Placeholder Content Image

People with dementia aren’t currently eligible for voluntary assisted dying. Should they be?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ben-white-15387">Ben White</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/casey-haining-1486290">Casey Haining</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lindy-willmott-15386">Lindy Willmott</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachel-feeney-140352">Rachel Feeney</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>Dementia is the <a href="https://www.dementia.org.au/about-dementia">second leading cause of death</a> for Australians aged over 65. More than 421,000 Australians <a href="https://www.dementia.org.au/about-dementia">currently live with dementia</a> and this figure is expected to almost double in the next 30 years.</p> <p>There is ongoing public <a href="https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2024/220/9/should-voluntary-assisted-dying-victoria-be-extended-encompass-people-dementia">discussion</a> about whether dementia should be a qualifying illness under Australian voluntary assisted dying laws. Voluntary assisted dying is <a href="https://www.unswlawjournal.unsw.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/Issue-464-10-Waller-et-al.pdf">now lawful in all six states</a>, but is not available for a person living with dementia.</p> <p>The Australian Capital Territory has <a href="https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/8631104/marisa-paterson-to-consult-on-voluntary-assisted-dying-amendments/?cs=14329">begun debating</a> its voluntary assisted dying bill in parliament but the government has <a href="https://www.legislation.act.gov.au/DownloadFile/es/db_68610/current/PDF/db_68610.PDF">ruled out</a> access for dementia. Its view is that a person should retain decision-making capacity throughout the process. But the bill includes a requirement to <a href="https://www.legislation.act.gov.au/b/db_68609/">revisit the issue</a> in three years.</p> <p>The Northern Territory is also considering reform and <a href="https://www.theaustralian.com.au/subscribe/news/1/?sourceCode=TAWEB_WRE170_a_GGL&amp;dest=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theaustralian.com.au%2Fnation%2Fpolitics%2Fconcerning-territory-nt-surveys-public-support-on-euthanasia-for-mentally-ill%2Fnews-story%2F4e45111bb293af4cf32ac3c6df058869&amp;memtype=anonymous&amp;mode=premium&amp;v21=GROUPA-Segment-2-NOSCORE&amp;V21spcbehaviour=append">has invited views</a> on access to voluntary assisted dying for dementia.</p> <p>Several public figures have also entered the debate. Most recently, former Australian Chief Scientist, Ian Chubb, <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/listen/programs/melbourne-drive/voluntary-assisted-dying-dementia-victoria/103467864">called for the law to be widened</a> to allow access.</p> <p>Others <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/voluntary-assisted-dying-should-not-be-available-to-dementia-patients-20230607-p5deqo.html">argue</a> permitting voluntary assisted dying for dementia would present unacceptable risks to this vulnerable group.</p> <h2>Australian laws exclude access for dementia</h2> <p>Current Australian voluntary assisted dying laws <a href="https://www.unswlawjournal.unsw.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/Issue-464-10-Waller-et-al.pdf">exclude access</a> for people who seek to qualify because they have dementia.</p> <p>In New South Wales, the <a href="https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-2022-017">law specifically states</a> this.</p> <p>In the other states, this occurs through a <a href="https://www.unswlawjournal.unsw.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Issue-451-White-et-al.pdf">combination of the eligibility criteria</a>: a person whose dementia is so advanced that they are likely to die within the 12 month timeframe would be highly unlikely to retain the necessary decision-making capacity to request voluntary assisted dying.</p> <p>This does not mean people who have dementia cannot access voluntary assisted dying if they also have a terminal illness. For example, a person who retains decision-making capacity in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease with terminal cancer may access voluntary assisted dying.</p> <h2>What happens internationally?</h2> <p>Voluntary assisted dying laws in some other countries allow access for people living with dementia.</p> <p>One mechanism, used in the Netherlands, is through <a href="https://agsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jgs.16692">advance directives or advance requests</a>. This means a person can specify in advance the conditions under which they would want to have voluntary assisted dying when they no longer have decision-making capacity. This approach depends on the person’s family identifying when those conditions have been satisfied, generally in consultation with the person’s doctor.</p> <p>Another approach to accessing voluntary assisted dying is to allow a person with dementia to choose to access it while they still have capacity. This involves regularly assessing capacity so that just before the person is predicted to lose the ability to make a decision about voluntary assisted dying, they can seek assistance to die. In Canada, this has been referred to as the “<a href="https://www.unswlawjournal.unsw.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Issue-451-White-et-al.pdf">ten minutes to midnight</a>” approach.</p> <h2>But these approaches have challenges</h2> <p>International experience reveals these approaches have limitations. For advance directives, it can be difficult to specify the conditions for activating the advance directive accurately. It also requires a family member to initiate this with the doctor. Evidence also shows doctors are <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1472-6939-16-7">reluctant</a> to act on advance directives.</p> <p>Particularly challenging are <a href="https://bmcmedethics.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12910-019-0401-y">scenarios</a> where a person with dementia who requested voluntary assisted dying in an advance directive later appears happy and content, or no longer expresses a desire to access voluntary assisted dying.</p> <p>Allowing access for people with dementia who retain decision-making capacity also has practical problems. Despite regular assessments, a person may lose capacity in between them, meaning they miss the window before midnight to choose voluntary assisted dying. These capacity assessments can also be very complex.</p> <p>Also, under this approach, a person is required to make such a decision at an early stage in their illness and may lose years of otherwise enjoyable life.</p> <p>Some also argue that regardless of the approach taken, allowing access to voluntary assisted dying would involve unacceptable risks to a vulnerable group.</p> <h2>More thought is needed before changing our laws</h2> <p>There is <a href="https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/Documents/TableOffice/TabledPapers/2020/5620T490.pdf">public demand</a> to allow access to voluntary assisted dying for dementia in Australia. The mandatory reviews of voluntary assisted dying legislation <a href="https://www.publish.csiro.au/ah/pdf/AH23005">present an opportunity</a> to consider such reform. These reviews generally happen after three to five years, and in some states they will occur regularly.</p> <p>The scope of these reviews can vary and sometimes governments may not wish to consider changes to the legislation. But the Queensland review “<a href="https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/pdf/asmade/act-2021-017">must include a review of the eligibility criteria</a>”. And the ACT bill requires the review to <a href="https://www.legislation.act.gov.au/b/db_68609/">consider</a> “advanced care planning”.</p> <p>Both reviews would require consideration of who is able to access voluntary assisted dying, which opens the door for people living with dementia. This is particularly so for the ACT review, as advance care planning means allowing people to request voluntary assisted dying in the future when they have lost capacity.</p> <p>This is a complex issue, and more thinking is needed about whether this public desire for voluntary assisted dying for dementia should be implemented. And, if so, how the practice could occur safely, and in a way that is acceptable to the health professionals who will be asked to provide it.</p> <p>This will require a careful review of existing international models and their practical implementation as well as what would be feasible and appropriate in Australia.</p> <p>Any future law reform should be <a href="https://www.publish.csiro.au/AH/AH19201">evidence-based</a> and draw on the views of people living with dementia, their family caregivers, and the health professionals who would be relied on to support these decisions.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/224075/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ben-white-15387"><em>Ben White</em></a><em>, Professor of End-of-Life Law and Regulation, Australian Centre for Health Law Research, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/casey-haining-1486290">Casey Haining</a>, Research Fellow, Australian Centre for Health Law Research, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lindy-willmott-15386">Lindy Willmott</a>, Professor of Law, Australian Centre for Health Law Research, Queensland University of Technology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachel-feeney-140352">Rachel Feeney</a>, Postdoctoral research fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/people-with-dementia-arent-currently-eligible-for-voluntary-assisted-dying-should-they-be-224075">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Caring

Placeholder Content Image

Millions of eligible Aussies about to receive financial boost

<p>Starting this Wednesday, millions of Australians relying on Centrelink benefits will see a welcome increase in their payments. With indexation kicking in, fortnightly boosts ranging from $14 to $30 will be allocated to eligible recipients, depending on their specific circumstances and the type of payment they receive.</p> <p>This adjustment will not only benefit current beneficiaries but also extend support to more individuals, with an additional 77,000 parents now qualifying for higher payment rates. The eligibility criteria for certain payments have been expanded, particularly for parents whose youngest child is under 14, a significant extension from the previous threshold of under eight.</p> <p>Income and assets limits tied to these payments will also experience an uptick in line with the indexation process, offering further relief to recipients. But how exactly will these increments manifest across different categories of payments?</p> <p>For single parents, the fortnightly payment will see a boost of $17.50, while partnered parents will witness an increase of $12.30 individually. Moreover, the income free area will rise to $1,345 for each person, an enhancement of $20 per fortnight.</p> <p>Jobseekers with children or those aged over 55 will receive an additional $14.40 fortnightly. Single JobSeeker recipients without children and individuals aged over 22 on ABSTUDY will enjoy a $13.50 increase per fortnight, with couples receiving an extra $12.30 each.</p> <p>Rent assistance, however, will see relatively modest increments, ranging from $2.27 to $3.40, depending on the recipient's family situation.</p> <p>For those on the age pension, disability support pension, and carer payment, the increase is more substantial, with singles receiving an extra $19.60 and couples combined receiving $29.40 each fortnight. This brings the maximum rate of the pension to $1116.30 for singles and $1682.80 for couples, including pension and energy supplements.</p> <p>Amanda Rishworth, the Social Services Minister, explains that indexation plays a crucial role in ensuring that welfare recipients can cope with inflation and the rising cost of living – and that addressing these pressures remains a top priority for the government.</p> <p>This increase in Centrelink payments comes at a critical time when many Australians are grappling with economic uncertainty due to various factors, including the ongoing pandemic. While these adjustments may seem modest to some, they can make a significant difference for those relying on welfare support to make ends meet.</p> <p>It's essential for eligible individuals to stay informed about these changes and ensure they receive the full benefits they're entitled to. For those who may be unsure about their eligibility or how to navigate the system, seeking assistance from Centrelink or relevant support services can provide valuable guidance.</p> <p>As the cost of living continues to evolve, initiatives like indexation serve as vital mechanisms for maintaining the welfare safety net and supporting vulnerable members of society. By keeping pace with economic realities, these adjustments strive to provide meaningful relief to those who need it most, contributing to a more equitable and inclusive society for all Australians.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty </em></p>

Money & Banking

Placeholder Content Image

COVID wave: what’s the latest on antiviral drugs, and who is eligible in Australia?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jessica-pace-1401278">Jessica Pace</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nial-wheate-96839">Nial Wheate</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Australia is experiencing a <a href="https://theconversation.com/were-in-a-new-covid-wave-what-can-we-expect-this-time-216820">fresh wave of COVID</a>, seeing increasing cases, more hospitalisations and a greater number of prescriptions for COVID antivirals dispensed over recent months.</p> <p>In the early days of the pandemic, the only medicines available were those that treated the symptoms of the virus. These included steroids and analgesics such as paracetamol and ibuprofen to treat pain and fever.</p> <p>We now have two drugs called <a href="https://www.health.wa.gov.au/%7E/media/Corp/Documents/Health-for/Infectious-disease/COVID19/Treatment/COVID19-PAXLOVID-Patient-information.pdf">Paxlovid</a> and <a href="https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/abefa4a4-ecaa-4c26-8713-d80c90388545/COVID-19+Treatment+Fact+Sheet+-+Molnupiravir+-+Prescribers+20220428.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&amp;CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE-abefa4a4-ecaa-4c26-8713-d80c90388545-oIRWpvB">Lagevrio</a> that treat the virus itself.</p> <p>But are these drugs effective against current variants? And who is eligible to receive them? Here’s what to know about COVID antivirals as we navigate this <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/a-slightly-more-dangerous-place-australia-is-in-its-eighth-covid-wave-20231030-p5eg5k.html">eighth COVID wave</a>.</p> <h2>What antivirals are available?</h2> <p><a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/resources/artg/389801">Paxlovid</a> is a combination of two different drug molecules, nirmatrelvir and ritonavir. The nirmatrelvir works by blocking an enzyme called a protease that the virus needs to replicate. The ritonavir is included in the medicine to protect the nirmatrelvir, stopping the body from breaking it down.</p> <p>Molnupiravir, marketed as <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/resources/artg/372650">Lagevrio</a>, works by forcing errors into the RNA of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID) as it replicates. As these errors build up, the virus becomes less effective.</p> <p>This year in Australia, the <a href="https://theconversation.com/were-in-a-new-covid-wave-what-can-we-expect-this-time-216820">XBB COVID strains</a> have dominated, and acquired a couple of key mutations. When COVID mutates into new variants, it doesn’t affect the ability of either Paxlovid or Lagevrio to work because the parts of the virus that change from the mutations aren’t those targeted by these two drugs.</p> <p>This is different to the <a href="https://app.magicapp.org/#/guideline/L4Q5An/section/E8kMVn">monoclonal antibody-based medicines</a> that were developed against specific strains of the virus. These drugs are not thought to be effective for any variant of the virus <a href="https://www.who.int/activities/tracking-SARS-CoV-2-variants">from omicron XBB.1.5 onwards</a>, which includes the current wave. This is because these drugs recognise certain proteins expressed on the surface of SARS-CoV-2, which have changed over time.</p> <h2>What does the evidence say?</h2> <p>As Lagevrio and Paxlovid are relatively new medicines, we’re still learning how well they work and which patients should use them.</p> <p>The latest <a href="https://app.magicapp.org/#/guideline/L4Q5An/section/L0OPkj">evidence</a> suggests Paxlovid decreases the risk of hospitalisation if taken early by those at <a href="https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/testing-managing/antivirals">highest risk of severe disease</a>.</p> <p>Results from <a href="https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa2116044">a previous trial</a> suggested Lagevrio might reduce COVID deaths. But a more recent, <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4237902">larger trial</a> indicated Lagevrio doesn’t significantly reduce hospitalisations or deaths from the virus.</p> <p>However, few people at highest risk from COVID were included in this trial. So it could offer some benefit for patients in this group.</p> <p>In Australia, Lagevrio is not routinely <a href="https://app.magicapp.org/#/guideline/L4Q5An/section/L0OPkj">recommended</a> and Paxlovid is preferred. However, not all patients can take Paxlovid. For example, people with medical conditions such as <a href="https://www.paxlovidhcp.com/moderate-renal-impairment">severe kidney or liver impairment</a> shouldn’t take it because these issues can affect how well the body metabolises the medication, which increases the risk of side effects.</p> <p>Paxlovid also can’t be taken alongside some <a href="https://www.cec.health.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/702821/Information-for-patients-family-and-carers-nirmatrelvir-and-ritonavir.PDF">other medications</a> such as those for certain heart conditions, mental health conditions and cancers. For high-risk patients in these cases, Lagevrio can be considered.</p> <p>Some people who take COVID antivirals will experience side effects. Mostly these are not serious and will go away with time.</p> <p>Both <a href="https://www.cec.health.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/702821/Information-for-patients-family-and-carers-nirmatrelvir-and-ritonavir.PDF">Paxlovid</a> and <a href="https://www.cec.health.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/702818/Information-for-patients-family-and-carers-molnupiravir.PDF">Lagevrio</a> can cause diarrhoea, nausea and dizziness. Paxlovid can also cause side effects including muscle aches and weakness, changes in taste, loss of appetite and abdominal pain. If you experience any of these, you should contact your doctor.</p> <p>More serious side effects of both medicines are allergic reactions, such as shortness of breath, swelling of the face, lips or tongue and a severe rash, itching or hives. If you experience any of these, call 000 immediately or go straight to the nearest emergency department.</p> <h2>Be prepared</h2> <p>Most people will be able to manage COVID safely at home without needing antivirals. However, those at higher risk of severe COVID and therefore <a href="https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/testing-managing/antivirals#:%7E:text=Both%20are%20available%20in%20NSW,Lagevrio%C2%AE%20(molnupiravir)launch.">eligible for antivirals</a> should seek them. This includes people aged 70 or older, people aged 50 or older or Aboriginal people aged 30 or older with one additional risk factor for severe illness, and people 18 or older who are immunocompromised.</p> <p>If you are in any of these groups, it’s important you <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Documents/translated/plan-ahead-covid-flu-english.pdf">plan ahead</a>. Speak to your health-care team now so you know what to do if you get COVID symptoms.</p> <p>If needed, this will ensure you can start treatment as soon as possible. It’s important antivirals are started within <a href="https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/testing-managing/antivirals#:%7E:text=Both%20are%20available%20in%20NSW,Lagevrio%C2%AE%20(molnupiravir)launch.">five days of symptom onset</a>.</p> <p>If you’re a high-risk patient and you test positive, contact your doctor straight away. If you are eligible for antivirals, your doctor will organise a prescription (either an electronic or paper script).</p> <p>These medicines are available under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and subsidised for people with a Medicare card. The cost for each course is the standard <a href="https://www.pbs.gov.au/info/about-the-pbs#:%7E:text=Patient%20co%2Dpayments,you%20have%20a%20concession%20card.">PBS co-payment</a> amount: A$30 for general patients and A$7.30 for people with a concession card.</p> <p>So you can rest and reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others, ask your pharmacy to deliver the medication to your home, or ask someone to collect it for you.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/218423/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jessica-pace-1401278"><em>Jessica Pace</em></a><em>, Associate Lecturer, Sydney Pharmacy School, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nial-wheate-96839">Nial Wheate</a>, Associate Professor of the School of Pharmacy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/covid-wave-whats-the-latest-on-antiviral-drugs-and-who-is-eligible-in-australia-218423">original article</a>.</em></p>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

“A little bit unfair”: Hard-working tradies blast age pension increase

<p dir="ltr">A group of tired tradies have rallied against the “unfair” decision to increase the age of eligibility for the age pension.</p> <p dir="ltr">The tradesmen, all in their 60s, simply said their bodies “can’t handle” working in manual labour until they’re 70, which may be in their future if the eligibility age continues to rise.</p> <p dir="ltr">The age to qualify for the pension was raised from 66 years and six months to 67 on July 1st with the move impacting any Australian born after December 31st, 1956.</p> <p dir="ltr">Experts predict the age could rise even further to 70 by the year 2050 with the news sparking backlash among hardworking Aussies.</p> <p dir="ltr">One man, a concreter in his mid-60s named Steve, said working the manual labour job was already taking a toll on his body and that the new retirement age was “unfair” on those working physically demanding jobs.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Now I'm starting to feel it more in my knees, I've got arthritis in my hands, I've had two back surgeries,” he told <em><a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/a-current-affair/australian-tradies-outraged-over-decision-to-raise-pension-age-to-67/5b5c6dda-c995-44ad-bb29-98c625e9d276" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A Current Affair</a></em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It does seem a little bit unfair that you have to work all your life.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Peter, who cuts down trees in the Gold Coast for a living, compared the raising of the pension age to the harsh realities of his job.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It's just like climbing a tree,” he said. “The injuries are just climbing all the time, it's getting harder, worse, sorer all the time.”</p> <p dir="ltr">He described what was happening as “very scary”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Unfortunately I thought 65 would be a nice time to retire and get on a pension but now we are talking 67,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Is it going to go up to 68, 69, 70?”</p> <p dir="ltr">Macquarie University Professor Hanlin Shang believes the pension age will need to rise to 70 or government spending will spiral out of control.</p> <p dir="ltr">He and other researchers estimate that the retirement age will rise to 68 by 2030, 69 in 2036 and 70 by 2050.</p> <p dir="ltr">“As Australians live longer than before, it presents a challenge to the government to fund retirees through a pension scheme,” Professor Shang said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite these challenges, Peter said politicians don't understand the burden that working physical jobs has on older bodies.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It would be nice to be a politician sitting on a nice comfortable chair all day in an air conditioned room or office,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“They need to come out and see what it's like to do some physical work. That would make them change their mind in trying to stretch this pension out to 67, 68, 69, 70.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: A Current Affair</em></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Workers eligible for $10,000 salary bump in federal budget revealed

<p>Treasure Jim Chalmers has revealed the frontline workers who will receive a hefty pay rise in the federal budget to help with the cost of living pressures and improve equal pay for women.</p> <p>Some frontline workers will see a pay rise of $10,000 a year under the historic changes.</p> <p>It is part of the biggest pay rise to date for aged care workers that will distribute pay rises to 250,000 people working on the frontline to care for older Australians.</p> <p>Those eligible include nurses who could receive an extra $200 a week, enrolled nurses, assistants in nursing, personal care workers, head chefs and cooks, recreational activities officers (lifestyle workers) and home care workers.</p> <p>Under the changes, the following will secure a significant pay rise for working in aged care.</p> <ul> <li>A registered nurse on a level 2.3 aware wage will receive an additional $196.08 a week (more than $10,000 a year)</li> <li>An enrolled nurse on a level 2 award age will receive an additional $145.54 a week (more than $7500 a year)</li> <li>An assistant in nursing on a level 3 award wage will receive an additional $136.68 a week (more than $7100 a year)</li> <li>A personal care worker on a level 4 (aged care award) or a home care worker on a level 3.1 (SCHADS award) will receive an additional $141.10 a week (more than $7300 a year)</li> <li>A recreational activity officer on a level 3 (aged care award) will receive an additional $139.54 a week (more than $7200 a year)</li> <li>A head chef/cook on a level 4 (aged care award) will receive an additional $141.12 a week (more than $7300 a year)</li> <li> A staff member with a Certificate III qualification will see a change from $940 per week to $1,082</li> </ul> <p>Treasurer Jim Chalmers said it was hoped the investment would help the industry retain staff and lure new employees to the sector.</p> <p>“Every worker deserves a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work and that’s what this will deliver for thousands in aged care across the country,’’ he said.</p> <p>“For too long, those working in aged care have been asked to work harder for longer without enough reward but with this Budget, that changes.</p> <p>“This investment recognises the incredible contribution that aged care workers make to our economy and community and will help to create a bigger incentive for young Australians looking for a rewarding career to pick aged care in the future.”</p> <p>Anika Wells, Minister for Aged Care, said the increase in pay reflected that aged care was physically and emotionally demanding work.</p> <p>The 15 per cent pay rise means that a staff member with a Certificate III qualification moves from earning only $940 per week to $1,082.</p> <p>“This record $11.3 billion investment is a historic and deserved pay rise for a workforce undervalued for far too long,’’ she said.</p> <p>“Fair wages play a major role in attracting and retaining workers to provide around the clock care for some of Australia’s most vulnerable people.</p> <p>Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler said the pay rise would make history.</p> <p>The wage increase is designed to help women and families struggling with the cost of living crisis and ensure that quality aged care workers are less inclined to consider leaving the sector over pay concerns.</p> <p>“Our commitment is long overdue recognition of the skilled work our aged care workers deliver day in, day out,’’ he said.</p> <p>Other workers in the budget are expected to include older Australians who are seeking employment and they will receive pay rises if they are over 60 but not yet eligible for the aged pension.</p> <p>The Albanese Government are also expected to boost payments for single parents after former Prime Minister Julia Gillard introduced changes to force parents - particularly women - to return to work earlier.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p>

Money & Banking

Placeholder Content Image

Millions of Aussies to be eligible for half-price medicines

<p>Massive changes are underway for millions of Aussies as the federal government is moving to cut the cost of prescription medicine.</p> <p>Health minister Mark Butler announced that patients will be able to double the number of scripts they can receive, from one month’s supply to two months.</p> <p>From September 1, general patients will be able to save up to $180 a year if their medicine can be prescribed for 2 months, concession card holders will save up to $43.80 per year on medicine.</p> <p>Under the reform, which is to be included in May’s budget, 320 different medicines treating chronic conditions such as cholesterol, heart disease and hypertension will be dispensed in 60-day doses rather than the current 30.</p> <p>They will still be subject to the current price caps, so instead of paying a maximum of $30 for a 30-day medicine supply, those affected will pay $40 at most for a 60-day supply.</p> <p>One of the ideas behind it is that Aussies won’t have to visit a doctor or pharmacist as often.</p> <p>The federal government said the change will bring Australia into line with other countries, including New Zealand and the UK, where patients already have access to multiple month medicines on a single prescription.</p> <p>"Every year, nearly a million Australians are forced to delay or go without a medicine that their doctor has told them is necessary for their health.</p> <p>"This cheaper medicines policy is safe, good for Australians' hip pockets and most importantly good for their health.”</p> <p>The overhaul of prescriptions has long been supported by the Australian Medical Association and was recommended by the indecent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee in 2018.</p> <p>However, pharmacists have opposed the reform, with Pharmacy Guild saying the change would cost community chemists $3.5billion.</p> <p>Pharmacy Guild of Australia president Trent Twomey said the change does little to acknowledge a massive shortage in medications.</p> <p>“I'm all for cost-of-living relief and a cost-of-living measure but this, unfortunately, is just smoke and mirrors,' he told ABC TV.</p> <p>“If you don't have the medicine in stock, how do you give double nothing? Double nothing is still nothing.”</p> <p>Instead, the federal government needed to boost local manufacturing of pharmaceuticals to fix the medicine shortage, Twomey said.</p> <p>Dr Nick Coatsworth also agreed that the new policy could lead to major medication shortages for patients across Australia.</p> <p>“The medication shortage issue is not made up.</p> <p>“This policy could lead to Australians turning up to pharmacies and being turned away for medications they've been on for five-to-10 years,” he told Today.</p> <p>“I'm actually worried about this, it looks good at face value but I knew a lot about supply chains in Covid and Australians probably aren't quite aware of how ropey those supply chains are.</p> <p>“If we start giving people 60 days of medications instead of 30, people will miss out.”</p> <p>Opposition leader Peter Dutton has supported the Pharmacy Guild’s stance in an online video.</p> <p>"Many, particularly older Australians, but families as well, really rely on the relationship with their local pharmacist," he said.</p> <p>"The government's proposal at the moment is going to make it harder for pharmacists to do that work and have that relationship with their patients.”</p> <p>Nationals leader David Littleproud said regional, remote and rural Australians risked being impacted by the changes.</p> <p>"Thousands of Australians who need medications could suffer as a consequence, because doubling scripts for some might mean others miss out," he said.</p> <p>However, the reform has been supported by the Australian Medical Association, a doctor’s body, with vice president Danielle McMullen welcoming the change.</p> <p>“At the time we're talking about so many cost-of-living pressures, this will really ease the burden on patients across Australia,” she told Sunrise.</p> <p>“There are some situations of shortages in medicines at the moment but there will be a staged approach to this announcement to ease the burden on the shortages.”</p> <p>Health Minister Mark Butler said the changes will be launched in three states, each introducing around 100 medications.</p> <p>The first stage will commence on September 1 2023, with the second on March 1 2024, and the final on September 1 2024.</p> <p>Butler said the new prescriptions will reduce how often those living in rural areas need to travel for treatment and shed light on the issue of Aussies delaying or going without medicines they need due to high costs.</p> <p>“Every year, nearly a million Australians are forced to delay or go without a medicine that their doctor has told them is necessary for their health,” he said.</p> <p>“This cheaper medicines policy is safe, good for Australians' hip pockets and most importantly good for their health.”</p> <p>Butler rejected the idea that the scheme will cause widespread shortages, noting only seven medications on the list are currently scarce.</p> <p>From September 1, 60-day scripts will be available for the six million people prescribed the eligible medications.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p>

Money & Banking

Placeholder Content Image

"Australia's most eligible bachelor": Internet swoons over PM's son

<p>On Saturday night, Anthony Albanese addressed the nation as the Labor party claimed their victory in the federal election. </p> <p>As the 31st Prime Minister stood on the stage, someone else stole the spotlight. </p> <p>Albo's son Nathan has sent the internet into a frenzy, as many commented on the 21-year-old's good looks. </p> <p>Anthony Albanese introduced his son to the crowd, while also acknowledging Nathan's mother, his ex-wife and former NSW Labor MP Carmel Tebbutt who was in attendance. </p> <p>"Nathan Albanese is a very good looking young man. And Mum Carmel is in the crowd and acknowledged! How lovely," a woman tweeted.</p> <p>"Nathan Albanese - Australia's most eligible bachelor," another said.</p> <p>One person said, "We will protect Nathan Albanese at all costs," while another honestly claimed, "Nathan Albanese can get it."</p> <p>Mr Albanese described Nathan as his 'good luck charm' earlier in the campaign, and paid tribute to his son and his mother in his victory speech.</p> <p>"To my proudest achievement, my son, Nathan. Thank you, mate, for your love and support," the new PM said.</p> <p>"Your mother, who's here tonight, Carmel, we are both so proud of the caring, wonderful, smart young man you have become."</p> <p>Following the victory speech, one man tweeted, 'Good old Nathan Albanese totally has the look of 'holy f**k my dad is the Prime Minister."</p> <p>Another praised the new PM, saying, "More than a tear. Albo also thanked Carmel Tebbut (Nathan's mother), his son Nathan and his partner Jodie Haydon. Says a lot about the man Albanese is."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Family & Pets

Placeholder Content Image

Cash handout: Thousands of Aussies urged to check eligibility for $500 boost

<p>Tens of thousands of Australians may not be aware they are eligible for an extra $500 from the federal government.<br /><br /><span>The new plan offers handouts for aged and disability pensioners, veterans, people on carer payments and family tax benefit recipients as part of the 2020-21 budget.</span><br /><br /><span>Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) and pensioner concession cardholders will also be eligible for the cash.</span><br /><br /><span>Recipients will receive a $250 cash boost in December and another $250 in March 2021.</span><br /><br /><span>National Seniors Australia has urged self-funded retirees to check their eligibility too.</span><br /><br /><span>The group believe thousands of older Australians who are self-funded retirees may go without the cash boost, as they may be under the impression they don’t qualify for the CSHC.</span><br /><br /><span>Changes to deeming rates used as part of the CSHC income test has improved eligibility for the card.</span><br /><br /><span>This means there is also improved eligibility for budget stimulus payments.</span><br /><br /><span>To qualify for the CSHC, an individual must have reached the pension age, meet an income test, not be receiving any payments from Veterans Affairs and be an Australian resident living in the country.</span><br /><br /><span>To meet the income test, individuals or couples must earn below the following thresholds:</span></p> <ul> <li><span><span>$55,808 for singles</span></span></li> <li><span><span>$89,290 for couples</span></span></li> <li><span><span>$111,616 for couples who are separated by illness, respite care or prison.</span></span><span><span></span></span></li> </ul> <p><span><span>“Self-funded retirees who are among the hardest hit by the COVID Financial Crisis (CFC) could really do with some extra cash in their pockets going into Christmas,” National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said.</span><br /><br /><span>Australians have until November 27 to be eligible and receive the first $250 payment.</span><br /><br /><span>Those eligible are strongly advised to make sure their details are up to date on MyGov before the payments start flowing through.</span></span></p>

Money & Banking

Placeholder Content Image

JobKeeper extended to Christmas but eligibility has tightened

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>The JobKeeper wage subsidy is going to be extended until Christmas at a reduced rate of over $1000-a-fortnight.</p> <p>There will be a tighter eligibility test for companies trying to get the wage subsidy.</p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/australian-economy/coronavirus-australia-jobkeeper-to-be-extended-until-christmas-eligibility-tightened/news-story/2d8836820665488a1daebb74e4dea28f" target="_blank" class="_e75a791d-denali-editor-page-rtflink"><em>News.com.au</em></a><em> </em>has confirmed that JobKeeper will reduce the current wage subsidy from $1,500 a fortnight but extend the support to coronavirus affected businesses until the end of the year.</p> <p>The new measures will be outlined on Thursday, but casuals will no longer be able to secure a flat-rate payment regardless of whether they are full-time or part-time in the new JobKeeper phase.</p> <p>Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has confirmed that the new turnover test will apply when the current scheme will end on September 27th to ensure that companies that have bounced back from COVID-19 are removed from the program.</p> <p>“As we have highlighted there will be another phase of income support. It will stick to the principles that have guided us well. It will be targeted, it will be proportionate, it will be scalable, and it will be using existing systems,‘’ he told <a rel="noopener" href="http://news.com.au/" target="_blank" class="_e75a791d-denali-editor-page-rtflink">news.com.au</a>.</p> <p>“The JobKeeper payment is an economic lifeline to millions of Australians and hundreds of thousands of businesses.</p> <p>“Barring the spread of the virus in significant numbers beyond Victoria, we expect to see the other state and territory economies continue their recovery towards a COVIDSafe economy.”</p> <p>The new monthly testing options for JobKeeper could include companies to submit monthly updates on business turnover to the Australian Taxation Office to prove that cash flow is down.</p> <p>Finance Minister Mathias Cormann confirmed the shift to a new turnover test as sensible.</p> <p>“When the JobKeeper program was first announced, and businesses had to demonstrate a drop in turnover of 30 per cent or 50 per cent depending on their level of turnover, once they were in they were in for the entire six month period,” he told Sky News on Sunday morning.</p> <p>“As we get to the end of that six months, towards the end of September, it is going to be important to reassess which businesses still should be receiving this support.</p> <p>“In the first six months, irrespective of what happened to your turnover after you initially qualified, you were in — but as we go into this next period, there is a need to reassess whether that support, you still need it for specific businesses."</p> </div> </div> </div>

Money & Banking

Placeholder Content Image

Coronavirus Supplement: What is it and are you eligible?

<p>COVID-19 is impacting the economy and its people significantly. But the Australian government has announced they will be giving more money to welfare recipients in an effort to soften the disastrous blow.</p> <p>Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also said he is also helping more people access welfare payments by waiving some asset tests and waiting periods.</p> <p>"We will be supercharging our safety net," Mr Morrison said on Sunday.</p> <p>"This is focusing on those who are going to feel the first blows."</p> <p>The Coronavirus Supplement has caused great interest since it was first revealed to the public in Sunday’s press conference.</p> <p>In short, it is an additional payment that is added on top of the income people on welfare already receive.</p> <p>The supplement is $40 a fornight ($275 a week), meaning the JobSeeker Payment will almost double.</p> <p>Those that are eligible for the Supplement include:</p> <ul> <li>JobSeeker Payment (formerly known as the Newstart Allowance)</li> <li>Sickness Allowance</li> <li>Youth Allowance for jobseekers</li> <li>Parenting Payment Partnered</li> <li>Parenting Payment Single</li> <li>Partner Allowance</li> <li>Farm Household Allowance</li> </ul> <p>Those already receiving one of the welfare payments listed above don't actually have to do anything.</p> <p>Services Australia will automatically pay the Coronavirus Supplement to eligible recipients each fortnight.</p> <p>Those who are not currently receiving welfare will need to apply.</p> <p>Payments for the Coronavirus supplement will begin on April 27 and will be available for at least six months.</p> <p>It has been announced small business owners and casual workers will also be eligible for the payment if they find themselves earning less than $1,075 a fortnight.</p> <p>Are small business owners and casual workers eligible?</p> <p>Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Government will go to lengths to ensure the Australian people who have found their business is closed, or that their customers have disappeared, or who have had causal shifts cut may be able to have access to the Coronavirus Supplement.  </p> <p>“We have waived the assets tests and waived the waiting period but there is still the income test so if you earn $1,075 a fortnight you will get that full $550 Coronavirus Supplement,” Mr Frydenberg said.</p> <p>“This is good news for a sole trader who is still in work but has seen the income reduce.</p> <p>“If you are a casual and you still have some hours but your income has fallen below that $1,075 a fortnight you will get the supplement.”</p> <p>It is important to remember the Australian Government has temporarily expanded eligibility for the JobSeeker and Youth Allowance payments, meaning you may be eligible if you're:</p> <ul> <li>A permanent employee who has been stood down or lost your job</li> <li>A sole trader, self-employed, a casual or contract worker whose income has reduced</li> <li>Caring for someone who's affected by coronavirus</li> </ul> <p>Income testing will still apply but if you're earning less than $1,075 a fortnight, Centrelink should approve your claim, meaning you would get the supplement.</p> <p>How do I apply for JobSeeker or Youth Allowance?</p> <p>Those wanting to apply for a Jobseeker or Youth Allowance must do so<span> </span><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://my.gov.au/LoginServices/main/login?execution=e2s1" target="_blank">online through myGov using a Centrelink account</a>, or <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/contact-us/phone-us" target="_blank">contact Services Australia by phone for more details</a>.</p> <p>But the <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-23/mygov-website-down-centrelink-massive-queues-coronavirus/12080558" target="_blank">myGov system is experiencing overwhelming demand, causing the website to crash</a> and creating long queues on both the phone hotline and in-person at service centres.</p> <p>Centrelink issued a statement warning people “it will take a little longer than usual” to get help due to the MyGov website currently crashing as it is experiencing overwhelming demand.</p> <p>“Please consider the health and safety of our customers and staff and do not visit our service centres unless there's a critical need for you to be there,” the statement read.</p> <p>The Government plans to hire an additional 5,000 staff for Services Australia — the agency responsible for Centrelink payments — to help deliver the new measures</p> <p>Centrelink and the Government has also announced the ordinary waiting period has been waived.</p> <p>They also said they will are waiving the liquid asset test waiting period, newly arrived residents waiting period, and seasonal work preclusion period if you are eligible for the Coronavirus Supplement.</p> <p>Income maintenance and compensation preclusion periods will continue to apply.</p> <p>Worth noting for those wanting to know if they can access employer entitlements including annual leave or sick leave - the answer is no. The government is not currently allowing people to receive these entitlements while on Job Seeker or Youth Allowances.</p> <p>You also can't receive the payments if you're accessing income protection insurance.</p> <p>The Prime Minister said in his Sunday press conference that the economic stimulus measures implemented so far were “unprecedented”.</p> <p>They are worth $189 billion and account for around 9.7 per cent of the nation’s GDP in total.</p> <p>However, he went on to say: “This will not be the Treasurer and my last visit to these podiums to make announcements on these measures,” Mr Morrison said.</p> <p>“This is focusing on those who are going to feel the first blows. There will be more packages and more support.”</p>

News

Placeholder Content Image

Meet the world's most eligible royals who are yet to marry

<p>Even though Prince Harry has officially been off the market for a while now, since marrying his forever love Duchess Meghan in May last year, there are still plenty of eligible royals that have not yet tied the knot yet – including Princess Margaret's grandson Arthur Chatto and Princess Diana's niece Lady Kitty Spencer. </p> <p>These eligible royals are still bachelors and bachelorettes and looking for their prince or princess. From the attractive prince who just landed a modelling contract to the newly-single princess looking for love, we reveal the most eligible royal members who haven’t walked down the aisle yet.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery above to see some of the world’s most eligible royals.</p> <p><strong>Prince Nikolai</strong></p> <p>Prince Nikolai of Denmark is the eldest son of Prince Joachim and Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg.</p> <p>He is the nephew of beloved Princess Mary and is the sixth-in-line to the Danish throne.</p> <p>In 2018, the 19-year-old was signed with a modelling agency and has shown his skills by walking the catwalk for Dior and Burberry.</p> <p><strong>Lady Amelia Windsor</strong></p> <p>Lady Amelia Winsor, from the UK, is 23 years old and is a distant cousin to Prince William and Prince Harry. She is the granddaughter of the Queen's cousin who is the Duke of Kent, Prince Edward.</p> <p>The royal is the 37th-in-line to the British throne and on occasion works for Dolce &amp; Gabbana as a model. She was once deemed the “most beautiful royal” by <em>Tatler</em>, a British tabloid, and it’s not hard to see why.</p> <p><strong>Lady Marina-Charlotte Windsor </strong></p> <p>Lady Marina-Charlotte Windsor is 26 years old and is the eldest sister of Lady Amelia. She is not included in the line of succession for the throne as she is Roman Catholic.</p> <p><strong>Prince Abdul Mateen</strong></p> <p>The prince is the fourth son of the Sultan of Brunei and the 27-year-old is certainly one of the world's most eligible bachelors.</p> <p>He is currently doing a master’s degree in international diplomacy at SOAS University of London and has an Instagram account with over 1 million followers.</p> <p><strong>Crown prince Al-Hussein Bin Abdullah II</strong><a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BnIos_yFZZV/"></a></p> <p>The crown prince is the eldest child of King Abdullah II and Queen Rania, and he is the first in line to the Jordanian throne.</p> <p>The 24-year-old prince shares images to his Instagram account which has amassed over 1.8 million followers. In June 2018, he made headlines around the world after posting a picture of himself and Prince William watching the World Cup from his bachelor pad in his palace in Jordan.</p> <p><strong>Viscount Althorp</strong></p> <p>Louis Spencer, who holds the official title Viscount Althorp, is the eldest son and fourth child of Princess Diana's brother Charles Spencer, and his first wife Victoria Lockwood</p> <p>He is the first cousin to Prince William and Prince Harry and is Prince Diana’s nephew.</p> <p>Louis, 24, will inherit the Althorp estate as his oldest sister, Lady Kitty Spencer, is unable to due to British primogeniture law.</p> <p><strong>Lady Kitty Spencer</strong></p> <p>Lady Kitty Spencer, 28, is the named UK ambassador for the luxury jewellery brand Bulgari. She has modelled for a number of fashion magazines and walked down the runway for Dolce &amp; Gabbana.</p> <p>She is the eldest child of Princess Diana's brother Charles Spencer and his first wife, Victoria Lockwood. The royal is regularly seen attending events, including Prince Harry’s wedding to the Duchess Meghan in May 2018.</p> <p><strong>Hamdan bin Mohammed</strong></p> <p>Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the heir to the Dubai throne and 36 years old.</p> <p>The Crown Prince is an intellectual political figure and is known to mingle with his ‘people’ frequently by dining at local restaurants and driving his own car through the streets of Dubai.</p> <p><strong>Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana</strong></p> <p>The 32-year-old princess is the daughter of the current ruler of Thailand, King Vajiralongkorn.</p> <p>Princess Sirivannavari is a fashion designer and attends some of the world's biggest fashion shows regularly.</p> <p>She famously played professional badminton winning gold with her team at the 2005 Southeast Asian Games.</p> <p><strong>Princess Elisabeth</strong></p> <p>Princess Elisabeth of Thurn and Taxis is a member of Germany’s defunct nobility and has been a style editor-at-large for <em>Vogue</em> in the UK since 2012.</p> <p>She usually goes by the nickname TNT.</p> <p><strong>Albert con Thurn und Taxis </strong></p> <p>Albert von Thurn und Taxis is the 12th prince in his family line. Although Germany no longer rules under a monarchy, the noble families continue to use and pass on their titles.</p> <p>His family is worth an estimated US$1.6 billion and is a champion race car driver.</p> <p><strong>Arthur Chatto</strong></p> <p>Arthur Chatto has made headlines for his topless Instagram posts, constantly posing shirtless as he travels the world.</p> <p>He is the 20-year-old grandson of the late Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth’s sister. He is the son of Princess Margaret's daughter Lady Sarah Chatto and her husband Daniel Chatto.</p> <p><strong>Princess Alexandra of Luxemborg</strong></p> <p>Princess Alexandra from Luxembourg is from one of the most prominently wealthy royal families in the world. The Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg is worth an estimate of US$4 billion.</p> <p>She is 24 years old and is the only daughter of Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa. For now, she is the fifth-in-line to the throne – just behind her two older brothers and her niece and nephew.</p> <p><strong>Prince Constantine-Alexios.</strong></p> <p>Prince Constantine-Alexios of Greece is 20 years old and currently attends Georgetown University in Washington D.C. The prince’s grandfather, Constantine II – the last King of Greece – is a close friend and second cousin to Prince Charles. King Constantine II is Prince William’s godfather.</p> <p>Prince Constantine-Alexios is the son of Crown Prince Pavlos Greece and Crown Princess Marie-Chantal. </p> <p><strong>Princess Iman and Princess Salma </strong></p> <p>18-year-old Princess Salma recently celebrated her completion of a commissioning course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, which her brother, the Crown Prince attended.</p> <p>Her older sister, Princess Iman bint Abdullah, is the second child and eldest daughter of the king of Jordan, King Abdullah II and Queen Rania. She is 22 and is currently studying at Georgetown University in Washington D.C.</p> <p>Do you recognise any of these royal members? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

Prince Harry’s lookalike cousin named one of the world’s most eligible bachelors

<p>Prince Harry’s first cousin has just been named one of the world’s most eligible bachelors – and he looks a lot like the Duke of Sussex.</p> <p>Louis Spencer, who carries the title Viscount Althorp, has been included in the list by <em>Tatler</em> magazine – along with a number of other unmarried men from royal families across Europe – as one of the world’s most suitable bachelors.</p> <p>The list also includes Denmark’s Prince Nikolai, Prince Mateen from Brunei and Prince Constantine Alexios of Greece.</p> <p>Viscount Althorp is 24 years old and the fourth child and eldest son of Princess Diana's brother Charles Spencer.</p> <p>Charles' first wife, Victoria Lockwood, is the mother of the aristocrat.</p> <p>He is Princess Diana’s first nephew and is the first cousin to Prince William and Prince Harry.</p> <p>The Viscount has kept a relatively low profile over the years but was seen attending the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at Windsor Castle in May last year.</p> <p>Clearly, good looks run in the family as the older sister of the young aristocrat, Kitty Spencer, is a model for Dolce &amp; Gabbana and Bulgari. </p> <p>Louis' aunt, the Princess of Wales, was considered one of the most beautiful women in the world – and was a main source of news for tabloids before and after her death in 1997.</p> <p>The aristocrat will one day inherit his father’s estate and title – due to British primogeniture law his older sisters, Kitty, Eliza and Amelia will miss out.</p> <p>He will also inherit the famous Althorp estate where Diana lived from seven years old until she was married to Prince Charles.</p> <p>It is also the location where Princess Diana is buried.</p> <p>Swipe through the gallery above to see Prince Harry’s charming cousin.</p> <p>Do you think Prince Harry and Louis Spencer look alike? Let us know in the comments below.  </p>

Family & Pets

Placeholder Content Image

Are you eligible for aged care funding from the government?

<p><em><strong>Marissa Sandler is the CEO and co-founder of <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="http://www.careseekers.com.au/" target="_blank">Careseekers</a></span>. Previously a social justice lawyer and researcher for over 15 years, Marissa is passionate about helping people live with dignity and finding innovative solutions to problems.</strong></em></p> <p>At Careseekers we speak to people every day who don’t realise that they could be getting funding from the Government to help them stay at home as they age. The government wants you to stay at home, they want you to stay at home safe and well and there is money available to help you do this.</p> <p>Our in-house aged care expert Deb Burman has demystified aged care funding so you don’t have to.</p> <p>Below all your questions are answered:</p> <p><strong>Am I eligible for funding?</strong></p> <p>You are eligible for Aged Care services at home if you are 65 years and over, or 50 years and over if you identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander</p> <p><strong>Ok I am eligible, what should I do now?</strong></p> <p>If you meet the criteria, contact the My Aged Care Centre on 1800 200 422 for an assessment.  Eligibility for a range of services is determined by an assessment process which identifies the individual’s needs</p> <p><strong>What kind of funding is available?</strong></p> <p>There are two types of government funded services: Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) and Home Care Packages (HCP). My Aged Care Centre will determine which type of service an individual should be assessed for</p> <p><strong>But what is CHSP?</strong></p> <p>This gives you access to a range of individual services. Domestic Assistance, Personal Care, Food Services, Home maintenance and modifications, Nursing, Transport services, Allied Health, Respite and Social Support.</p> <p>Assessment for this is conducted by RAS (Regional Assessment Service) assessors.</p> <p><strong>And what is HCP?</strong></p> <p>This gives you access to a coordinated package of care services, managed by a case manager including personal care, domestic assistance, meal preparation, continence management, mobility, nursing and allied health, transport services and socialisation.</p> <p>Assessment for this is conducted by ACAT (Aged Care Assessment Team) assessors.</p> <p><strong>What do I need to pay?</strong></p> <p>All services are subsidised by Government funding.  Individuals accessing services are expected to contribute to the cost of the services. Service subsidies depend on what is affordable for the individual and may require a financial assessment.</p> <p><strong>Can I choose who delivers all these services?</strong></p> <p>Yes! With the introduction of consumer directed care you now have a lot more choice about which provider you choose and even which care worker you use.</p>

Caring

Placeholder Content Image

What is the NDIS and am I eligible?

<p><em><strong>Marissa Sandler is the CEO and co-founder of <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="http://www.careseekers.com.au/" target="_blank">Careseekers</a></span>. Previously a social justice lawyer and researcher for over 15 years, Marissa is passionate about helping people live with dignity and finding innovative solutions to problems.</strong></em></p> <p>NDIS… What does it stand for again? It’s the National Disability Insurance Scheme. And we promise, it’s so much more than just an acronym.</p> <p><strong>What is the NDIS?</strong></p> <p>The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is how the Government will deliver support to people with permanent and significant disabilities across Australia.</p> <p>It is a significant change from how the Government provided support to people with disabilities pre-July 2013 (although not everyone will be able to able to access the NDIS from 2013. See below for more information on the roll out). </p> <p>The aim of the NDIS is to provide individuals, with a permanent and significant disability with the reasonable and necessary supports they need to live an ordinary life and achieve their goals.</p> <p>The NDIS will fund supports that assist people with disabilities to:</p> <ul> <li>Access mainstream services and supports e.g. medical services, housing.</li> <li>Access community services and supports that are available to everyone in the community e.g. libraries, community groups.</li> <li>Maintain informal support arrangements i.e. the support received from family and friends.</li> </ul> <p>The NDIS may pay for supports that are reasonable and necessary for the person with a disability to live an ordinary life and achieve their goals.</p> <p>Under the NDIS each eligible person receives an individual amount of funding and is able to exercise greater choice and control over how they use this funding to purchase their supports.</p> <p>The choice and control an individual has over how their funding is spent will depend on whether their funding is self, plan or NDIA managed. It is possible to have a plan that is partially self and partially plan managed.</p> <p><strong>What is the difference between NDIA, plan and self-managed NDIS funding? </strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>NDIA managed</strong> – the NDIA will manage your NDIS funding. You are only able to use NDIS registered providers, to provide your supports.</li> <li><strong>Plan managed</strong> – gives you more control over how you spend your funding as you can use both registered and unregistered support providers. However, you don’t deal with the financial or administrative tasks like making payment - a NDIS registered plan manager will take care of that.</li> <li><strong>Self-managed</strong> – gives you the greatest control over how you spend your funding. You can use registered and unregistered support providers and can directly employ support workers.  You will also be responsible for the financial and administrative side of your plan. You will need to create a specific bank account for this purpose.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Am I eligible for NDIS funding?</strong></p> <p>First, check that the NDIS is available in your area. The NDIS started in July 2013 in a number of trial sites around Australia. It is being introduced Australia wide in stages from 1 July 2016. The goal is to have it rolled out within three years.</p> <p>To be eligible for the NDIS an individual must:</p> <ul> <li>be under 65 years of age</li> <li>be an Australian citizen, permanent visa holder or hold a protected special category visa and</li> <li>meet the disability or early need requirements. For more information on the NDIS eligibility requirements <a href="https://www.ndis.gov.au/people-disability/access-requirements" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>click here</strong></span></a>.</li> </ul> <p>The NDIS is not means tested and does not impact income support such as the Disability Support Pension and Carers Allowance.  Even if you do not currently receive Government funded disability support you may be eligible for the NDIS.  The NDIA, which is the national agency running the NDIS, will determine if you are eligible for the NIDS.</p> <p><strong>Can I use my NDIS funding with Careseekers?</strong></p> <p>If you are self or plan managed you will be able to access care and support workers from Careseekers. This means you will be able to:</p> <ul> <li>choose the right care worker for you</li> <li>get care and support at the exact times you want it</li> <li>arrange your support worker from the comfort of your own home</li> <li>watch your funding go further as you connect to affordable care and support workers</li> <li>directly employ your support workers (self-managed only)</li> </ul>

Caring

Placeholder Content Image

You could be eligible for hundreds of dollars interest-free

<p>Thousands of Australians could be eligible to access hundreds of dollars interest-free.</p> <p>The “No Interest Loan Scheme” (NILS), which is backed by the federal government, aims to provide individuals and families on low income with access to safe, fair and affordable credit. You will not be charged fees and interest with NILS.</p> <p>NILS is available for people who are on the pensions, have a Low Income Health Care Card, or earning less than $45,000 dollars a year after tax.</p> <p>Loans are between $300 to $1200 and can only be used for essential goods and services. They cannot be used for cash, bond, rent arrears, debt consolidation, holidays or bills.</p> <p>Repayments are set over a period of up to 18-months, with the money automatically deducted from fortnightly benefits.</p> <p>Lisa Carrol, from NILS provider Good Shepard Microfinance, said loans provide people with “enormous relief.”</p> <p>"The ability to know that you can borrow the money for essential items, and only have to pay what you borrowed with no fees or charges, is an enormous relief for a lot of our clients,” Ms Carrol said.</p> <p><strong><em>For more information on NILS, please visit their <a href="http://nils.com.au/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">website</span></a>. </em></strong></p> <p><strong>Related links: </strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><em><a href="http://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/money-banking/2016/12/simple-tricks-for-reducing-expenses/">4 simple tricks for reducing your expenses</a></em></strong></span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><em><a href="http://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/money-banking/2016/12/12-habits-of-millionaires-you-should-adopt/">12 habits of millionaires you should adopt</a></em></strong></span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><em><a href="http://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/money-banking/2017/01/4-things-you-must-do-if-your-bankcard-goes-missing/">4 things you must do if your bankcard goes missing</a></em></strong></span></p>

Money & Banking

Placeholder Content Image

Are you eligible for government-subsidised aged care services?

<p>The Australian Government provides different types of aged care services to support a variety of needs, all aiming to help you stay as independent as you can. Each programme has a broad eligibility criterion and you will need to undertake an assessment to determine your needs and eligibility.</p> <p><strong>The different types of care include:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Staying in your own home</li> </ul> <p>There are many different services that are available to support you so you can live in your home for longer. Services may include help with meals, personal care, transport or home maintenance.</p> <ul> <li>Care in an aged care home</li> </ul> <p>This allows you to live in a supported environment where help is available when you need it. There are options for 24-hour care. Aged care homes are different to retirement villages, which are usually private facilities.</p> <ul> <li>After-hospital care (transition care)</li> </ul> <p>If you have been in hospital and are ready to be discharged, but you still need more time and support or help to get back on your feet, then you may benefit from transition care.</p> <ul> <li>Taking a break from caring (respite care)</li> </ul> <p>If you are being looked after by a carer, and either you or your carer need a break from the usual care arrangement, there are services that can help you and your carer.</p> <p><strong>Am I eligible?</strong></p> <p>Finding out if you are eligible for Australian Government subsidised aged care can be as simple as calling the My Aged Care contact centre on 1800 200 422. <strong><a href="http://www.myagedcare.gov.au" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The My Aged Care website</span></a></strong> also provides information on aged care.</p> <p>To help you find the right services, contact centre staff will ask you a series of question to understand your needs. The questions will be about any support you are currently receiving, health concerns and problems and how you are managing your day-to-day tasks.</p> <p>Contact centre staff will discuss options with you, which may include being referred for an assessment. This assessment will determine if you are eligible for aged care services and identify what type of services would best meet your needs and goals.</p> <p><strong>How the assessmentworks?</strong></p> <p>There are two types of assessment that you may be referred to. These are a home support assessment for entry level care or a comprehensive assessment for more complex care services. The type of assessment you are referred to will depend on the outcome of your discussion with My Aged Care contact centre staff.</p> <p>Assessments are undertaken face-to-face, usually where you live, by an independent assessor funded by the Australian Government. The assessment service is free.</p> <p>If you have entry level aged care needs, a home support assessment will be undertaken by an assessor from the My Aged Care Regional Assessment Service.</p> <p>If your aged care needs are more complex, you will be referred to an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT, or ACAS in Victoria) to assess whether you are eligible for a coordinated package of care at home or to move into an aged care home. The ACAT may also determine that you  would benefit from certain transition care or respite care.</p> <p>If you live in Victoria or Western Australia, there will be differences in the way you are assessed and referred to services. You can still call My Aged Care and the contact centre will explain the process and who you need to contact.</p> <p><strong>How much does aged care cost?</strong></p> <p>The Australian Government subsidises a range of aged care services in Australia. If your personal circumstances allow, it is expected that you will contribute towards the cost of your care.</p> <p>To get an estimate of the costs for home care packages or residential care, you can use My Aged Care’s fee estimator here. (http://www.myagedcare.gov.au/personal-stories/aged-care-fee-estimators)</p> <p>To find out more information go to the <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.myagedcare.gov.au/" target="_blank">My Aged Care website</a></strong></span> or contact the My Aged Care contact centre on 1800 200 422.</p> <p><strong>Related links:</strong></p> <p><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="/lifestyle/retirement-life/2015/12/community-key-to-happy-retirement/">The importance of community in retirement</a></strong></span></em></p> <p><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="/lifestyle/retirement-life/2015/12/how-to-mentally-prepare-yourself-for-retirement/">8 steps to mentally prepare yourself for retirement</a></strong></span></em></p> <p><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="/lifestyle/retirement-life/2015/11/what-to-consider-before-downsizing-in-retirement/">6 questions you must ask yourself before downsizing</a> </strong></span></em></p>

Retirement Life

Placeholder Content Image

Google can test your home’s solar eligibility

<p>Google has released a new tool that can determine whether your home is viable for solar power.</p> <p>The search engine recently introduced the software, called <a href="https://www.google.com/get/sunroof#p=0" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Project Sunroof</span></strong></a>, which shows users the amount of usable sunlight your home receives per year, your square footage of available solar panel space, and the projected savings you could save over a 20-year period with solar power installed. All you have to do is enter your address.</p> <p>When you enter your address, your home is shown in infrared vision, indicating the amount of sunlight that hits your roof’s surface. It takes into account the amount of solar radiation in your area, plus cloud and temperature patterns and nearby shade.</p> <p>The program even recommends the size of solar panels you should consider based on your average monthly energy bills and gives you the contact information for a solar company near you.</p> <p>At this time, only San Francisco, Fresno, and Boston have searchable addresses, but Project Sunroof will likely expand internationally after covering the rest of the US.</p> <p>In the meantime, <a href="http://pv-map.apvi.org.au/potential" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>a similar program exists in Australia</strong></span></a> courteousy of the Australian PV Institute.</p> <p><strong>Related links:</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong><a href="/lifestyle/energy/2015/05/how-to-save-money-with-solar-power/">Why retirement marks the perfect time to switch to solar energy</a></strong></em></span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong><a href="/lifestyle/energy/2015/06/does-my-home-qualify-for-solar/">Does my home qualify for solar power?</a></strong></em></span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong><a href="/lifestyle/energy/2015/06/solar-energy-saving-tips/">How solar power can save you money</a></strong></em></span></p>

Home & Garden

Placeholder Content Image

Find out if you’re eligible for free hearing services

<p>You might not be aware, but the Australian Government’s Hearing Services Program offers free or subsidised hearing services to those who are eligible. These services include access to a large variety of hearing devices, maintenance support, comprehensive hearing exams and rehabilitation services.</p> <p><strong>So, are you eligible?</strong></p> <p>You are eligible for these services if you are an Australian permanent resident or citizen above the age of 21 and you:</p> <ul> <li>Hold a pensioner concession card, a DVA Gold Card, or a DVA White Card for conditions that include hearing loss.</li> <li>Receive Centrelink’s Sickness Allowance.</li> <li>Are a dependent of someone as above.</li> <li>Are a member of the Australian Defence Force.</li> <li>Are part of the Australian Government funded Disability Employment Services (DES) – Disability Management Service.</li> </ul> <p>If you are an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, you may also have the option of receiving hearing services from the Australian Community Service Obligations (CSO).</p> <p>Visit <a href="http://hearingservices.gov.au/wps/portal/hso/site/about/!ut/p/a1/04_Sj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfGjzOK9A03NDD0NjLwtwvzdDBwd_UJ9vNxMjAz8DfQLsh0VAVNcADw!/"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">hearingservices.gov.au</span></strong></a> for more information.</p> <p><strong>Related links:</strong></p> <p><strong><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="/health/hearing/2015/07/osteoporosis-and-sudden-deafness-link/">The link between osteoporosis and sudden deafness</a></span></em></strong></p> <p><strong><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="/health/hearing/2015/06/travel-tips-for-hearing-impaired/">Travel tips for people with hearing loss</a></span></em></strong></p> <p><strong><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="/health/hearing/2015/06/heighten-sense-of-hearing/">3 simple ways to heighten your sense of hearing</a></span></em></strong></p>

Hearing

Our Partners