Choosing between Carer Payment and Age Pension

In some situations, you may be able to choose to receive either Carer Payment or Age Pension.

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How to choose the right payment for you

If you are over age pension age and you are providing care for someone with disability or a medical condition, you may choose to receive either Carer Payment or Age Pension.

Carer Payment provides income support if the person for whom you provide care has a disability, medical condition or is frail aged.

Age Pension provides income support and access to a range of concessions for eligible older Australians. Age Pension includes incentives for people to maximise their overall income.

Carer Payment and Age Pension have some similarities:

  • the rate of payment depending on a person’s circumstances
  • income and assets tests
  • Age Pension is taxable, Carer Payment is also taxable once the carer or the care receiver reaches age pension age
  • eligibility for a Pensioner Concession Card, and
  • rent assistance rates if you are partnered or are not sharing accommodation

To get Carer Payment, there are extra conditions that must be met which are outlined below.

When you reach age pension age, you will be sent a transfer to Age Pension form. You will need to tell us about any superannuation you have, and if you want to continue to receive Carer Payment or transfer to Age Pension.

Some of the rules that apply for Carer Payment or Age Pension

If you receive your payment by cheque, the way we pay you will change in 2016. Register your bank details through myGov, or call or visit us today.
Circumstances Carer Payment Age Pension
Income and assets tests for the care receiver

If the care receiver does not receive an income support payment or Department of Veterans’ Affairs income support payment, an income and assets test applies to the care receiver.

Does not apply.

Reviews

You and your care receiver may be reviewed to confirm that the care receiver’s care needs continue to qualify you for Carer Payment.

If you receive Age Pension and Carer Allowance for the person for whom you provide care, you may be reviewed to confirm that you continue to provide daily care and attention.

Travelling outside Australia

If you travel temporarily outside Australia without the person for whom you provide care, Carer Payment can continue for up to 6 weeks by using the balance of any unused respite days.

If you travel temporarily outside Australia with the person for whom you provide care, you can continue to be paid for the first 6 weeks. You can be paid Carer Payment for longer than 6 weeks in limited circumstances.

If you or the person for whom you provide care stop living in Australia, your Carer Payment will stop on departure, unless you qualify under an international social security agreement.

Read more about Carer Payment while travelling outside Australia.

There are separate rules for Carer Allowance while travelling outside Australia.

You can be paid Age Pension for the whole time you are outside Australia, regardless of whether you leave temporarily or to live in another country. Some exceptions may apply.

The rate of Age Pension you are paid outside Australia may change.

Read more about Age Pension while travelling outside Australia.

There are separate rules for Carer Allowance while travelling outside Australia.

Breaks from caring respite or hospitalisation

You can take a break from caring for up to 63 days each calendar year without changes to your Carer Payment. If you stop providing care for more than 63 days your payment may be cancelled.

You are also allowed 63 additional days per calendar year if you receive Carer Payment while caring for a person 16 years or over and the person for whom you provide care is in hospital temporarily and you still help with their care.

You can continue to get Carer Payment while caring for a child under 16 years if the child for whom you provide care is in hospital temporarily and you still help with their care.

Your Age Pension will not be affected.
Carer Supplement

If you are receiving Carer Payment on 1 July you will be eligible for an annual Carer Supplement of $600.

If you receive Carer Allowance on 1 July, you will also be eligible for a further Carer Supplement of up to $600 for each person for whom you provide care.

Carer Supplement is not payable if you are receiving Age Pension.

If you are receiving Carer Allowance on 1 July, you will still be eligible for a Carer Supplement of up to $600 for each person for whom you provide care.

Rent Assistance

If you are single and sharing privately rented accommodation, you may receive a higher maximum rate of Rent Assistance than if you were receiving Age Pension and sharing accommodation.

If you are single and sharing privately rented accommodation you may be eligible for a lower maximum rate of Rent Assistance than if you were receiving Carer Payment and sharing accommodation.

Working, volunteering, studying or training

You can work, volunteer, study or train for up to 25 hours a week including time taken to travel and still receive Carer Payment.

Any income you receive may affect your rate of payment.

There is no limit on the number of hours a week you can work, volunteer, or study or train.

Any income you receive may affect your rate of payment.

Study assistance

If you are studying, you may receive a Pensioner Education Supplement and an Education Entry Payment.

Age Pension customers are not entitled to the Pensioner Education Supplement or the Education Entry Payment.

Casual or contract work

If you or your partner stopped any seasonal, contract or casual or intermittent work in the 6 months before claiming and had earned income above a certain level, you may have to wait before receiving Carer Payment. This is called a seasonal work preclusion period.

Age Pension customers are not subject to the seasonal work preclusion period.

If you have a partner who currently gets Wife Pension

If you transfer to Carer Payment your partner will lose their eligibility for Wife Pension as well as Pensioner Education Supplement or the Education Entry Payment.

Payment of Wife Pension will not be affected.

If you receive Carer Allowance, there may be an effect on your payment if you take a break from caring or travel overseas.

If the person for whom you provide care dies

Depending on whether you are receiving Carer Payment or Age Pension, there are differences in how the death of the person for whom you provide care will affect your payments.

Circumstances that may affect your Carer Payment or Age Pension

Circumstances Carer Payment Age Pension
The person for whom you were providing care was your partner

You may receive a lump sum bereavement payment if your partner was receiving an income support payment from us or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

You may continue to receive Carer Payment for up to 14 weeks. Your regular fortnightly payments will be adjusted to the single rate. You may then need to consider transferring to another payment such as Age Pension

You may receive a lump sum bereavement payment if your partner was receiving an income support payment from us or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

You will continue to receive Age Pension.

Your regular fortnightly payments will be adjusted to the single rate.

You were not the partner of the person for whom you were providing care and the care receiver’s partner is getting a Centrelink pension or benefit, or a Department of Veterans’ Affairs Service Pension or Income Support Supplement

You are not entitled to a lump sum bereavement payment.

You may continue to receive Carer Payment for up to 14 weeks. You will then need to consider transferring to another payment such as Age Pension.

You are not entitled to any bereavement payments.

You will continue to receive Age Pension.

You were not the partner of the person for whom you were providing care and the care receiver’s partner is not getting a pension or benefit, or a Department of Veterans’ Affairs Service Pension or Income Support Supplement

You may receive a lump sum bereavement payment.

You may continue to receive Carer Payment for up to 14 weeks. You will then need to consider transferring to another payment such as Age Pension.

You are not entitled to any bereavement payments.

You will continue to receive Age Pension.

The person for whom you were providing care was single

You may receive a lump sum bereavement payment.

You will continue to receive Carer Payment for up to 14 weeks. You will then need to consider transferring to another payment such as Age Pension.

You are not entitled to any bereavement payments.

You will continue to receive Age Pension.

Other government and community support services

There are a range of other organisations that provide support services and useful information you may find helpful. You can use Service Finder to locate assistance in your local area.

moneysmart logoMoneySmart has information to help you make the most of your money. Read the Superannuation and retirement section on the Moneysmart website.

Page last updated: 4 May 2016