An income supplement for carers who provide additional daily care and attention for someone with a disability or medical condition, or who is frail aged.
- 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 & payment rates
When applying for Carer Allowance, both the carer and the care receiver must meet eligibility criteria.
Carer Allowance when providing care for a child under 16 years is either:
- a fortnightly payment of $123.50 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 $123.50 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.
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
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
Do your Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support business using self service options, including our Express Plus mobile apps, online accounts and phone self service.
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, or
- your care situation or the level of care you provide changes because of support from DisabilityCare Australia
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.
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.
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.
To get your payment while outside Australia you must continue to meet the qualification rules for Carer Allowance.
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.
There is support available to help you manage your money if you have overdrawn your bank, building society or credit union account.
If you are caring for someone with an illness, disability or injury, there are other government and non-government organisations that provide services and programs that can help.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme website provides information, referral and links to make sure families and carers of people with disability are able to access support in their community.
The myagedcare website provides information about the support available when you care for someone who is frail aged. You can contact Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres on Freecall 1800 052 222 or call 1800 059 059.
Special Disability Trusts help immediate family members of people with severe disability make financial provision for the person's future care and accommodation needs.
Carers Australia represents the needs and interests of carers at the national level. It is made up of members from the 8 state and territory Carers Associations.The Carers Australia website provides information about the national peak body for carers. You can contact them on Freecall 1800 242 636.
The Carer Gateway website provides a broad range of information about services and support available to carers.
Select the options that describe your circumstances, then explore a 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.