Persons with disability and their carers need COVID-19 support payment.

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This is me with my wonderful son, Luke, who lives with a disability. I spend most of my time caring for him, but also work on a part-time basis to supplement our income, just like so many other parents. My job prospects have also taken a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, unlike parents on Parenting Payment, the government isn’t offering parents on Carer Payment (CP) or Disability Support Pension (DSP) any fortnightly Coronavirus Supplement. (The government are only offering the lesser-paying Economic Support Payment to people on DSP or CP.) This leaves parents with a disability in their family on a lower overall payment than parents on Parenting Payment. Having a disability or a child with a disability shouldn’t make a difference. This is why I’m calling on the government to top up DSP and CP for the next six months, like those on Parenting Payment will have access to.

In my circumstance, I completed my last temp job two weeks before people started losing their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. I, too, am finding it increasingly difficult to find another job and expect to be out of work for the duration of the economic downturn. There are many others like me.

It is commendable that the federal government has announced an additional one-off Economic Support Payment and fortnightly Coronavirus Supplement payments for those on Jobseeker payments, Parenting Payment, and others for the next six months. However, it is deeply upsetting that the government doesn’t equally recognise DSP and CP recipients, and has denied us the fortnightly Coronavirus Supplement. People with disability and carers are also suffering  massive financial setbacks in the coronavirus economic downturn, due to changes in expenses and income. 

This is about including all people with disabilities in the community. I am urging the government to acknowledge people with disability and those who care for someone with a disability, including parents in these groups, as well as everyone else on Centrelink income support payments. A fair and equitable way to address the unprecedented crisis would be to top up everyone's fortnightly Centrelink payments to match what is being offered to people without disability or who care for children who don’t have a disability.