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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105 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    ANTHONYAugust 20, 2018

    My mother is 80 years old. She has osteoporosis, broken her femur in 3 places and just had a steel rod put in it and will take a long time to heal. My dad is caring for her. My question is, can my dad claim carers allowance?

    • finder Customer Care
      JeniAugust 20, 2018Staff

      Hi Anthony,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Carer Allowance is a fortnightly income supplement for parents or carers providing additional daily care and attention to an adult or dependent child with disability or a medical condition, or to someone who is frail aged.

      Since your father has been your mom’s carer and hasn’t received any carer allowance from the Department of Human Services, you may assist him to process claiming his carer allowance by following the steps on this PAGE.

      Please note, it is best to check the eligibility rules prior to claiming the carer allowance.

      I hope this somewhat helps.

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

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  2. Default Gravatar
    Mary.July 1, 2018

    As I am my husbands carer and I receive the carer pension of about $120 a fortnight. What I want to know is as he has been in hospital for 2 weeks recently, do I have to advise the pension people?

    • finder Customer Care
      JeniJuly 6, 2018Staff

      Hi Mary,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Yes, you must tell the DHS if the person you provide care for goes temporarily into respite care or is hospitalised.

      You can tell them about your changes through their self service options.

      You need to:

      – tell them within 14 days about any changes of circumstances
      – make sure your details are up to date in myGov

      If you don’t tell them about these changes, they may pay you too much. If this happens you will have to pay the money back.

      If you deliberately don’t tell them about changes, they could charge you with fraud.

      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

  3. Default Gravatar
    ghaidaJune 12, 2018

    I applied to be a second carer for my dad. I’m a single mom aged 35 and studying one day a week for 9 hours a week. Only dad is an aged pension DVA. I want to know how much I will get as a payment

    • finder Customer Care
      JeniJune 16, 2018Staff

      Hi Ghaida,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      There are different rates of Carer Payment for single people and couples. The maximum basic rate per fortnight is $826.20 however you mentioned that you are the second carer so I suggest that you contact Centrelink at 132 717 from 8AM to 5PM, Monday to Friday regarding your carer payment enquiry.

      You may want to read more about payments for carers on this page.

      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

  4. Default Gravatar
    BelindaJune 7, 2018

    Hi I’m wondering if my husband and I can get Carer payment and allowance for my parents. At present I care for one parent and another family member cares for my dad. But in future my husband may need to care for my dad. If so would we both get payment if we pass income test.

    • finder Customer Care
      ArnoldJune 8, 2018Staff

      Hi Belinda,

      Thanks for your inquiry

      It looks like you’re already on the right page for information on the AU Carer Payment eligibility requirements. The requirements can be seen on the page above. However, I’m afraid only the Department of Human Services can determine if you meet the income requirements to be a carer. Information about the tests you will take can be found on their website. Please click here to view this information.

      Hope this information helps

      Cheers,
      Arnold

  5. Default Gravatar
    PaulineMay 11, 2018

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

    • finder Customer Care
      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

  6. 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.

    • finder Customer Care
      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

  7. 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.

    • finder Customer Care
      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

  8. Default Gravatar
    LlanwynApril 26, 2018

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

    • finder Customer Care
      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?

    • finder Customer Care
      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

  9. 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

    • finder Customer Care
      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

  10. 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?

    • finder Customer Care
      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

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