- 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 2 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, and
- care must be provided in either your home or the home of the person you are caring for
Eligibility & payments 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 providing care for a child under 16 years is either:
- a fortnightly payment of $121.70 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 providing care for a person 16 years or over is paid at $121.70 per fortnight.
Carer Allowance is adjusted on 1 January each year in line with the Consumer Price Index.
The amount of Carer Allowance you get depends on whether you are providing care for more than 1 person and 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 provide care 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 submit 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. Options include Express Plus mobile apps, online services 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 for whom you are providing care goes into respite care or hospital
- the person or child for whom you are providing care needs less care
- the child for whom you provide care for stops being your dependent
- you move house
- you stop providing care 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 provide 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 for whom you provide care goes into hospital, as long as you continue to provide care for them while they are in hospital and you intend to resume providing care 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 for whom you provide care 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 providing care 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 periodically reviewed to confirm if 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 for whom you provide care 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 for whom you provide care for may be required to have a medical review every 2 years.
Carer Allowance while travelling outside Australia
If you, or the person for whom you provide care, 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 for whom you provide care are leaving Australia and:
- will be away for longer than 6 weeks, or
- you are the carer and the person for whom you provide care 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.
What to do if your account is overdrawn
There is support available to help you manage your money if you have overdrawn your bank, building society or credit union account.
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.
The Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres website provides 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.
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 represents the needs and interests of carers at the national level. The members of this national peak body are from the 8 state and territory Carers Associations. Read more on the Carers Australia website.
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.
- Managing your money aims to get you in control of your money to help you achieve your goals, manage on a low income and identify where to go for urgent money help
- Borrowing & credit provides information on loans, credit cards, other types of credit such as interest free deals and rent to buy, information about credit reports and credit repair and what to do if you are having trouble with debt
- Superannuation & retirement helps you get the most out of your super
- Investing guides you through the basic principles of investing and how to find a good financial adviser
- Scams explains how scams work, how to identify different scams and what to do if you have been scammed
- Life events & you provides information tailored to your situation including under 25s, families and over 55s
- Tools & resources provides handy tools, calculators, publications, audio files and quizzes including a budget planner, retirement planner and mobile apps