilities.
The current assessment tools that assess the eligibility for the Carer Payment and Carer Allowance, do not account for or consider carers of people who have mental health episodes, which can often be frequent and serious conditions. This means that these carers are having to bear the cost to their own wellbeing, health, and financial security because they do not meet the criteria for eligibility.
The Productivity Commission developed a range of recommendations from the findings, that include:
- The current requirements for the Carer Payment and Carer Allowance be relaxed to include that a significant amount of regular care must be provided every week to meet the eligibility criteria.
- Introduction of monthly rather than weekly restrictions on the hours people on the Carer Payment can engage in work and removal of all restrictions to engaging in volunteering or educational activities.
- Address the need for greater carer inclusion in the policy processes and services which support those they care for.