Carer Allowance

A fortnightly income supplement if you give daily care and attention to someone who has a disability, serious illness, or an adult who is frail and old.

Eligibility basics

You must give additional daily care at home to:

  • a child aged under 16 who has a disability or serious illness and lives with you
  • 2 or more children aged under 16 living with you whose care needs add up to the same as 1 eligible child, or
  • someone aged 16 or older who has a disability or serious illness or is frail aged

Eligibility & payment rates

Eligibility rules

The carer and the person you are providing care for must both be eligible.

Read more about eligibility

Payment rates

There’s no income or assets test for Carer Allowance. We pay the same rate no matter what you earn or own.

This payment doesn’t add to your taxable income.

Payment rates change on 1 January each year to keep up with the cost of living.

If you are providing care to someone who is aged 16 or older

Carer Allowance is $124.70 each fortnight.

If you are providing care for a child aged under 16

Carer Allowance is either:

  • for a child with higher needs – $124.70 every fortnight and a Health Care Card for the child
  • for a child with lower needs – a Health Care Card for the child
What may be different

If you share care of the child and the other parent is not your partner:

  • you get part of the payment
  • the other carer gets the rest, based on how much care you each provide

Claiming

Check if you are eligible before you start your claim.

Then:

  1. find out what you need to start claiming
  2. start your claim
  3. submit your claim with supporting documents
  4. we will assess your claim and let you know the outcome

Next

Managing your payment

Try self service

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.

Change of circumstances

We need to know about changes that could increase, reduce or stop your Carer Allowance.

If you don’t tell us when these changes happen, you may be doing the wrong thing.

For example, you must tell us if you:

  • stop giving care for the person you get Carer Allowance for
  • move house
  • go outside Australia
  • start sharing the care with someone else
  • stop sharing the care with someone else and become the main carer

You must tell us if the person getting care:

  • needs less care
  • goes into respite care or hospital
  • stops being a dependent child
  • starts getting support from the National Disability Insurance Scheme
  • goes outside Australia
  • dies

How and when to tell us

You can tell us your changes through our self service options.

You need to:

If you don’t tell us

If you don’t tell us about changes in your life, we may pay you too much. If this happens you’ll have to pay the money back.

If you deliberately don’t tell us about changes, we could charge you with fraud.

Read how to avoid fraud.

Breaks from caring

You have 63 days per calendar year for respite without affecting your payment.

You can use these days for anything. This includes formal respite such as community, in-home, or residential care. It also includes informal respite a friend or family member provides.

If the child under 16 years goes into hospital

Your payment won’t stop if the child you care for goes into hospital, as long as you continue to provide care while they are there, and you intend to resume care when they leave hospital. It is important to tell us if this happens.

We’ll review your circumstances after your child has been in hospital for more than 12 weeks.

If the person 16 years or over goes into hospital

Your payment won’t stop if the person you care for goes into hospital for up to 63 days per calendar year, as long as you continue to provide care, and you intend to resume care when they leave hospital. The time in hospital doesn’t count toward the 63 days allowable break from caring standard.

Medical reviews

From time to time we review Carer Allowance to check for changes in:

  • the level of care you provide
  • the amount of care you provide, and
  • the disability or medical condition of the person getting care

If you provide care for a child aged under 16

We may ask for a medical review of Carer Allowance when the child is:

  • 4 years and 8 months old
  • 10 years old
  • 13 years old

We send out forms to the carer 8 weeks before the child reaches these ages.

Both you and the health professional treating the child getting care, need to complete the forms.

We will then review the child’s care needs through the Disability Care Load Assessment (Child) Determination 2010 (DCLAD).

We don’t review a child if they have a recognised disability or medical condition.

If you provide care for someone aged 16 years or older

We may ask for a full review including a medical assessment.

We will send the forms to the carer. Both you and the health professional treating the child getting care, need to complete the forms.

We will then review the person’s needs including a medical assessment using the Adult Disability Assessment Determination (ADAT).

If you travel outside Australia

We may pay Carer Allowance if you leave Australia for a short time. You must keep meeting Carer Allowance rules at all times.

Read more about Carer Allowance if you travel outside Australia

Someone to deal with us on your behalf

If you want someone else to deal with us, you can authorise them to enquire, act or get payments for you.

Read more about someone to deal with us on your behalf

My bank account is overdrawn

You can get help to manage your money if your bank account is overdrawn.

Read more about what to do if your account is overdrawn

Resources

Services and programs

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

Payment and Service Finder

Find, estimate and compare payments and services you may be eligible for. You can also work out what a change in circumstance might mean for the payments and services you currently receive from us.

Start using Payment and Service Finder

Manage your money

 

We’ve got advice and tools to help you with budgeting, borrowing and credit, and managing debt.

Read about how to manage your money.

Regular deductions using Centrepay

You can use our free and voluntary service to pay bills as regular deductions from your Centrelink payments.

Read more about regular deductions using Centrepay

Page last updated: 11 September 2017