Hey, there’s all these breakdowns of the budget winners and losers and hype and hyperbole, but what does the Labor May 2023 budget mean for me – Fiona, a 40 year old, neurodivergent, partnered DSP recipient without kids of her own but plenty of them in her life whose lives wants to be as good as possible? Specific I know, but hey, it gives me a reference to do this breakdown. Hat-tip this this Guardian breakdown.
Rent assistance: Commonwealth rent assistance will be going up from September 20 (yes, none of the increased welfare payments or changes to eligibility come in until September, it’s going to be a long winter). At the proposed 15%, I will be receiving $170.20 a fortnight in rent assistance to service the $820 fortnight rent that I share with my partner. He is not edible for rent assistance as a low income earner but I get the max amount for both of us.
Disability Support Pension: there was no raise to DSP, carers or Aged Pensions in the budget. I do not work but even if I did get some income from freelance work or online shennanigans, the earning cap before payments start to reduce hasn’t been increased for us on DSP, even though it was listed for Aged Pensioners.
PBS Medicines: The cost of pensioners meds was increased with inflation on Jan 1, raising from $6.70 to $7.20 a script, in amounts Labor’s boasts about cheaper medicines. I’m hoping to benefit from twice as many meds being able to be dispensed at once but I’m not certain it will apply to all my meds due to my previous misuse of some, we’ll see if that does halve my costs as promised.
Medicare: My GP hasn’t bulk billed concession card holders for years. They currently (as in I went Monday) charge $69 upfront for concession and pension card holders and children, and $89 for full fare, with he rebate at $39.75 usually coming back into my account that night. the proposed increase to the bulk billing incentive would mean that GPs would receive an incentive to bulk bill of $20.65 in the city up from $6.85. This is on top of the $40 scheduled fee. So around $61. Hopefully my GP will see it possible to go back to bulk billing pensioners. The urgent care clinics may come in handy.
Psychology: There was nothing announced about any increases in the amount of psychology sessions available through Medicare. It’s currently up to ten a calendar year, which is not enough to get anywhere, and I’d be paying over $200 up front a session if I did engage again. So, since I’m just ticking along I won’t for now.
NDIS: I don’t access the NDIS for myself. It doesn’t seem likely I’d get much support even if I did get into it somehow. I don’t have to current reports and I’d probably have to go through getting a formal diagnosis of Autism, which isn’t worth it from a financial or stress viewpoint if I’m happily ticking along. I’d probably not get it for my “treated and stabilised” BPD which got me DSP either. I’m rather concerned about the talks abut cuts and restraint to funding for my niblings who all have diagnoses and I’m trying to focus on helping them and my sister get the most out of their plans. My niece doesn’t have NDIS, and it’s a matter of seeing that 10 Medicare rebated psych sessions a year probably isn’t enough support going into her teens, but wondering what ASD 1 will get you in an era of restraint and cuts.
Power Bills: I should be getting the full rebates on my electricity bills here in NSW when they come through thankfully. I wish there was more incentives for landlords to install solar, insulation and other energy efficiency stuff in our cold rentals. I’ll also investigate and see if my partner is eligible for any of the discounted appliances for his small business. Can he get a more efficient buffer or pressure washer?
How about you? Were you a “budget winner”?