Goulburn Valley grandparents are facing increased financial pressures after becoming primary caregivers for their grandchildren.June 9, 2014 4:30am
Goulburn Valley grandparents are facing increased financial pressures after becoming primary caregivers for their grandchildren.
Members of the Grandparents Support Group said many grandparents were only on the pension and some had even been forced to sell or remortgage businesses and houses to take on financial responsibility for their grandchildren.
One grandparent has even bought a caravan, financed from their pension, to assist with respite and care for their grandchildren and family members.
‘‘Financially it drains you. Children often need specialist or doctor’s appointments in Melbourne and grandparents are responsible for that,’’ group member Phame said.
‘‘I’d just retired and for three years I had to be a mother and all I wanted was to be a grandmother,’’ Sandra said.
A 2013 study by the University of New South Wales on grandparents caring for grandchildren found more than 70 per cent were financially disadvantaged and many relied on government support payments.
The report said many had to raise additional funds to pay for the grandchildren’s needs, by selling investments, drawing down savings, increasing their hours of employment or re-entering employment.
Many grandparents said it often took an extended time to get legal documents proving grandchildren were in their care, and without proper documentation it became even harder to claim care benefits.
‘‘Some parents have given up the care of the children to the grandparents and are still claiming the benefits,’’ Joan said.
Many said they’d encountered issues with service providers and organisations, and had trouble finding information about what their rights and benefits were.
‘‘Centrelink didn’t know how to deal with me .
‘‘I didn’t know which organisations I could go to for assistance,’’ Julie said.
Centrelink only introduced special grandparent advisers in October 2011 to help grandparents access payments and resources to assist them with caring for their grandchildren.
Grandparents say the financial stress also takes a toll on their physical and mental health. In the report, 62 per cent of grandparents said their health had deteriorated as a result of caring for their grandchildren.
Joan said a grandparent’s age often worked as a barrier, preventing them from interacting with other children’s parents.
‘‘You then become isolated. But support from the group helps, they understand exactly what you’re going through,’’ she said.
Members of the group encouraged any grandparents struggling with issues relating to raising grandchildren to come along to a meeting.
The group meets on the first Thursday of each month at 10
Congratulations to all our award winners in Greater Shepparton. To find out more about what our amazing recipients have done, see tomorrow's Shepparton News.
Some of Australia’s best kayakers were in Yarrawonga on Sunday at the annual Yarrawonga-Mulwala Canoe Club’s Murray River Classic kayak race.
Volunteers at St Vincent de Paul in Tatura continue to be dismayed at the amount of unsuitable items dumped at the centre in Francis St.
When the wall is in sight, swimmer Nash Ramage finds that little bit extra.
Vandals have uprooted trees along the Campaspe River, leaving Rochester River Reserve Committee president Paul Poort furious and devastated.
Bianca Chatfield to speak at Kyabram Sportstar of the Year
Alan McLean looks back at Seymour's history of larrikings, louts and bushfires.
New tourism venture, Old Woperana Working Farm and Animal Nursery, is now open to the public.
Warm weather during the Christmas/New Year period saw large crowds enjoy facilities at the region’s major water storages.
Cobram bowler Chris Taylor has been bowling all along Australia’s east coast, and all for a good cause.
The Free family were overwhelmed when stolen fishing equipment was returned to them on Monday night.
SPC Ardmona’s managing director Peter Kelly will end his association with the company when his two-year commitment to the job expires at the end of March.
Salvation Army Benalla Majors Heather and Peter Ellis have relocated to Melbourne.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.