Summary

Tina is the kinship carer of her granddaughter. She had been caring for her granddaughter for about 18 months. She was not receiving a care allowance because the department was yet to assess her as 'a carer'.

We raised this with the department. They did the assessment and started providing Tina with an allowance. They later agreed to back-pay her about $15,000.

What was the case?

Tina is the kinship carer of her granddaughter Amanda. She asked to be Amanda’s carer when the Department of Health and Human Services was going to place Amanda in foster care.

The department had become involved in Amanda’s care after receiving a report from Victoria Police. The police were concerned about Amanda's mother's ability to care for her.

Tina said the department was happy for Amanda to stay with her as they were confident the child was being cared for.

About 18 months after Amanda came into her care, Tina contacted us to say she was not receiving a care allowance.

Our enquiries

We asked the department why Tina was not receiving an allowance.

They said they should have conducted assessments at the start of the care. They said they should have considered Tina's eligibility for a carer allowance at that time.

Outcome

The department undertook an assessment and deemed Tina a suitable carer. They began making care allowance payments to her.

We asked whether Tina could receive a back-payment. They said this wasn't possible. We met with the department and they reconsidered their decision. They provided Tina with a back-payment of about $15,400 to cover the time she had been caring for Amanda.

Kinship Care DHHS