Dear Minister Ruston,
Thank you for the work you and your staff are doing in this difficult time.
I am writing on behalf of the carers and people with disability in my electorate who have contacted me about the inequity they are experiencing due to being left out of the Government's Coronavirus assistance package. I am writing to ask that the fortnightly Coronavirus Supplement of $550 please be extended to recipients of the Disability Support Pension (DSP) and the Carer Payment.
As you would be aware, the Coronavirus Supplement now means that the JobSeeker payment is greater than the DSP. In normal times, the DSP is greater than JobSeeker because in order to be eligible for the DSP people have been deemed unable to work and therefore will be relying on the pension long term. This also reflects the fact that Australians living with a disability often face increased costs of living as a result of their disability.
It is also inequitable that carers, who perform such a critical role in our community and make a profound contribution to our economy, are not receiving equal assistance. Several single parent carers have contacted me about the particular anomaly where a single parent of a child with a disability is now receiving less than a single parent whose child does not have a disability (due to them receiving Carer Payment instead of Parenting Payment, which is now part of JobSeeker Payment).
On first principles, extending the Coronavirus Supplement to these groups is about fairness. Life on a government payment is a challenge for anybody and the Coronavirus Supplement will make this challenging time easier for Australians receiving the DSP and the Carer Payment. Extending the Coronavirus Supplement in this way would also serve the package's economic stimulus objective.
I look forward to receiving your response.
Member for Canberra