Carer Payment

An income support payment if you give constant care to someone who has a severe disability, illness, or an adult who is frail and old.

Eligibility basics

  • you’re caring for 1 or more people with care needs which score high enough on the ADAT or DCLAD
  • they will have these needs for at least 6 months or the rest of their life
  • under the pension income and assets test limits
  • you and your care receiver must both be residing in Australia

Eligibility & payment rates

Eligibility rules

Both the carer and the person they are providing care for care need to be eligible.

Read more about eligibility for Carer Payment

Exchanged care

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

Medical reports

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:

Payment rates

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 $814.00 $613.30 $1,227.20 $814.00
Maximum Pension Supplement $66.30 $50.00 $100.00 $66.30
Energy Supplement $14.10 $10.60 $21.20 $14.10
TOTAL $894.40 $674.20 $1,348.40 $894.40

Transitional rate of pension

The transitional rate started in 2009 for pensioners who would get a lower rate if we used the new income test.

Read more about the transitional rate of pension

Income and assets test

How much Carer Payment you get depends on what you and the person you provide care for earn and own.

Read more about income and assets


Check if you are eligible before you start your claim.


  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



Change of circumstances

We need to know about changes that could reduce or stop your Carer Payment.

Read more about change of circumstances

Breaks from Caring

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.

Advance payment

You may get part of your income support early. This is an advance. You pay it back out of your normal payments from us.

Read more about advance payment

Weekly payment option

Some people can get income support payments each week instead of each fortnight.

Read more about weekly payments

If you travel outside Australia

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

Read more about Carer Payment if you travel outside Australia

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.

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

Income reporting

How much you or your partner earn affects your payment. We need to know what you and your partner earn so we pay you the right amount.

Read more about income reporting

When you reach age pension age

If you’re getting Carer Payment and reach age pension age, you can transfer to Age Pension.

Read more about choosing between Carer Payment and Age Pension when you reach age pension age.

Cashless Debit Card

The Australian Government is delivering payments in some areas using a Cashless Debit Card.

Read more about Cashless Debit Card

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


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: 20 September 2017