Income support every 2 weeks for people giving constant care, in a private home, to someone with a severe disability, illness, or is an adult who is frail aged.
You and the person getting care must be under the income and assets test limits.
- give constant, daily care to someone who has a severe disability or severe illness or is frail aged
- care for them in a private home for at least 6 months
- spend no more than 25 hours a week away from caring for work, study or training
- not be on another income support payment
Eligibility & payment rates
Both the carer and the person they are providing care for care need to be eligible.
Exchanged care is where:
- you have 2 or more children with a severe illness or severe disability who need a lot of care
- the other parent isn’t your partner
- you exchange the care of the children with the other parent
- both parents give a lot of care to 1 of the children every day and you have a current parenting plan or parenting order stating your caring arrangements
We use medical reports to check if we can pay you Carer Payment.
Health professionals who treat the person you are providing care for must complete these reports.
You need a medical report and a claim form to get this payment.
In some cases we may use an existing medical report for your claim.
To find out if you need a new medical report and get a claim form:
Our payment rates change on 20 March and 20 September each year to keep up with the cost of living.
There are different rates of Carer Payment for single people and couples. Read about how your relationship status can affect your payment rate.
|Pension rates per fortnight||Single||Couple each||Couple combined||Couple each
separated due to ill health
|Maximum basic rate||$808.30||$609.30||$1,218.60||$808.30|
|Maximum Pension Supplement||$65.90||$49.70||$99.40||$65.90|
The transitional rate started in 2009 for pensioners who would get a lower rate if we used the new income test.
Check if you are eligible before you start your claim.
- find out what you need to start claiming
- start your claim
- submit your claim with supporting documents
- we will assess your claim and let you know the outcome
We need to know about changes that could reduce or stop your Carer Payment.
You can take breaks from caring and still get Carer Payment.
You get 63 respite days off each calendar year (1 January–31 December) without your payment stopping.
You can use these days for anything, including a holiday or simply a break from caring.
While you’re having a break the person getting care can:
- be in formal respite care, at home, or elsewhere
- or you can have a friend, neighbour or family member informally looking after them
If the person getting care goes into hospital
You must tell us if this happens.
The time in hospital won’t count as a break from caring. This means you will still have your 63 days of respite. You also get 63 days for any hospitalisation period each calendar year.
If they’re aged under 16 years old
We will keep paying you if the child getting care goes into hospital, as long as:
- you keep caring for them while they’re there
- you plan to go back to caring for them at home when they leave
We’ll check back with you if they’ve been in hospital for more than 12 weeks
If they’re aged 16 years or older
We will keep paying you if the person getting care is in hospital for up to 63 days in a calendar year, as long as:
- you keep caring for them while they’re there
- they are likely to return to your care when they leave, and
- you plan to go back to caring for them when they leave
Call the carers line if the person getting care is in hospital for more than 63 days in a year. We still may be able to pay you by using your respite days.
You may get part of your income support early. This is an advance. You pay it back out of your normal payments from us.
Some people can get income support payments each week instead of each fortnight.
To get your payment while outside Australia you must continue to meet the qualification rules for Carer 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.
Read more about using self service.
If you want someone else to deal with us, you can authorise them to enquire, act or get payments for you.
We need to know what you and your partner earn each fortnight so we can pay you the right amount.
The Australian government is trialling a new way of delivering payments in some areas using a cashless debit card.
You can get help to manage your money if your bank account is overdrawn.
The following websites contain useful information for carers.
- National Disability Insurance Scheme has information for families and carers of people with disability - you can get links to community groups that can support them too
- myagedcare has support you can get if you care for someone who’s frail aged
- Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres has information on respite care and other support services – call them on Freecall 1800 052 222 or 1800 059 059
- Special Disability Trusts has help for the immediate family of people with severe disability – you can get information on setting up a Special Disability Trust to plan for the future care and housing of the disabled person too
- Carers Australia has information about this national carers group and support services – call them on Freecall 1800 242 636
- Carer Gateway has information about services and support for 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.
- Assistance for Isolated Children
- Bereavement Payment
- Carer Allowance
- Carer Supplement
- Centrelink online accounts
- Child Dental Benefits Schedule
- Education Entry Payment
- Family Tax Benefit
- Health Care Card
- Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance
- Pension Supplement
- Pensioner Education Supplement
- Rent Assistance
- Rent Deduction Scheme