Being a carer
Looking after your finances when
looking after others
There are millions of Australians providing care to an older
person or someone with a disability or long term health condition.
Looking after ageing parents or unwell family members and friends
can be very emotional and stressful. Your day to day routine could
change dramatically. It's important to look after yourself and keep
an eye on your finances.
Take care of yourself
Be kind to yourself and make sure you seek support from family
and friends. Each state and territory has a carer's association
that provides advice and support:
Consider getting emotional support from a professional. Your
local GP can recommend someone for you to talk to. If you are
receiving Centrelink payments, find out about the Department of
Human Services' social work services - phone 13 17
You can also contact:
You can also contact Kildonan Uniting Care who offer
a financial counselling for families with children and young people
living with cancer through their WeCare service.
Make sure you're getting
what you're entitled to
If you're unable to work because you are caring for someone, you
may be entitled to a government payment. Check with the Department
of Human Services by completing the payment finder to see what you are
From your employer
Check with your employer to find out how much paid carer's leave
you are entitled to. To find out more about your rights at work see
the Fair Work Ombudsman's Sick and
carers leave information.
Adjust to a change in
Becoming a carer might mean you have to cut back your hours in
paid work, or leave altogether. If this is the case you will need
to adjust to a change in income. Once you know exactly how much
money you are entitled to and your total income, work out how you
will use this to cover your expenses. The best way to do this is by
budget so you can see how much is coming in and how much is
Work out how working part-time or taking a break from paid work
due to carer responsibilities affects your super.
Ask for a hardship variation to your bills and debts
If you are finding it hard to pay bills, credit cards or loan
repayments, the first step is to talk with your lender or finance
provider and let them know you are experiencing financial
Many companies have hardship officers who can assess your
situation and work out what help is available. Hardship officers
can also help you work out an affordable payment plan such as
paying bills in instalments or temporarily altering your loan
repayments. See our information on
Seek help from a financial counsellor
Free, independent and confidential counselling services are
available through Financial Counselling
Australia. Financial counsellors can help you negotiate
payments and apply for a hardship variation. Find a
financial counsellor near you.
Keep an eye on your super
If you're earning less money from paid work your super balance
will be affected. If you can afford it, see if you can contribute
to your super while you are not working.
Make sure your super is working well for you by consolidating
any super accounts you aren't using, checking your super fund is
right for you and ensuring your super investment option suits you.
For more information see if your super is on target.
Case study: Margaret seeks help
is 58 and recently divorced from her husband of 30 years. She works
part-time at a local library. Her mother and father are in their
80s. Margaret's mother has a degenerative brain disease which means
she is unable to do much for herself anymore.
Because Margaret lives the closest of all of her siblings, the
amount of time she spends cooking, cleaning and looking after her
mother is increasing dramatically. Margaret has had to reduce her
hours at the library to only fifteen hours per week.
On the advice of a friend, she met with a financial counsellor
who is helping her work out the best way to make sure her income
covers all her expenses.
Being a carer for a family member or friend who
is unwell is a very courageous thing to do. It's important you also
think about your own wellbeing and make sure your finances are
Last updated: 10 Feb 2017