- you personally provide constant care in the home for someone with a severe disability, medical condition or who is frail aged
- you personally provide that care for a significant period, usually a minimum of 6 months
- you satisfy an income and assets test
Eligibility & payment rates
Eligibility for Carer Payment
When applying for Carer Payment, both the carer and the care receiver must meet eligibility criteria.
Exchanged care refers to a situation where all of the following apply:
- you provide a significant level of care to 2 or more of your children
- you exchange the care of these children with the other parent who you are not in a relationship with
- each of the children has a severe medical condition or severe disability
- you have a current parenting plan or a parenting order that outlines your caring arrangements
- you and the other parent each provides a significant level of care to 1 of these children every day
Short-term and episodic conditions for a child under 16
Carer Payment is generally paid if a child requires care for 6 months or more. However, it can also be paid if a significant level of care for a child is required on a short term or episodic basis for a period of 3 to 6 months.
The difference between short term and episodic conditions is that short- term conditions are expected to be one off, but episodic conditions are expected to recur.
You cannot receive Carer Payment and another income support payment, such as Age Pension, at the same time.
Medical reports are used to assess eligibility for Carer Payment. They are not claim forms and can only be completed by a health professional.
Payment rates of Carer Payment
Adjustments to payment rates are made in line with the Consumer Price Index in line with increases in the cost of living. Carer Payment rates are adjusted on 20 March and 20 September of each year.
|Status||Rate per fortnight|
|Couple||$566.60 each or
|Couple separated due to ill health||$751.70 each|
These amounts exclude the Pension Supplement, a fortnightly payment additional to the base pension. The maximum rates of Pension Supplement for singles and for each member of a couple separated due to ill health is $61.70 a fortnight, and for couples $93.00 a fortnight combined.
Transitional rate of pension
The transitional rate of pension is a special rate for people who would ordinarily have received a lower pension because of income test changes in 2009.
You are automatically paid the transitional rate of pension if your rate has always been higher than the rate introduced in 2009.
Calculating the transitional rate
Your transitional pension rate is compared to the rate of the pension you would receive under the current income test. You will keep receiving the transitional rate while it is more than the current rate. As soon as the current rate is the same or more than your transitional rate, you will be paid under the current means test. You will no longer be eligible for the transitional rate.
Losing the transitional rate
Changes like having more or less income can alter the amount of your pension payment. You cannot go back to your transitional rate if you start receiving the current rate because of a change in your circumstances.
It is important to understand what effect a brief change, like earning more or less employment income, may have on your pension. A Customer Service Officer or Financial Information Service Officer can explain the likely outcomes to you.
Income and Assets tests for Carer Payment
The amount of Carer Payment depends on the income and assets of both the carer and the person receiving care.
Residence requirements for Carer Payment
To be eligible for Carer Payment you must satisfy residence requirements. You and the person you are caring for must:
- be an Australian resident
- continue to meet the above residence requirements for as long as you get this payment
- must be physically present in Australia on the day you lodge your claim
Newly arrived residents generally have a 104 week waiting period, with some exemptions.
If you have lived or worked in a country with which Australia has an international social security agreement, it may help you meet these residence requirements.
Other benefits while receiving Carer Payment
If you qualify for Carer Payment, you may be entitled to other payments and services, such as:
If you qualify for Carer Payment, you automatically receive a Pensioner Concession Card.
Once you have read about eligibility the next steps are:
- register an intent to claim
- read the conditions for claiming
- complete the claim form
- provide supporting documentation
- submit your claim
- we will assess your claim and let you know the outcome
Managing your payment
Change of circumstances while receiving Carer Payment
You need to tell us if your circumstances change while you are receiving Carer Payment.
Advance payment options
You may be eligible to receive part of your Centrelink payment in advance. Accessing an advance payment depends on the type of payment you receive, how long you have been receiving it and the amount that you receive.
Weekly payment option
You can receive your income support payment weekly, instead of fortnightly in certain circumstances.
Payments paid while outside Australia
There are rules about getting your payment when you leave Australia.
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
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.
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.
You can contact Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres on Freecall 1800 052 222 or call 1800 059 059 for emergency respite support outside of standard business hours.
Special Disability Trusts
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.