Government benefits

Many carers find it difficult to remain in full time paid work. You may be entitled to government benefits and allowances to help you continue in your caring role or to cover some of the extra costs associated with caring.

Benefits in Australia

Most pensions and other social security payments in Australia are administered through Centrelink. You can contact them directly to discuss your individual situation.

You can also contact our advisory service to discuss your eligibility for benefits or for help with making an application.

If you receive a full or part pension you may also get a concession card that gives you discounts and concessions on a range of essential services.

Carer Allowance

The Carer Allowance is a supplementary payment that may be available to help you with the costs of caring. It can be paid in addition to the Carer Payment or another pension or benefit.

To be eligible for the Carer Allowance:

  • You must provide daily care, amounting to at least 20 hours per week, for a person with a disability or chronic illness, mental illness, or who is frail aged. You do not have to live with the person you care for.
  • Both you and the person you care for must be Australian residents, currently living in Australia.

The Carer Allowance is not income and assets tested and it is not taxed. Working or studying will not normally affect your eligibility.

Carer Payment

The Carer Payment can provide you with income support if you are unable to work because of the demands of your caring role.

To be eligible for the Carer Payment:

  • You need to provide full time care over an extended period of time for a person with a disability or chronic illness, mental illness, or who is frail aged. You do not have to live with the person you care for, but you need to live within a reasonable distance and provide care on a daily basis.
  • Both you and the person you care must be Australian residents, currently living in Australia.
  • You, your employed spouse or partner (if you have one) and the person you care for must all meet the income and assets test for the payment. If you earn income or own property, savings or investments above a particular amount (the ‘threshold’), you may not be eligible.

Centrelink can be flexible about some of the eligibility rules particularly if the person you care for has high care needs or if you care for more than one person. Contact them to discuss your individual situation.

Carer Supplement

If you receive a Carer Allowance, Carer Payment, or Department of Veteran’s Affairs Carer Service Pension you will also receive a lump sum payment each year to help cover the cost of care. The payment is made automatically in July of each year and you do not need to make a separate claim.

Child Disability Assistance Payment

If you receive the Carer Allowance (Child) you will also receive a lump sum payment each year to help with the costs of caring for a child with a disability. The payment is made automatically in July of each year and you do not need to make a separate claim.

Other benefits and allowances

You or the person you care for may be eligible for other types of income support or allowances if you:

  • Are aged, have a long term disability or sickness, are a single parent or unable to work for another reason
  • Are on a low income
  • Need help with mobility, rent or education costs or live in a remote area
  • Are in severe financial need because of circumstances outside your control

Find out more

Contact Centrelink to find out more about any of these payments or to discuss which pension will best cover your needs if you are eligible for more than one type.

You may also be eligible for income support from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs if you are a veteran or the widow or widower of a veteran. Contact the Department to find out more.

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