Caring for a loved one with an illness, injury or disability can be a lot to handle. We'll guide you through important carer responsibilities, tasks for your to-do list, and how to get the support you need.
Looking after your finances
With so much on your mind, it’s easy to forget that being a carer can sometimes set you back financially. Here are some money tips to help.
Consider the reality of earning less
You may need to cut back on your hours—or stop work completely. If this happens, you'll need to plan for less money in your pocket.
If you need to reduce your hours, speak to your employer. Remember, under the National Employment Standards, you have the right to a flexible working arrangement after 12 months in your job.
This may also impact your super, as you won’t be earning as much. Think about making your own super contributions to continue growing your retirement savings.
Government payments explained
Make sure you get all the support you need:
- paid carer's leave — find out how much paid carer’s leave, opens in new window you may get from your employer
- carer's allowance — You may be able to get a fortnightly carer’s allowance payment , opens in new windowfrom the government. Check if you're eligible, opens in new window and learn how to make a claim
- home modification payment — find out how much home modification funding, opens in new window you may be able to get to pay for changes such as wheelchair ramps and bathroom hand rails
- use the online payment finder tool , opens in new windowfor an estimate of what you may be able to get as a carer based on your circumstances.
Get help with your payments
If you’re having trouble keeping on top of payments, talk to your lender.
If you’re with NAB:
- call NAB Assist on 1800 701 599 if you’re finding it difficult to meet your payments
- learn about financial hardship assistance in detail, including how to apply
- learn five tips for taking charge of your finances when things don't go to plan.
Stay on top of your finances
Create plans for your debts, expenses and goals to help improve your financial situation:
- work out your income and expenditure
- create and stick to budgets
- use online money tools and apps to stay on track, opens in new window
- learn 10 steps to a brighter financial future, opens in new window
- get free financial counselling from the National Debt Helpline, opens in new window on 1800 007 007
- get financial planning advice based on your needs/goals and request a consultation with a qualified financial expert
- look into support services and practical help from the government, charities and other community organisations.
Stay connected and take breaks
Chat to friends and family in person, or on FaceTime, Skype and WhatsApp. You may also find a carer support group, opens in new window in your area to talk to others in similar situations.
Make time to connect with others and enjoy regular ‘me time’. Learn how respite care works and find a respite service near you, opens in new window to schedule breaks from your caring duties.
Think about your mental health
Strategies for managing stress, opens in new window and coping with anger, frustration and guilt can also help you stay committed.
Use support services
Take advantage of these carer support services:
- the Carer Gateway, opens in new window
- your state or territory's carer association, opens in new window
- our Customer Care Kit listing support organisations and providers.
Staying in shape
Caring can sometimes be hard work – both mentally and physically. To keep your body in shape, see:
- how exercise can help you meet the demands of caring
- exercise tips, opens in new window and how to improve your core strength, opens in new window and avoid back pain, opens in new window.
Plan for the future
Help your loved one prepare for their future by putting necessary steps in place. Also think about:
- home nursing services and community nursing services, opens in new window you can use like hospital care, residential care and palliative care if at-home care isn't a permanent long-term solution
- life insurance and how it helps those who matter most if something happens to you or your loved one.
Super is a regular payment made into a super fund by an employee towards a future pension. For most people, your employer must pay an amount equal to 9.5% of your salary into your super fund account. Your super savings can be self-managed, or controlled by the superannuation fund of your choice.
Other life moments
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The information contained in this article is intended to be of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, NAB recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. NAB recommends that you seek independent legal, financial and taxation advice before acting on any information in this article.