Grandcarers Support Scheme
What is this scheme about?
The Scheme provides an annual support payment to grandparents who have full time responsibility for raising their grandchildren. It acknowledges the additional demands and financial pressures that grandparents in this role may experience. The Scheme is funded by the Department of Communities.
In these situations, the child’s parent/s for a variety of reasons, are unable or unwilling to assume their parental responsibilities and the care of the child has unexpectedly fallen to the child’s grandparent.
Without the support and commitment of these grandparents the children could potentially end up in formal foster care, under the protection of the State.
Many of these grandparents may be planning for retirement or have already retired and the care of a child comes at a time where they were planning other things and may have less financial capacity. In other cases the grandparents may still be working but the fulltime care of a child impacts upon both their finances and lifestyle plans. Some grandparents may give up their jobs to provide care for their grandchildren.
Who is this payment for?
Grandcarers are legally, biologically or culturally defined grandparents including great-grandparents:
- step grandparent or
- culturally ‘grandparent-like’ relationship
- at least one generation removed
- who have assumed the full-time, primary care of their grandchild
- where the care of that child may otherwise have required state intervention.
As the arrangements for a grandchild can change over time, payments are made to those grandcarers who have care of their grandchild at the time of registration and have done so for a total of four months over the past twelve months.
How much is this payment?
The Grandcarers Support Scheme provides:
$400 for the first grandchild,
$250 for each subsequent grandchild
Once I am approved, do I get this payment automatically each year?
A new application is required each year as family situations frequently change.
Payments are annual and an application can be made at any time of the year. A re-application can be made 12 months after your last payment was received.
A Grandcarer can only claim once a year for the grandchild they are claiming for.
Should additional grandchildren come into their fulltime care at a later stage, the grandcarer can claim for the additional grandchild/grandchildren once they have been in their care for at least four months.
I receive foster payments through the Department of Communities Child Protection and Family Support. Am I eligible?
No. If you receive regular payments from the Department of Communities Child Protection and Family Support such as a Fostering Subsidy or Special Guardianship Payment you will not be eligible. However, if these payments cease at any time and you retain the fulltime care of your grandchild, you may be immediately eligible and you should contact the GSS team to discuss your situation.
I received the Establishment Payment from the Department of Communities Child Protection anf Family Support. Am I eligible?
Probably. The Establishment Payment is a one-off payment through the Department of Communities Child Protection and Family Support where a relative carer has taken on care of a child and where the Department has had prior involvement due to concerns about a child’s well-being. If the care has not become a formal fostering arrangement, recipients of the Establishment Payment are still eligible if they meet the other eligibility criteria.
I receive support through Centrelink (Carer’s Pension, Family Tax Benefit etc). Am I eligible?
Yes (although not if you are also receiving a Foster Care payment from the Department for Communities Child Protection and Family Support).
Do I have to provide care for four months continuously before I'm eligible to apply?
Not necessarily. If you have had primary care responsibility for your grandchild/children for shorter periods of time over the past 12 months but in total they add up to at least four months, you are eligible to apply.
I provide daily child care for my grandchild. Am I eligible?
No. The scheme is only for those grandcarers who have taken on the role of the full time, primary care of their grandchild. If you are sharing the care of your grandchild with a parent/s, you are unlikely to be eligible to apply however we encourage you to ring the GSS team to discuss your individual circumstances.
I cared for my grandchild for a total of four months while my son was working. Am I eligible?
This will depend on a range of factors. You may be eligible if this care was unexpected and you have assumed the primary care role of your grandchild during this time. However if the care arrangement was agreed in advance and your son retains primary care responsibilities for his child, you are probably not eligible. Please contact the GSS team to discuss your eligibility.
What proof do I need that I meet the eligibility?
All applicants will be required to submit a formal Statutory Declaration which is a legal document. The Statutory Declaration form will be provided to you following your registration. There are penalties for knowingly falsifying a statutory declaration. The GSS team will assist you with any queries about your eligibility and/or the application process.
What's the easiest way to apply?
You can begin the application process by completing the on-line enquiry below or you can ring the Grandcarers Support Scheme team on 1800 794 909. The team will then complete your registration by phone if you meet the eligibility criteria. If you make an on-line enquiry, a Grandcarers Support Scheme team member will ring you to discuss your registration.
All applicants will also be required to submit a formal Statutory Declaration which is a legal document. There are penalties for knowingly falsifying a statutory declaration.
The Grandcarers Support Scheme is provided by Wanslea Family Services and funded by the State Government through the Department of Communities.