Carer Payment provides income support for Australians who provide full-time care for another person.
Carer Payment is a social security benefit designed to provide financial support for Australian residents who care for another person who is severely disabled, ill or frail aged.
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What are the eligibility requirements for Carer Payment?
It’s important to note that when applying for Carer Payment, both the carer and the person receiving care must satisfy certain eligibility criteria.
The carer must meet the following criteria in order to qualify for payment:
- They must constantly provide personal in-home care to someone who is disabled, suffers from a medical condition or is frail aged
- They must satisfy an income test. Under the income test, any financial assets in your name are deemed to earn income. The income you earn will affect the Carer Payment amount you are eligible to receive. For example, if you are single and your income reaches or exceeds $1,868.60 per fortnight, you will not be eligible for any payment. If you are a couple and your fortnightly income passes the $2,860 mark, the amount you are eligible to receive reduces to $0. For transitional rate pensioners who are in a couple, their combined fortnightly income cannot exceed $3,191 if they are to receive financial support.
- They must satisfy an assets test. Assets that are taken into account include real estate assets, life interests, financial investments, superannuation investments, income streams, business assets and assets you gift to other people. For single homeowners, their assets must be less than $202,000 to receive a full payment.
- They must be living in Australia and they must meet residence requirements.
Caring for children under 16
Carers who care for a child who is 16 years or under and receives Carer Payment will also generally receive Carer Allowance automatically. This supplementary payment provides additional financial support.
If aged over 16 years, care receivers must meet the following conditions:
- They must reach a qualifying score under the Adult Disability Assessment Determination 1999 (ADAT Determination).
- They must be deemed likely to suffer from the same disability or condition permanently, or for a period of at least six months.
- They need to meet the residence requirements.
- They must require care either at home or in hospital.
- Unless they receive an eligible pension or benefit paid by either the Department of Human Services or the Department of Veterans Affairs, the care receiver must meet an income and assets test.
Carer Payment is typically provided if a child requires care for six months or more. However, when a child requires significant short-term or episodic care for a period of between three and six months, the benefit can also be paid.
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that medical reports are also used to assess a person’s eligibility for Carer Payment. These reports must be completed by a health professional.
How do I submit a claim if I think I'm eligible?
If you satisfy the eligibility requirements for Carer Payment, you can claim payment by following the process below:
- Register your intent to claim
- Read all the conditions for claiming Carer Payment
- Complete the claim form available from the Department of Human Services
- Gather any other documentation required to support your claim
- Submit your claim
- Your claim will be assessed by the Department of Human Services
While Carer Payment is typically offered fortnightly, you may also be able to qualify for weekly payments under certain circumstances, such as if you are homeless or if you are having significant financial difficulty. It may also be possible to receive your Carer Payment in advance, although this will depend on how long you have been receiving benefits and how much you receive. However, you can only take one advance payment at the maximum amount over any six-month period, or elect to have smaller advance payments instead.
If your circumstances change while you are receiving Carer Payment, you will need to notify the Department of Human Services. Examples of relevant changes include when:
- Your care arrangements change
- The person you care for goes into respite care or hospital, or perhaps requires less care
- The child you are caring for is no longer your dependent
- You change your address
- Your income, assets or investments change in any way
Failure to notify the Department of Human Services of any changes within 14 days could lead to you being overpaid and having to pay those benefits back in future.
It’s always vital to report any income that you and your partner earn to the Department of Human Services. This includes details of your hourly pay rate and the number of hours you have worked during each reporting period. Even if your income for the period is zero, you still need to report it to the Department.Back to top
You also need to be aware of the conditions that apply to Carer Payment for travel outside Australia. If you travel overseas and the person you care for comes with you, you can be paid for the first six weeks abroad or those who are studying outside Australia as part of a full-time Australian course can receive the payment for longer. However, if you travel outside Australia without the person you care for, Carer Payment will continue for the first six weeks you are overseas, as long as you have a sufficient number of respite days in reserve. Some countries, such as Canada and the United States, have international social security agreements with Australia that may allow you to receive payment for a longer period.
Carer Payment can offer much-needed financial assistance for those who perform the vital role of caring for others. Examine the eligibility requirements closely to determine whether you could benefit from this important government service.