Budget 2020-21 includes a lifetime support package for all recognised thalidomide survivors – the Australian Thalidomide Survivors Support Program. The program was developed in response to the Senate Inquiry into Support for Australia’s thalidomide survivors. The Government Response to this Senate Inquiry was tabled on the 12th of October 2020.
All recognised Australian thalidomide survivors will be able to access the program. A recognised survivor is an Australian who is part of either:
- the 2010 Diageo ex gratia scheme
- the class action that was approved by the Victorian Supreme Court in 2014.
Lump sum and annual payments
The program will provide survivors with a one-off, tax and income exempt lump sum payment in 2020-21. This is to acknowledge the pain and suffering experienced throughout their lifetime. The lump sum will be scaled according to level of disability.
This will be followed by ongoing annual payments, scaled by level of disability, starting in 2021-22. These payments will also be tax and income exempt.
Assistance and support
From 2020-21, a Health Care Assistance Fund and an Extraordinary Assistance Fund will help survivors with:
- out-of-pocket health care costs
- daily living expenses.
Survivors will also be able to access:
- assistance to help them apply for this support
- assistance to help them apply for other relevant services, such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
National site of recognition and apology
A site of national recognition for thalidomide survivors and their families will be established. The Government will also offer a national apology to acknowledge the thalidomide tragedy.
Information about the process for unrecognised survivors to self-identify and be assessed for eligibility for the Program, as well as further information about the Program will be available on health.gov.au shortly.
Read the Budget announcement about support for thalidomide survivors.