If you are the younger one who’s in charge of your parents’ welfare, you would want to know these tips on working with Centrelink for your elderly parents’ financial assistance. This is to make sure that getting old is something they will enjoy and not a thing everyone will worry about.
Let us face it. A huge percentage of Australians today are among those who belong to the sandwich generation. This means that they are trapped in the middle, taking care of their elderly parents while looking after their own family. If you are in this position, the pressure to equally allocate time and resources is very high.
The key to being on top of this situation, therefore, is preparing ahead. Here are some tips you can start doing this early for your parents’ financial assistance. This applies even if they are not yet approaching the elderly mark.
Organise Important Documents for Centrelink’s Reference
It is often confusing where to start with regards to making your future transaction with Centrelink breezy. So, first things first, help your parents organise their important documents in one folder for safekeeping. These can include:
- Power of attorney
- Last will
- Bank details
- Investment or insurance policy documents
- Details of pre-arranged funeral, if there is any
By putting all these in one place, it will be easier to claim their benefits come the right time.
Before Heading to Centrelink, Arrange a Meeting with your Parents’ Financial Adviser If There Is Any
If your parents have been preparing for old age themselves, chances are they have a financial adviser who’s been providing them the assistance they need. This is one thing you might want to clarify from them. Better yet, ask their permission for you to meet with their financial adviser so you can have an idea of their investment history, financial transactions, government entitlements they are receiving, and other future estate plans.
A huge percentage of Australians today are among those who belong to the sandwich generation
What Is Centrelink and How Does It Support Elderly Australians?
You may have heard about Centrelink, but you may not really understand what it is because you are not a present beneficiary. As a carer for your parents, it pays to know what this agency is and how it could help you and your ageing parents sooner or later.
Centrelink is an Australian government agency that operates under the umbrella of the Department of Human Service. It is responsible for evaluating the eligibility as well as processing the social security benefits of parents, people with disabilities, the unemployed, carers, families, and older Australians.
In the case of elderly Aussies, benefit payments include:
This is a benefit payment to those under 65 years old (which is the age eligibility for Age Pension) who no longer work or only work limited hours.
Disability Support Payment
This is a payment to those suffering long-term illnesses, immobility, or disability, which is the reason why they cannot work anymore. However, this is subject to medical evaluation and the same eligibility criteria as the Age Pension.
This is a retirement benefit for those over the age of 65. This, however, is also subject to criteria assessment such as the asset evaluation, residency, and income.
This is a payment to somebody who provides full-time care to a disabled, sick, or aged Australian requiring home care.
This is an additional payment to those who are recipients of a qualifying payment so they can meet their rental or accommodation requirements.
This is a payment (in addition to profession care) to a person providing daily care at home to someone who is disabled, ill, or requires aged care.
You have to know as well that each of these payments has specific requirements prior to approval. Eligibility usually revolves around age, income, residency, medical conditions, work status, and assets. You can help prepare your parents with regards to their Centrelink payment eligibility by having them attend seminars run by the Centrelink’s Financial Information Service.
Application for social security benefits can be done online and the agency will instruct you about other requirements and processes.
Dealing with Centrelink On Behalf of your Elderly Parents
Centrelink needs to be regularly updated about your elderly parents’ circumstances. Are they receiving other entitlements such as the Age Pension? Did their residency change? Are there any alterations in their investments or withdrawals from their bank accounts? You need to inform the agency from time to time of these changes in conditions within 14 days of the variations.
Now, to save you from phone enquiries or trips to the agency, you can request to be granted permission to know the status of your parents’ eligibilities. You just have to fill out a form and you will have your own electronic copies of your parents’ correspondence. This way, it will be easier for you to deal with the centre on their behalf.
Some Final Words
Caring for your elderly parents can be very challenging. Great thing the Australian government is committed to providing assistance to make growing old and caring for the elders easy. Knowing that help and financial support are available somehow makes the journey bearable.
Life is all about preparation. As the primary carer, having firsthand knowledge about the support you can get for your parents (once they are old) is essential in being able to provide them with the best care that they deserve. Meanwhile, you can relay all this information to your parents too. That way they won’t be clueless about what they need to prepare, such as the documents enumerated above. You can also seek the help of your other siblings. Share responsibilities with them, and discuss aged care arrangements now. That way you will be ready to deal with the situation when it comes. After all, it is easier to go about this phase of life when everyone is cooperating and sharing the load.
Working with Centrelink for your elderly parents’ financial assistance can be time-consuming. This is worse if you don’t have the slightest idea of how it works! Better subscribe to our mailing list for news and updates and we’ll keep you informed 😉