Australian Carer Payment eligibility requirements

Photo: Budget.gov.au

Photo: Budget.gov.au

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.

Please note that finder.com.au is not affiliated with the Department of Human Services or Centrelink. If you would like an indication of pension rates or eligibility, please contact your local Centrelink office.

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

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.
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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.

The care receiver

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.
For care receivers under 16

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:

  1. Register your intent to claim
  2. Read all the conditions for claiming Carer Payment
  3. Complete the claim form available from the Department of Human Services
  4. Gather any other documentation required to support your claim
  5. Submit your claim
  6. Your claim will be assessed by the Department of Human Services
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How do I manage my payments?

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.

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Travelling outside Australia

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.

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97 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    PaulineMay 11, 2018

    I am on a Carers pension in nsw how much can I earn a fortnight

    • Staff
      JeniMay 11, 2018Staff

      Hi Pauline,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      The maximum basic rate of the pension rates per fortnight is $826.20.

      If you want to know more on how much carer payment someone can get, please check out this link.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  2. Default Gravatar
    AlecMay 9, 2018

    Can a 78 year old husband claim for his 73 years old wife who is incapacitated…she can walk a little, otherwise the husband does everything.

    • Staff
      NikkiMay 9, 2018Staff

      Hi Alec,

      Thanks for your message and for visiting finder – the leading comparison website & general information service built to give you advice in your buying decision needs. How are you doing today?

      To be eligible for Carer’s Benefit, below is a checklist for you:

      – They must constantly provide personal in-home care to someone who is disabled, suffers from a medical condition or is frail aged
      – 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 be living in Australia and they must meet residence requirements.

      For the care receiver:

      – 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.

      For more information, you may call the Department of Human Services or Centrelink.

      Hope this helps! Feel free to message us anytime should you have further questions.

      Cheers,
      Nikki

  3. Default Gravatar
    BILLMay 9, 2018

    MY WIFE HAS BEEN DIAGNISED WITH TERMINAL CANCER.WE ARE PENSIONERS.
    WE LIVE IN OUR OWN HOME.IWLL BE HER ONLY CARER. AM I INTITLED TO A CARERS BENIFIT.

    • Staff
      NikkiMay 9, 2018Staff

      Hi Bill,

      Thanks for your message and for visiting finder – the leading comparison website & general information service built to give you advice in your buying decision needs. How are you doing today?

      I’m sorry to hear about your wife’s illness. I understand this is a tough time for you both.

      To be eligible for Carer’s Benefit, below is a checklist for you:

      – They must constantly provide personal in-home care to someone who is disabled, suffers from a medical condition or is frail aged
      – 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 be living in Australia and they must meet residence requirements.

      For the care receiver:

      – 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.

      For more information, you may call the Department of Human Services or Centrelink.

      Hope this helps! Feel free to message us anytime should you have further questions.

      Cheers,
      Nikki

  4. Default Gravatar
    LlanwynApril 26, 2018

    How much can a person earn before their rate of carer’s payment starts reducing?

    • Staff
      JoelApril 26, 2018Staff

      Hi Peanut,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      It depends. You must first need to 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.

      Cheers,
      Joel

    • Default Gravatar
      LlanwynApril 26, 2018

      Thanks for your reply, although it doesn’t really answer my question. If a person qualifies for full rate of payment, how much can they earn before it effects rate of payment?

    • Staff
      MayApril 27, 2018Staff

      Hi Llanwyn,

      Thanks for getting back.

      I’m afraid we don’t have information as to how much the exact earnings you must have before the rate of your carer’s payment is affected/reduced. However, the Department of Human Services will re-assess your income once your circumstances change. Say, your salary has increased, you would need to inform Centrelink about it so they can compute your carer’s payment again. If this is still unclear, I would suggest that you contact Centrelink directly instead.

      Cheers,
      May

  5. Default Gravatar
    VickiApril 21, 2018

    I am applying for carer payment as I look after my mother who is 88 years of age and suffers from Dementia. I have just been made redundant in my job so no longer working and my husband was made redundant 5 years ago and also does not work. We are both in our sixties but not quite at pension age. I was thinking of streaming some funds down from my super to top up the carer payment but I can not find any information on this. Is it classed as income and how much can I stream before it would effect carer payments. Thankyou

    • Staff
      MayApril 22, 2018Staff

      Hi Vicky,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder.

      There’s a comprehensive guide about income stream from the Department of Human Services, which you can find here. It would be best to contact ADHS directly to confirm how this could affect carer payments.

      Cheers,
      May

  6. Default Gravatar
    AnneApril 13, 2018

    I do not live with my frail elderly father but I do provide care for several hours each day, I live close by and drop in several times during the day which means I am not available to work. Am I eligible for the carer’s payment or just the allowance?

    • Staff
      ArnoldApril 13, 2018Staff

      Hi Anne,

      Thanks for your inquiry

      It looks like you’re already on the right page for information about carer payment eligibility requirements. These requirements are outlined on the above page, please check them out to know if you are eligible. You may also want to check the government’s human services site for the application form and other information about the grant.

      Hope this information helps

      Cheers,
      Arnold

  7. Default Gravatar
    JenniferApril 9, 2018

    I am a single mother of 4. I’ve got two children with mild hearing loss but the other child is diagnosed ASD, intellectual impairment and behaviour issues. I receive my family assistance, carers allowance and single pension. Am I eligible or I can’t get this for my 7 year-old son as I’ve already got other payments?

    • Staff
      JoanneApril 9, 2018Staff

      Hi Jennifer,

      Thank you for visiting finder, we are a financial comparison website and general information service.
      To be an eligible carer you must meet these rules:

      You must be providing constant care in the home of one person who:
      *has a severe disability or severe illness
      *is frail aged

      Or

      *2 to 4 children aged under 16 whose needs add up to the same as 1 child with severe needs
      *1 or 2 children aged under 16 and 1 adult whose needs add up to same as 1 child with severe needs
      *2 or more children aged under 16 in shared care

      For income and assets, you must:
      *earn less than the limit in the income test
      *own less than the limit in the assets test

      As we are not affiliated with the Department of Human Services or Centrelink, please contact your local Centrelink office for further questions.

      Cheers,
      Joanne

  8. Default Gravatar
    RissaApril 3, 2018

    Hi,I am currenty my husband’s carer,last week our daughter have been diagnosed with ASD,
    the doctors suggested applying for a carer allowance for our daughter.
    My question is,is it possible to apply for the carer allowance for our daughter even though I am already recieving carer payment for my husband?

    • Staff
      NikkiApril 3, 2018Staff

      Hi Rissa!

      Thanks for your message and for visiting finder – the leading comparison website & general information service built to give you advice on your buying decision needs. How are you doing today?

      You can care for more than 2 persons and receive more than 1 Carer payments.
      Just submit a separate medical record of your daughters and go through the same application process.

      Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Nikki

  9. Default Gravatar
    WayneMarch 28, 2018

    Hi, how do I test my wife for the ADAT to see if she qualifies for me as her carer to recieved the carers allowance. I have been her carer since 2012. I only found out about this from a relative recently. Is there any back pay allowed if we qualify as I have been using my own funds. My wife is on the Aged Pension. Thank you

    • Staff
      JeniMarch 28, 2018Staff

      Hi Wayne,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.
      Regarding your enquiry, you will need to go through an assessment process with Centrelink and complete the Adult Disability Assessment Tool (ADAT).Since you just found out about this recently, you may verify if you can get a back pay since 2012 with the Department of Human Services.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

    • Staff
      MayMarch 28, 2018Staff

      Hi Wayne,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Your wife as a care recipient must:

      – score high enough on the Adult Disability Assessment Determination 1999 (ADAT)
      – have an illness or disability likely to last at least 6 months or a terminal illness
      – need care in their home, in your home or in hospital

      The ADAT test has:

      – questions the carer must answer
      – questions the health professional who treats the person getting care must answer

      As her carer, you must also meet the eligibility criteria and income/asset test. Please check this guide for more details. As to the carer payment, not sure if the department will refund you for the money you have spent for your wife, you must contact the Human Services about this to confirm. To learn learn more about the eligibility payment for carer, please visit this page.

      Cheers,
      May

  10. Default Gravatar
    BethFebruary 18, 2018

    I’m on newstart but have had doctors certificate s for over 5 yrs my last two certificate stated I can’t work from now to ever but Centrelink rejects my doctors certificate so I get suspended im mentally ill ” stress anxiety terrified my world yes,in unemployable nearly 60 yrs,old Yes I vCard wish I could work I wish I was ok but im not im broken im aovclosecto e ending my broken life the stress Centrelink is soul destroying not knowing suspended again 2 hours on hold ; phone suspended why ?? Doctors certificate rejected im scared shattered plz help

    • Staff
      NikkiMarch 9, 2018Staff

      Hi Beth,

      Thank you for your inquiry and for contacting finder.com.au – a financial comparison website and general information service designed to help consumers make better decisions. Please note that we are not affiliated with the Department of Human Services or Centrelink.

      Sorry to hear about your situation. This must be very difficult for you. We’d like to help you out, however, as we are a general inquiry website, our access to Centrelink or Newstart is limited in terms of contacting them.

      With Newstart, there are mutual obligation requirements, one of which is a job plan. However, given that you are almost 60 years old, there are obligation differences/exceptions:

      You can meet your mutual obligation requirements by doing at least 30 hours per fortnight of:

      – suitable paid work
      – self-employment
      – approved voluntary work
      – a mix of these

      If you want to do voluntary work you need to talk to us about it. We must agree the work is suitable for you.
      For more information, you may click this link: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/enablers/mutual-obligation-requirements#medicalcondition

      Should you not be in the capacity to work, it is very important to ask for another Doctor’s Certificate
      As it says on humanservicesgov.au, you can stay on Newstart Allowance if you get sick or injured and can’t work as much for a while.
      They need a medical certificate from your doctor that says you can’t work for at least 8 hours a week. This is important because if the government pays you too much, you may have to pay them back, plus fees.

      For more information, you may click this link: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/enablers/change-circumstances-newstart-allowance

      Hope this helps.

      Take care,

      Nikki

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