Carers should receive the same financial help as job seekers during coronavirus crisis

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An open letter to Scott Morrison,

 

This is a letter in response to the financial support you have given hard working Australians regarding the coronavirus. I am writing from the perspective of a single mother with three kids, and the carer to my son on palliative care.

You have forgotten about informal carers!

When I read this morning that hard working Australian’s (who have lost their jobs or will lose their jobs to the coronavirus crisis)  are eligible for double job seeker payments or job keeper payments, I cried. It goes without saying that these people (far too many to count) absolutely need and deserve help. They have, after all, lost their livelihoods which will impact not only themselves, but their children and families, and our economy. Indeed, many of my loved ones and friends are victims of this crisis. It is shocking, unprecedented, and your response to that is (without question) needed, appropriate, and welcomed by all.

But you see, I cried because I am not one of the people being helped. This is despite me working full-time for the last three years as well as being an informal carer. That changed when I was made redundant in November last year. I was unable to find more work. I was approved for Newstart, but, as I was also eligible for carer pension, applied for that and was approved. Carer pension cancels out Newstart. 

From my understanding, every job seeker (formally Newstart) will have their fortnightly payments doubled in response to the coronavirus crisis for up to six months. This DOES NOT INCLUDE CARERS. Our payments stay the same. Instead, we receive two one off-payments of $750.

I assure you Scott Morrison, I am affected by coronavirus as much as the next hard-working Australian. More so in fact, as in addition to the temporary inability to be employed, I have a permanent and unrelenting carer burden to contend with. You see, I must now keep Nathan home. At 17, he has right sided heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, and less than 30% lung capacity. I am unable to return to work because of coronavirus in any capacity. I do not expect special treatment, but I do expect to be treated like every other hard working Australian, because quite simply, I am one of them.

Shouldn’t every Australian who cannot work because of coronavirus receive the same level of care and financial help? Why are the most vulnerable Australian’s – informal carers- not being treated the same, and not having their payments doubled during this crisis?

I fail to see how you have provided carers with a fair and equitable solution as you have the rest of the nation. I ask for people to please consider signing this petition urging the government to include carers in the coronavirus financial assistance scheme.