All about the Carer Payment for aged care

Mar 1, 2024 | RESPITE CARE

Caring for someone can be rewarding, but overwhelming at times. If you need some extra help, you may be able to access financial support via the Carer Payment, Carer Allowance, and Carer Supplement.

Let’s look at these three government-funded benefits, who they help, and how they can be accessed.

carers payment allowance

What is the Carer Payment?

Because carers need care too, the Australian Government provides three avenues for carers to access financial support:

The Carer Payment

This is a fortnightly payment that helps cover basic living costs. It is for people who are unable to fully support themselves via substantial paid employment because they provide constant care for someone in their home.

The Carer Allowance

This is a fortnightly income supplement to help with the additional costs of caring for someone, on top of basic daily living costs.

The Carer Supplement

This is an additional annual lump sum payment that recipients of the Carer Payment or Carer Allowance receive each year.

To access these financial supports, the person being cared for must:

  • be frail aged.
  • have a severe medical condition, or
  • have a physical, intellectual, or psychological disability.


Here is more detailed information about these three payments:

For advice and assistance at any stage of your aged care journey, Aged Care Decisions can help. 


Am I eligible for the Carer Payment?

You may be eligible for the Carer Payment if you provide constant care to someone who is frail aged or is living with an illness or a disability.

The government uses medical reports to verify care needs.

To be eligible for the Carer Payment, the person receiving care must:

  • Need constant care in the home.
  • Be frail aged, have an illness or disability likely to last at least 6 months, or have a terminal illness.
  • Score high enough on the Adult Disability Assessment Determination 2018 (ADAT)

The ADAT involves two questionnaires – one answered by the carer and the other by a health professional. Responses to questions about the amount of care required for activities such as mobility, communication, hygiene, eating and cognitive and behavioural considerations, are used to calculate the ADAT score.

The Department of Social Services has produced this guide for answering the ADAT questionnaire: Answering the ADAT questionnaire | Social Security Guide (

The Carer Payment is means tested. To receive the Carer Payment, both you and the person you are caring for must meet income and asset requirements, which are adjusted each year.

Here is more information about current income and asset limits: Income and assets test for Carer Payment – Carer Payment – Services Australia

Here is more information about who is eligible for Carer Payment: Who can get Carer Payment – Carer Payment – Services Australia

Both the carer and the person receiving care must also be Australian residents.

How much is Carers Payment?


Carer Payment: there are different rates of Carer Payment for single people and couples. The payment rates change twice a year to keep up with the cost of living.

How much Carer Payment you can get – Carer Payment – Services Australia

Carer Allowance: The Carer Allowance is currently $153.50 a fortnight. This amount changes on 1 January each year to keep up with the cost of living.

Carer Supplement: A fixed rate of $600 per year is automatically paid as a Carer Supplement in addition to the Carer Payment or Carer Allowance.

The Carer Payment is a taxable Centrelink payment. Recipients can ask the tax office to set up an automatic tax deduction to help reduce the amount of tax that they must pay at the end of each financial year.

Paying tax on a Centrelink payment – Carer Payment – Services Australia


How do I apply for the Carer Payment?

You can claim the Carer Payment online via Centrelink, by following these steps:

1. Set up a MyGov account and use your Centrelink Customer Reference Number (CRN) to link your MyGov account with Centrelink: Setting up online accounts for Centrelink – Carer Payment – Services Australia

2. Prove your identity, and the identity of the person you are caring for: How to prove your identity with Centrelink – Carer Payment – Services Australia

3. Upload supporting documents to your Centrelink online account: Supporting documents for your Centrelink claim – Carer Payment – Services Australia

4. Complete extra forms as they apply to your situation: Other forms you may need to complete – Carer Payment – Carer Payment – Services Australia

After you have applied and have been approved for the Carer Payment you need to report on your income regularly and advise Centrelink if your situation changes. Here is a summary of your options and obligations while receiving the Carer Payment:

How to manage Carer Payment – Carer Payment – Services Australia


Can I work and still receive the Carer Payment?

You can work or study for up to 25 hours a week (including travel time) and still be eligible for the Carer Payment.

As the Carer Payment is means tested, you can earn a certain amount per fortnight before your payment is reduced to a part-rate payment.

You are required to regularly report income from all sources including work, investments, superannuation, scholarships, pension payments and certain assets.


What if the person I care for goes to hospital?

You can receive payments for up to 63 days if the person you care for goes into hospital, as long as you keep caring for them while they’re in hospital (e.g. running errands on their behalf and attending to their needs outside of the hospitals duties) and they are returning to your care when they are discharged.


What if I need a break, or am going on holiday?

While receiving the Carer Payment and Carer Allowance, you can have 63 days of respite each calendar year without losing your payments.

While you are having a break from caring, the person you care for can be looked after by a friend or family member or you can organise respite care for them while you are away.


Aged Care Decisions makes it easy to find respite care services when you need to care for yourself. We assist tens of thousands of families each month to navigate aged care with less stress and hassle and at ZERO cost.

Here’s how our 100% FREE service works:


Connect with Aged Care Decisions now to receive a FREE Options Report containing a list of respite care options for you or your loved one.

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