BY Rebekah Devlin
If there’s one thing kids come with, it’s paperwork! And when they become young adults, there’s even more. But never fear, here is your cheat sheet.
Sweet 16: Ah, the joys of friends, first loves, parties, school, further study, career choices and living options!
Our kids deserve to have all the options and access to the above, even if it means thinking outside the box to make it work for them.
It’s fair to say that as a parent of a child with any disability, it can be daunting thinking about our kids getting older. The trajectory is somewhat different and therefore unknown to many of us who are yet to walk this path.
However, there are a few things that can help you prepare for this time, so you can enjoy and celebrate this beautiful milestone together with your child, with as much preparedness as you can possibly have.
Our friends at Association for Children with a Disability (ACD) have put together the following tips to help you through this part of your teen’s development.
WHEN TEENS TURN 14
A few things to keep in mind is when your child turns 14, the services and supports you use can change.
• Medicare: Once a child turns 14, families are no longer able to access a child’s Medicare claims history. You will need to help your child set up a MyGov account so they can access their claims history and their immunisation record.
• They can also open their own bank account.
WHEN TEENS TURN 15
At 15, your child can apply for their own Medicare card. They can also apply for a Tax File Number
WHEN TEENS TURN 16
Once your child turns 16, your Centrelink payments may change and there maybe new options for your child. You will need to look at the eligibility criteria to see what suits your child and family circumstances. The application process is quite involved, so allow plenty of time.
WHAT DO I NEED TO PREPARE?
You will need to provide copies of supporting documents such as your child’s birth certificate, Medicare card, school reports, medical reports, bank statements, tax file numbers and set up a bank account in your child’s name. Keep a copy of all completed forms and documents.
You may need to become a nominee so you can continue to assist your teen with dealing with Centrelink.
WHAT PAYMENTS MIGHT MY CHILD BE ELIGIBLE FOR?
1. Disability Support Pension (DSP)
A payment that assists people with a permanent physical, intellectual or psychiatric condition that stops them from working.
Resources to help you and your child understand and apply for the DSP:
• DSP & Me: Your Guide to the Disability Support Pension.
2. Pensioner Education Supplement
A payment that assists with the costs of full or part-time study.
3. Education Entry Payment
A payment that assists with the costs of returning to study.
4. Ex Carer Allowance (child) Health Care Card
Assists full-time students with a disability and severe medical condition to access cheaper medicines and some other concessions. The card can be claimed by students in receipt of a Carer Allowance Health Care Card prior to their 16th birthday.
5. Mobility Allowance for people who are not eligible for the NDIS This is an income support payment for people with disability aged 16 or over who cannot use public transport without substantial assistance and are required to travel to and from their home for work, study, training or job search.
Your child cannot receive Mobility Allowance if they have an NDIS Plan.
DO MY OWN PAYMENTS CHANGE ONCE MY CHILD TURNS 16?
Your payments, such as the Carer Payment and Carer Allowance, change when your child turns 16. Centrelink will contact you, and you need to apply for a transfer to keep receiving the payment.
Transfer Carer Payment or Carer Allowance from child to adult
When a child in your care is turning 16, you can apply to transfer your Carer Payment or Carer Allowance from a child to an adult. Do this to keep getting paid.