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New report highlights the long-term impacts of caring on carer finances

Thu, 21 Apr

A new report from Evaluate, Caring Costs Us: The economic impact on lifetime income and retirement savings of informal carers was released today. Commissioned by Carers Australia and the National Carer Network including Carers NSW, the report explores the opportunity costs lost to carers.

The report found that Australian carers on average forego $392,500 in lost wages by age 67 and miss out on a further $175,000 in superannuation. Other key findings include:

  • Every year you are a primary carer, on average you lose:
  • By the age of 67, the 10% primary carers providing the most significant hours of care will lose:
  • Income support through Carer Payment is less than 30% of the average weekly earnings

The findings in relation to women who care for a child with disability or chronic illness were also significant. Approximately 80.8% of these primary carers aged 25-34 and 84.4% of primary carers aged 35-44 are women.1

  • The younger a person becomes a primary carer the greater the impact caring will have on both their superannuation balance at age 67, and their lifetime earnings to age 67.
  • On average, a person who becomes a primary carer at the age of 35, and who then remains a primary carer for the same number of years as a person who becomes a primary carer at age 45, will have a superannuation balance at age 67 that is $124,400 lower than the other primary carer.
  • While a person at 45 is likely to forego more immediate income than a person at 35, the more significant factor is the loss of early superannuation, which has potential for a more significant impact at retirement.

Evaluate has proposed two potential policy options to address the significant opportunity costs lost to carers:

  • Government pays Superannuation Guarantee Contribution on the Carer Payment ($700m pa/addition $66,000 super at retirement)
  • Increase in the Carer Allowance:
    • 150% increase for those who are in recipient of the Carer Allowance but not the Carer Payment,
      ($1.9b pa/offset 9.6% of the loss in lifetime income to age 67)
    • 475% increase for those who are in receipt of both the Carer Payment and the Carer Allowance
      ($5.6b pa/offset 31.0% of the loss in lifetime income to age 67)

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1 Australian Bureau of Statistics (2019), Survey of Ageing, Disability and Carers 2018, TableBuilder Dataset, available online at: