Australian Carer Payment Eligibility Requirements

Information verified correct on December 9th, 2016
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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56 Responses to Australian Carer Payment Eligibility Requirements

  1. Default Gravatar
    Rosemary | November 6, 2016

    My son is on DSP. I am also on DSP and can change to aged turning 65 shortly. My question is can he claim to be my carer as I need more help and he comes to live with me in the future. I am in an over 55s resort and he being under 50 can only live with me as my carer. He can just stay on his DSP and not receive any extra money. It is the being called my carer formally that is the question so he can meet criteria for living with me if possible.

    • Staff
      Anndy | November 8, 2016

      Hi Rosemary,

      Thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately, we can’t give advice for your specific situation. It would be best if you directly contact the Department of Human Services on 132 717. They are able to give you advice on whether your son can claim DSP or carer payment.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  2. Default Gravatar
    Gloria | November 6, 2016

    hello, I put an intent to claim for carers payment in on the 15th July, and on the 25th of July I placed my claim for carers payment and carers allowence, I still have not heard anything back when will I know that I have been approved .

    • Staff
      Anndy | November 7, 2016

      Hi Gloria,

      Thanks for your question.

      Kindly note that we are finder.com.au, a financial comparison and information website that helps users make better decisions.

      If you want to follow up the status of your request to receive carer payment, you can directly get in touch with the Australian Government Department of Human Services on 132 717.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  3. Default Gravatar
    Maddy | November 3, 2016

    Hi

    I had a prem baby 3 months early last year. He had a grade 4 brain bleed as result of quick labour and only just making it to hospital.

    He has recently been diagnosed with medium level cerebral palsy due to brain bleed. I was given this diagnosis by paediatric Dr after already submitting forms for Carer allowance, in June 2016.

    I’m still not receiving any carer allowance payment- have not heard a response and wonder if I’m eligible for carer allowance?
    I have been providing 2 hours daily physio to my son to encourage him to use left side of his body which is delayed, this is planned by St Giles physio & OT, who I also see regularly.

    As I’m fully qualified primary teacher and early child care worker prior to having my son, I’m unable to return to work due to his care requirements.

    My partner works full time but his income 36k per year before tax is not enough to help cover fuel costs etc for me to take son to all his apps, after bills are deducted!

    Some advice would be appreciated as getting so frustrated! Thanks Maddy

    • Staff
      Harold | November 3, 2016

      Hello Maddy,

      Thank you for your question.

      Any Australian resident who cares for another person that is severely disabled, ill or frail aged can receive a carer payment provided they have met the eligibility requirements, which are outlined above. You may need to contact the Department of Human Services for further information.

      I hope that helps.

      Cheers,
      Harold

  4. Default Gravatar
    Lisa | November 1, 2016

    I get the carer allowance for my daughter who is vision impaired. I am her full time carer can i apply for carer pension

    • Staff
      May | November 2, 2016

      Hi Lisa,

      Thank you for your question.

      If you think you’ve met the eligibility requirements for a carer pension, you’d be best to get in touch with your local Centrelink office.

      Cheers,
      May

  5. Default Gravatar
    Melissa | October 31, 2016

    i know this might seem like a silly question A person who has a disability claims the disability support pension and they are a couple does their spouse who cares for them receive the carers payment as well, it’s a bit confusing I assumed they can only claim one type

    • Staff
      May | November 2, 2016

      Hi Melissa,

      Thank you for your question.

      Yes, they will be able to receive payments benefits – disability pension and carer payments – but for couples, they will just be assessed as a couple to determine how much they receive in payments. For more details of payments for families, you can go straight to the website of the Department of Human Services.

      Cheers,
      May

  6. Default Gravatar
    | October 31, 2016

    My parents have retired overseas and received the age pension. As they are much older now and not able to care for themselves like they used to ,I wanted to know that if I have to go there and help look after them ,would I be entitled to the careers payment.

    Kind regards,
    Diana

    • Staff
      May | November 2, 2016

      Hi Diana,

      Thank you for your question.

      Any Australian resident who cares for another person who is severely disabled, ill or frail aged can receive a carer payment provided they have met the eligibility requirements, which are outlined above. It would also be best to contact Department of Human Services for more information.

      Cheers,
      May

  7. 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,

      Elizabeth

  8. 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.

      Thanks,

      Elizabeth

  9. 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.

      Thanks,

      Elizabeth

  10. 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,

      Elizabeth

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