Australian Carer Payment Eligibility Requirements

Information verified correct on October 28th, 2016


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 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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44 Responses to Australian Carer Payment Eligibility Requirements

  1. Default Gravatar
    Carmel | October 23, 2016

    Ive waited 5 month’s for mu carers payment its getting beyond the joke…o haven’t been working as im taking care of my mum can’t believe how long its taking i keep getting soon…its ridiculous

    • Staff
      Elizabeth | October 24, 2016

      Hi Carmel,

      Unfortunately we can’t assist with this, but you may be able to contact the Department of Human Services to find out the reason for the delay and when you can expect to start receiving your payments.

      Sorry I couldn’t be of more assistance,


  2. Default Gravatar
    | October 16, 2016

    I have a friend from Thailand coming 4/11/2017 who will be living with me
    she has a student visa which she is allowed to earn income.

    My doctor says I need a carer I am frail , unable to dress or shower without , can not prepare my meals.

    Will she be able to receive a carers payment / pension ??

    I really need help

    • Staff
      Elizabeth | October 18, 2016

      Hi Lynette,

      To be eligible for carer’s payment your friend will need to be an Australian resident, which requires her to be an Australian citizen or permanent visa holder. It would be best to confirm directly with the Department of Human Services, but according to information on its website your friend will not be eligible.



  3. Default Gravatar
    Marsha | September 30, 2016

    Is it possible to receive both carer allowance and payment?

    • Staff
      Elizabeth | September 30, 2016

      Hi Marsha,

      I’m unaware if this is able to be done but from initial reading on the Department of Human Services website, it’s likely you’ll need to swap from care-receiver payments to carer payments if you’re providing care to someone. You’ll need to confirm this with the Department in regards to your situation.



  4. Default Gravatar
    rose | September 30, 2016

    Hi there,
    Can I still qualify for a carer’s payment/allowance while my mother is in a residential care facility?
    I visit her everyday and provide support and tend to needs both inside and outside the facility.

    • Staff
      Elizabeth | September 30, 2016

      Hi Rose,

      To be eligible for the carers payment you need to be providing constant care in your home to the care receiver, so you will not be eligible.

      Hope this helps,


  5. Default Gravatar
    anne | September 28, 2016

    What does it mean by personal care for at least the equivalent of a normal working day for a child attending school. Does it mean outside of school hours for a child over 16. I have a care allowance and trying to get a carer payment and my doctor needs to confirm that she requires personal care daily. What does that involve. Thank you

    • Staff
      Elizabeth | September 29, 2016

      Hi Anne,

      To be eligible for carers payment you must meet the following criteria:
      The carer must meet the following conditions:

      - personally provide constant care, in the home, to someone with a severe disability, medical condition, or who is frail aged
      - meet the income and assets tests
      - be living in Australia, and
      - meet residence requirements
      - personally provide that care for a significant period, usually a minimum of 6 months

      Your doctor will need to submit medical reports to help satisfy the criteria.

      I hope this helps,


  6. Default Gravatar
    John | September 25, 2016

    How much does a live cater receive

    • Staff
      Elizabeth | September 26, 2016

      Hi John,

      Your payment depends on whether you are single or part of a couple and how much other income you receive. The maximum basic rate for a single carer is $877.10, which include the pension supplement and energy supplement. If you’re part of a couple this drops to $661.20.

      You’ll need to confirm your rate with the Department of Human Services.

      Hope this helps,


  7. Default Gravatar
    Greg | September 21, 2016

    I am a foster carer of child who has sever disabilities who requirers full time care. She will be alway be in the care of the minister. In this instance is a carers payment subject to means test /assest test since the child will always remain in the ministers care.

    • Staff
      Elizabeth | September 21, 2016

      Hi Greg,

      Every person applying for carer’s payments need to meet the income and asset tests. You can get in contact with the Department of Human Services to discuss your eligibility if you have further questions.

      I hope this helps,


  8. Default Gravatar
    frank | August 27, 2016

    hi im thinking of applying for carer allowance for both my parents whom i live with. i just wanted to know what is the most amount of money i can have in my bank account before it effects my carer allowance

    • Staff
      Elizabeth | August 29, 2016

      Hi Frank,

      The income test limits haven’t been advised by the Department of Human Services. According to its website, “You can participate in work, including volunteer work, study or training for up to 25 hours a week, including the time taken to travel and still be eligible for Carer Payment, as long as you continue to personally provide constant care.” Your gross income will then be used to work out your payment rate.

      You’ll need to get in contact with the Department to discuss your payment rate.



  9. Default Gravatar
    Lors | August 3, 2016

    I am a live in carer for a 92yr old Australian…
    Can I apply for the carers pension/allowance to enable him
    To stay in his own home..
    I am an Australian resident not a citizen having lived here for
    8 years and am from New Zealand.

    • Staff
      Elizabeth | August 3, 2016

      Hi Lors,

      As you are an Australian permanent resident you may be eligible for the carer’s pension. You can get in contact with the Department of Human Services for more information.

      I hope this helps,


  10. Default Gravatar
    Carla | July 26, 2016

    I’ve applied for a Carer payment back in March, I haven’t receive a response as yet. I’ve called the department and they told me that they are short of staff and it will take some time.
    How much more?

    • Staff
      Anndy | July 26, 2016

      Hi Carla,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Please note that is a financial comparison and information service and we do not represent the Department of Human Services.

      If you would like to verify the status of your career payment application, I suggest that you directly contact the Department of Human Services on 132 717 or visit their nearest service centre.


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