- provide additional daily care for a dependent child aged under 16 years, with a disability or medical condition, who lives with you; or
- provide additional daily care for two dependent children with disabilities or medical conditions, who do not individually qualify for Carer Allowance, but together have a substantial caring responsibility and live with you; or
- provide additional daily care for a person aged 16 years or over who has a disability, medical condition, or who is frail aged in either your home or the home of the person you are caring for
Eligibility & payment rates
Eligibility for Carer Allowance
When applying for Carer Allowance, both the carer and the care receiver must meet eligibility criteria.
Payment rates for Carer Allowance
Carer Allowance when caring for a child under 16 years is either:
- a fortnightly payment of $115.40 and a Health Care Card for the child, or
- a Health Care Card for the child
Which of these you receive depends on the child’s care needs.
Carer Allowance when caring for a person 16 years or over is paid at $115.40 per fortnight.
Adjustments to payment rates are made in line with the Consumer Price Index increases in the cost of living. Carer Allowance is adjusted on 1 January each year.
The amount of Carer Allowance you get depends on whether you are caring for more than one person or whether you are in a shared-care arrangement.
Carer Allowance is a non-taxable payment.
Residence requirements for Carer Allowance
To be eligible for Carer Allowance you must satisfy residence requirements. You and the person you are caring for:
- must be an Australian resident, and
- continue to meet the residence requirements for as long as you get this payment
- must be physically present in Australia on the day you lodge your claim
Other benefits while receiving Carer Allowance
If you qualify for Carer Allowance, you may be entitled to other payments and benefits, such as:
Once you have read about eligibility the next steps are:
- Read the conditions for claiming
- Register an intent to claim
- Complete the claim form
- Provide supporting documentation
- Submit your claim
- We will assess your claim and let you know the outcome
Managing your payment
Self service options
Our self service options are a quick and effective way to deal with us. You can use self service where it's convenient to you and manage things yourself:
- online - you need to register to use some of the services, then you can do many things where and when it suits you
- on your mobile device - our Express Plus mobile apps are simple, fast and convenient, giving you more choices for dealing with Centrelink
- on the phone - you can self-register for Centrelink Phone Self Service
- using a self service terminal at one of our Service Centres
Change of circumstances while receiving Carer Allowance
You need to tell us if your circumstances change when you are receiving a payment. For example, if:
- the person or child you care for goes into respite care or hospital
- the person or child you care for needs less care
- the child you care for stops being your dependent
- you move house
- you stop caring for the person or child
- your care situation or the level of care you provide changes because of support from DisabilityCare Australia, the national disability insurance scheme or
- you or the person you care for goes on a holiday outside Australia or leaves Australia permanently
If you do not tell us about the changes within 14 days your payment may be affected. You may be overpaid benefits and you will probably have to pay the money back.
If you deliberately do not tell us about changes, you could be charged with fraud, and a recovery fee may be imposed.
Taking a break from caring
Up to 63 days per calendar year can be taken for respite without affecting your payment. These days may be used for any purpose, including formal respite care such as community, in-home, or residential respite, or informal respite that is provided by a friend or family member.
If the child under 16 years goes into hospital
You can continue to receive Carer Allowance if the child you are caring for goes into hospital, as long as you continue to provide care for them while they are in hospital and you intend to resume caring for them when they return home. It is important that you tell us if this occurs.
We will contact you after your child has been in hospital for a continuous period of 12 weeks to review your circumstances.
If the person 16 years or over goes into hospital
You can continue to be paid Carer Allowance if the person you are caring for goes into hospital for up to 63 days per calendar year as long as you continue to provide care for them and intend to continue caring for them after the hospital stay. The hospitalisation period is in addition to the standard 63 day allowable break from caring.
Medical reviews while receiving Carer Allowance
Carer Allowance is reviewed to confirm you are continuing to provide care and whether there are any changes to the care situation or the care receiver’s medical condition. A medical review of the care receiver may also be required.
Child care receivers under 16
A child you care for may be required to have a medical review on reaching these developmental milestones:
- 4 years and 8 months
- 10 years
- 13 years
If the child’s disability or medical condition is on the list of recognised disabilities, they will not have milestone reviews.
Adult care receivers
An adult you care for may be required to have a medical review every 2 years.
Payments paid while outside Australia
There are rules about getting your payment when you leave Australia.
Someone to deal with us on your behalf
You can authorise another person or organisation to deal with us on your behalf and receive your Centrelink payments under a correspondence or nominee arrangement.