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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68 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    TracyAugust 19, 2017

    House many hours per week does a carer have to care to receive a full carer pension. I already meet the asset test. And am single

    • Staff
      MariaAugust 20, 2017Staff

      Hi Tracy,

      Kindly note that one of the eligibility criteria to apply for a Carer Pension is that you should spend no more than 25 hours a week away from caring to do:
      - paid work
      - volunteer work
      - study
      - training

      The 25 hours includes travel time and you must still be the main carer.

      Also, any income you get from a job can reduce what is paid to you.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers!
      Maria

  2. Default Gravatar
    IanMay 31, 2017

    I am a pensioner caring for my dying wife. I would like a carers application form. Could you please email or post?

    • Staff
      JonathanMay 31, 2017Staff

      Hi Ian!

      Thanks for the comment.

      You can reach Department of Human Services directly for assistance about the forms.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

  3. Default Gravatar
    RobertApril 27, 2017

    I will be moving off the carer payment (and allowance) soon as the person I care for is going into a nursing home. I can’t find any information about when the carer payment and allowance will stop. I’m hoping I’ll get a few weeks of the payment to allow me time to find work. I really don’t want to transition to Newstart as I just couldn’t afford to live on that low an income. Do you know how long the payments will continue after my carer role ceases?

    • Staff
      HaroldApril 28, 2017Staff

      Hi Robert,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Unfortunately, we cannot provide you our pesonal advice regarding this matter. It would be nice if you could directly contact the Department of Human Services on 132 717. They are able to give you an advice based on your current circumstances.

      I hope this information has helped.

      Cheers,
      Harold

  4. Default Gravatar
    AliMarch 27, 2017

    My husband earns $1500p/ft I’m earning approximately $800p/ft, if I’m reading it right,this amount would not affect the carers pension I’m applying for to care for my aged mother. As I have travel 50 klms and my husband would have to care for mum. I’m really wondering is it worth it, going to work. Would I be punished financially. Or would I receive the allowance and pension. If so would that be $609.? This is all new to me and I don’t really want to throw in my job ,if I can keep a foot in the door for the future. Or just throw it in and just get a pension and my husband’s wage.

    • Staff
      AnndyMay 8, 2017Staff

      Hi Ali,

      Thanks for your question.

      How much Carer Payment you will get depends on what you and the person you provide care for earn and own. Unfortunately, we can’t assess how much that is. You may have to directly contact the Department of Human Services to confirm your eligibility to receive the benefit and how much you’ll be receiving. They are available on 132 717.

      Kindly note that there are eligibility criteria to apply for a Carer Pension and one of which is that you should spend no more than 25 hours a week away from caring for work, study or training.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  5. Default Gravatar
    RoyFebruary 2, 2017

    My wife has been disabled since her accident in 2009 however; we did not claim for any assistance because she was undergoing a series of medical operations with the hope of a full recovery which sadly, has not been successful. She is now unable to work and requires assistance with regular household chores. This has required me to change my career and take a much lower paid job in order to work reduced hours. I am currently receiving an annual salary of 65K which is our only source of income. My wife requires regular medical treatment and a large amount of pharmaceutical and mobility assistance products which impact on the budget considerably. As her husband I undertake the majority of housework as well as assisting her with her medical requirements at home. Do I qualify for any assistance at all?

    • Staff
      MayFebruary 3, 2017Staff

      Hi Roy,

      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.

      I’m sorry to hear about your difficult situation. You will qualify to get a Carer Payment if you meet the eligibility requirements mentioned above. Basically, the government will assess your overall financial situation by conducting an income and asset tests. You should also meet all other criteria to be eligible. I’d suggest that you visit the Department of Human Services official site or contact them directly for more details.

      Cheers,
      May

  6. Default Gravatar
    MarkJanuary 21, 2017

    I am on sickness benefits so can I become a career

    • Staff
      MayJanuary 23, 2017Staff

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for your question and for contacting finder.com.au – a financial comparison website and general information service designed to help consumers make better decisions.

      Just to confirm, are you asking if you can become a care receiver pensioner? If so, please refer to the eligibility requirements set out above. You’d also be best to check directly with the Department of Human Services if you are eligible given your circumstance.

      Cheers,
      May

  7. Default Gravatar
    RosemaryNovember 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
      AnndyNovember 8, 2016Staff

      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

  8. Default Gravatar
    GloriaNovember 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 allowance, I still have not heard anything back when will I know that I have been approved .

    • Staff
      AnndyNovember 7, 2016Staff

      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

  9. Default Gravatar
    MaddyNovember 3, 2016

    Hi

    I had a premature 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
      HaroldNovember 3, 2016Staff

      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

  10. Default Gravatar
    LisaNovember 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
      MayNovember 2, 2016Staff

      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

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