I now take care of my elderly parents, are there any financial tax breaks that I can receive.

The offset for contributing to the upkeep of aged parents has been changed quite significantly.  There is only an offset available if they are also either an invalid, or a carer.  So the tax system is not really the place to look for assistance any more.  There is some assistance by way of an offset if they are in this category, but if they receive Centrelink benefits for the whole year the offset will be extinguished.

There are, however, some other options that could be useful in the social security system.  The first to consider is whether they qualify for the aged pension.  Generally the qualification is age based as long as you are a permanent resident.  There is also a waiting period for parents who entered the country in the aged parent category.  There is an asset test as well as an income test which will affect the amount of the pension they will be entitled to.

As they get older, there is a good possibility that you could be the care giver for your elderly parents. Should this become the case, it is important to know some different ways to help alleviate some of the financial stress that this may cause. You may be eligible for a carer allowance from the government to compensate you for not being able to follow your normal working career.  Some elements of this allowance is income tested so lower earners will be the ones who benefit the most from it.

When the time comes that they need to enter an aged care facility there are a number of options available to them, depending on their asset status.  One option is to sell the family home and purchase a dwelling in a home with frail care not too far away.

If they don’t have this available there are spaces available in most facilities where their accommodation is paid for by a percentage of the aged pension – usually around 85%.

So there is assistance available – one needs to research the options to see which one works best in your circumstances.  We just need to bear in mind everyone’s circumstances can be different so its not a ‘one size fits all”.