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Australian Carer Payment eligibility requirements

Carer Payment provides income support for Australians who provide full-time care for another person.

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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.

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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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131 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    CherylFebruary 18, 2020

    I care for my husband who has a chronic Illness. His condition has made it impossible for me to work and we are constantly visiting doctors and specialists. Am I eligible for the carers pension

    • Default Gravatar
      NikkiFebruary 18, 2020

      Hi Cheryl,

      Thanks for your comment and I hope you are doing well. Sorry to hear about your husband’s condition. To know your eligibility for a carer’s pension, will depend on the results of an income and assets test. As it says on the Services Australia site, you must:

      – Be providing constant care in the home of one of the following:

      someone who has a severe disability or severe illness
      someone who is frail aged
      2 to 4 children younger than 16 whose needs add up to the same as 1 child with severe needs
      1 or 2 children younger than 16 and 1 adult whose needs total the same as 1 child with severe needs.
      Income and assets

      – Both of these must apply to you. You must:

      earn less than the limit in the income test.
      own less than the limit in the assets test.

      Please refer to the services Australia website to check for the income and assets test to determine your eligibility. Hope this helps and feel free to reach out to us again for further assistance.

      Best,
      Nikki

  2. Default Gravatar
    jadeMay 14, 2019

    hi I recently have a child who has been diagnosed with a learning disability
    are there any payments available to help her.
    and would i be eligible for the careers payment

    • Default Gravatar
      NikkiMay 15, 2019

      Hi Jade,

      Thanks for getting in touch and I’m very sorry to hear about the current state of your daughter. To know your eligibility as a carer for your daughter, you and your daughter must satisfy the most basic requirements for carer’s payment as it shows on our page. There are residence rules, rules for carers, rules for, rules for the person below 16 years or older getting care, as well as income and assets test. To move forward, reach out to the Department of Human Services or Centrelink.

      Hope this helps and wish all the best for you and your child.

      With care,
      Nikki

  3. Default Gravatar
    JanetApril 9, 2019

    Hi I am the mother of 2 children. One has Autism the other has a low IQ. They both need therapy and I’m struggling to provide the therapy they need working and work. Would I be entitled to carers pension?

    I can’t work out if therapy homework is concidered regarding the carers pension.

    • Default Gravatar
      NikkiApril 10, 2019

      Hi Janet,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder! To be eligible for carer’s payment, there are different factors that are considered such as:

      1. One must constantly provide personal in-home care to someone who is disabled, suffers from a medical condition or is frail aged
      2. Pass an income and assets test
      3. Live in Australia and meet residence requirements.

      To know more of your eligibility for carer’s payment, you can read through the requirements above. You can get in touch with the Department of Human Services to get started on your application. Best of luck!

      With care,
      Nikki

  4. Default Gravatar
    NoelineApril 5, 2019

    I am receiving the carers pension and allowance as I live with my aged mother and am her full time carer. Am I able to work casual/part time and how would this effect my payments? What is the maximum amount I can earn before my payments are docked? I have no assets and little savings so its important for me to create an income/job for the future, given I don’t know how much longer my my mum is going to live. I am 60 years old. thanks

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnApril 8, 2019Staff

      Hi Noeline,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

      You may need to directly contact the Department of Human Services since all types of income needs to be reported to them as this is part of the income test to check your eligibility to receive carer payments.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. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  5. Default Gravatar
    WendyMarch 27, 2019

    How much money do I get for looking after my mum when husband is working

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnMarch 28, 2019Staff

      Hi Wendy,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

      Please see Carer payment rates below:

      Pension rates per fortnight Single

      Maximum basic rate $843.60
      Maximum Pension Supplement $68.50
      Energy Supplement $14.10
      TOTAL $926.20

      Couple each
      Maximum basic rate $635.90
      Maximum Pension Supplement $51.60
      Energy Supplement $10.60
      TOTAL $698.10

      Couple combined
      Maximum basic rate $1,271.80
      Maximum Pension Supplement $103.20
      Energy Supplement $21.20
      TOTAL $1,396.20

      Couple each
      separated due to ill health
      Maximum basic rate $843.60
      Maximum Pension Supplement $68.50
      Energy Supplement $14.10
      TOTAL $926.20

      Data last updated on March 21,2019. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  6. Default Gravatar
    JennyDecember 30, 2018

    My mother is 88 and has been diagnosed with dementia. She lives 50 km from me and I am thinking of leaving my job and moving in with her to help her. I do have assets of approx $500,000, would I qualify for the carers payment as I don’t want to dwindle my assets away?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaDecember 31, 2018Staff

      Hi Jenny,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      To be eligible for the carer’s payment, you would need to meet the income test. Under the income test, any financial assets in your name are deemed to earn income. For this reason, if your existing assets are earning you money, that would be factored in when testing your eligibility for the carer’s payment.

      It would be a good idea to directly get in touch with the provider to confirm your eligibility.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  7. Default Gravatar
    LorenDecember 28, 2018

    I am on a disability pension but are now a carer for my mum who has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Can I get a carers allowance too?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniDecember 30, 2018Staff

      Hi Loren,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      You may see eligibility criteria for the carer on this page that you’re looking at. If you still need further assistance on carer allowance, you may call the Australian Department of Human Services on 132 717 from Monday to Friday, 8 am – 5 pm.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  8. Default Gravatar
    MsNovember 22, 2018

    I am a carer. Can i be a carer for my mother in law. She is a pensioner. Will her pension get affected if I get paid if I become her carer

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaNovember 26, 2018Staff

      Hi Ms Mothey,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      Yes, her pension will be affected if she aims to get carer allowance as well. You can only get either carer allowance or age pension but not both. Thus, you would need to choose between the two.

      Here’s the difference between carer payment and age pension according to the Department of Human Services:

      Carer Payment provides income support if the person for whom you provide care has a disability, medical condition or is frail aged.

      Age Pension provides income support and access to a range of concessions for eligible older Australians. Age Pension includes incentives for people to maximise their overall income.

      If in case you want to know how to choose between the two, you can go here for more information.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  9. Default Gravatar
    derekNovember 11, 2018

    how much can you receive for carer payment

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnNovember 12, 2018Staff

      Hi Derek,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      The current carer payments provided in Australia is $127.10 each fortnight. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  10. Default Gravatar
    JoyceNovember 8, 2018

    My husband is on a disability pension and I am his paid career. He has reached pension age and can transfer to age pension. Do I still get career’s pension if he transfers to age pension, do I have to reapply for this or does it automically carry over. Also what is the best pension for us to be on on ie disability of aged? Thanks

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaNovember 21, 2018Staff

      Hi Joyce,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      If your husband is going to receive an age pension, his carer supplement would be cut off. When you need to register for age pension, you can register your intent to apply for the Age Pension as soon as 13 weeks before your husband turns 65. You can go to Centrelink website and apply or over the phone or in person at your local Centrelink office.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

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