Carer’s payments: Impact on care claims but not domestic assistance claims

Although not a medical claim, Campton v Centennial Newstan Pty Limited (No 3) [2015] NSWSC 410 is of interest for its consideration of whether an award of damages for past care should be reduced because of carer payments received by plaintiff’s wife under the Social Security Act 1991 (Cth).

At [14] the court noted:

A “carer payment” under the Social Security Act in the circumstances of this case may be taken as referring to “attention” and “supervision” provided by the carer (in this case, Mrs Campton), to the “care receiver” (her husband, Mr Campton). This is of significance in considering the defendant’s submission that the carer’s payments made to Mrs Campton should be offset…..

At [26] the trial judge held that during the period in which the claimant’s wife received a carer’s payment, allowance should be given for the weekly carer payment received, thereby reducing the damages for past care.

However as regards domestic assistance, see at [39] the finding that the provisions of the Social Security Act make it clear that such payments are made for care provided by a care provider to a disabled care receiver. They are not expressed to be payments for house maintenance or domestic house cleaning, or external gardening and the like.

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