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.
- 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
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||$814.00||$613.30||$1,227.20||$814.00|
|Maximum Pension Supplement||$66.30||$50.00||$100.00||$66.30|
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.
Income and assets test
How much Carer Payment you get depends on what you and the person you provide care for earn and own.
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
Change of circumstances
We need to know about changes that could reduce or stop your Carer Payment.
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.
You may get part of your income support early. This is an advance. You pay it back out of your normal payments from us.
Weekly payment option
Some people can get income support payments each week instead of each fortnight.
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.
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.
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.
When you reach age pension age
Cashless Debit Card
The Australian Government is delivering payments in some areas using a Cashless Debit Card.
My bank account is overdrawn
You can get help to manage your money if your bank 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.
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.