- 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
- care must be provided 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 $118.20 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 $118.20 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
You can do most of your Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support business using self service. There are options using mobile apps, online accounts or phone self service.
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 the National Disability Insurance Scheme
- 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.
Carer Allowance while travelling outside Australia
If you, or the person you care for, leave Australia to live in another country, your payment will stop on departure.
If the person that you care for is:
- with you while you are travelling outside Australia, you can continue being paid for the first 6 weeks overseas
- not travelling with you, Carer Allowance will continue for the first 6 weeks, provided you have enough respite days remaining. There are 63 respite days in each calendar year
- travelling without you, your Carer Allowance will continue while you have enough respite days remaining
- under 16 years of age and stays in Australia with your partner while you are travelling, you can continue being paid Carer Allowance, but not Carer Payment, for up to 6 weeks while you are outside Australia, without using your respite days
Advising us of your travel outside Australia
You should tell us if you or the person you care for are leaving Australia and:
- will be away for longer than 6 weeks, or
- you are the carer and the person you care for is not travelling with you or is travelling outside Australia without you
Otherwise you do not need to tell us if you are leaving Australia. We will be advised automatically by Australia's immigration department when you leave Australia and when you return.
Someone to deal with us on your behalf
If you want someone else to handle your Centrelink, Child Support or Medicare business you can authorise them to deal with us on your behalf.
Services and programs available for carers
If you are caring for someone who is ill, injured or has a disability, there are a number of other Australian Government services and programs.
Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres provide a single point of contact for the general public, service providers, and health professionals for information on community, aged and disability services and carer support.
Freecall 1800 052 222 or call 1800 059 059 for emergency respite support outside of standard business hours.
Special Disability Trusts help immediate family members of people with severe disabilities make a private financial provision, for the person's future care and accommodation needs.
Carers Australia is the national peak body for carers and represents the needs and interests of carers at the national level. The members of Carers Australia comprise of the 8 state and territory Carers Associations. You can contact them on Freecall 1800 242 636.
Select the options that describe your circumstances then explore a suggested list of possible Centrelink and Medicare payments and services online.
Select your state and topics of interest to find links to government and community organisation support.
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