Sharon and Steve Buckley are struggling. PHOTO: TREVOR VEALE
Sharon and Steve Buckley are struggling. PHOTO: TREVOR VEALE

Show us you care!

By LUKE KEIOSKIE

THEY say life wasn't meant to be easy.

But for Coffs Harbour carer Sharon Buckley, life will be 'nothing but a struggle' if the government cuts the carer's bonus.

Steven Buckley, a former Apex member and computer business owner, has suffered from motor neurone disease for three years.

He can't walk, can only talk via a computer, and needs assistance for everything from eating to rolling over in bed assistance his wife of 22 years, Sharon, gave up a full time job to provide.

"I do all of it, every day, 24/7, and I'm happy to do it," Sharon said.

But news that the carer's bonus may be cut has Sharon worried for her family's financial future.

"I know it's only $1600 but we're living off my super because we can't afford to live off the pension," she said.

"We need more money, not less."

The couple have three young boys aged between 8-12, and Sharon said caring for Steve means their sons have to miss out on some things.

"The boys don't play sports because of the expensive and because I can't leave Steve to take them.

"We don't go on holidays, we're living in my parents' house, and if something goes wrong, like Steve's computer breaking down, the bonus is all we have."

Steve, communicating via his computer, said the lump sum payment is handy.

"We weren't planning on having to retire so early, and financially it's difficult with the cost of living going up, it's hard to manage on a pension," Steve said.

But Sharon calls her family luckier than other people in similar situations.

"Some families are caring for more than one person, some with two or three children with disabilities, and it's a struggle," Sharon said.

"It's hard being a carer."



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