A range of payments and supplements are available for carers who have a dependent child with disability or a medical condition. These help with the extra costs of services such as child care, schooling, healthcare and disability-related costs.
The costs and requirements of caring for a child with disability can be greater than for other families
There are a variety of Government payments which can support you to care for your child
These payments range from general annual lump sums to covering education and health costs
In other information guides we have covered the Carer Payment and Carer Allowance. This article outlines some additional payments which specifically support parents and carers of children with disability.
Child Disability Assistance Payment
The Child Disability Assistance Payment is an automatic annual payment given to those with the Carer Allowance to help with the costs of caring for a child with disability who is under 16 years old.
You must be receiving the Carer Allowance on 1 July each year, the beginning of the financial year, to qualify for up to $1,000 through the Child Disability Assistance Payment.
For those who share care for a child with disability the payment is split and if you care for more than one child with disability you will be given the payment for each child which qualifies you for the Carer Allowance.
The Child Disability Assistance Payment is assessed separately to the Carer Supplement and you may be able to access both.
The Carer Supplement is paid annually if you care for a person with a disability or medical condition, as long as you are receiving the Carer Payment or Carer Allowance, or similar payments through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, on 1 July each year.
You can receive up to $600 each year under the Supplement, in addition to your regular carer payments, but you may be able to receive more than one payment of the Supplement for each person which you get the Carer Allowance for.
You do not need to apply for the Carer Supplement or the Child Disability Assistance Payment. If you're eligible you'll receive the payments automatically as they are paid directly into your account
Support in educational settings
The Child Care Subsidy could help you to cover the fees of your child attending child care so that you are able to work or complete everyday tasks.
The term ‘child care’ includes centre based day care, family day care, outside school hours care and in home care.
Some child care providers or early learning centres specialise in looking after or teaching children with disability, which could provide you with some respite during the day to help you continue to be the best parent you can be.
The Child Care Subsidy is available to people who are required to pay fees at an approved child care and care for a child on at least two nights in a fortnight.
The amount of funding which you can receive through the Subsidy depends on your family’s income, the hourly rate cap for the type of child care you are using and your child’s age, as well as the hours of work, study or other recognised activity you do.
Children with disability can attend child care until the age of 18 if they require supervision and you can receive the subsidy for as long as you use child care for.
There is also an Additional Child Care Subsidy for grandparents on income support payments, people transitioning from income support payments to work, and those caring for a child who is vulnerable.
More information about how much of a child care subsidy you are eligible for is available on the Services Australia website.
If your child can’t attend a Government-run school because of their disability or geographical isolation you will also be eligible for the Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme to help you pay for distance education, boarding fees or other costs.
This Scheme and the amount of funding available depends on your situation and the type of education costs you need help with.
Carer Adjustment Payment
For families which receive a diagnosis for their child of a severe medical condition or disability, which means the child will need someone to become their unpaid carer, the Carer Adjustment Payment is given as a once off financial support.
The diagnosis should be linked to a catastrophic event such as childhood stroke, cancer, a car accident, fall, fire, poisoning, or near drowning, or be a diagnosis of Autism or a genetic condition.
The child must be under seven years old for you to be able to receive this payment and:
You must be able to get the Carer Allowance
You must have a strong need for financial help
Your child must need the care for at least two months
You can’t be getting the Carer Payment or another form of income support payment
You need to apply for the Carer Adjustment Payment within two years of the child’s diagnosis and depending on your family’s circumstances you may be eligible for up to $10,000 for each child and each catastrophic event.
For example, if two of your children are involved in a car accident you could be eligible for up to $20,000, or if one child is diagnosed with cancer and another is diagnosed with a genetic condition you could also be eligible for up to $20,000.
If you receive the Carer Allowance because you are the carer of a child with disability you will also receive a health care card allowing you to get cheaper healthcare for the child.
The Child Dental Benefits Schedule can pay part or all of the cost of dental services which your child needs, as long as they are between the age of two and 17, eligible for Medicare and you or another parent receive at least one payment from Services Australia a year.
The Essential Medical Equipment Payment could also help you to pay for your child’s medical supports needed for daily care.
Eligible supports can include heating, cooling, home dialysis machines, home ventilators or respirators, heart pumps, insulin pumps, nebulisers, infant apnoea monitors and electric wheelchair.
This Payment can provide you with $164 a year for each eligible support and you don’t need to reapply every year as the Payment will be automatically given until your child’s needs change.
To claim for medical equipment costs visit the Services Australia website.
The Companion Card (which is issued by State and Territory Governments) can help you with the cost of ticketed events and activities.
If the child you care for has a permanent disability and needs you to be with them to provide care at the event or activity they may be eligible for the Companion Card, which will pay for the cost of your ticket.
You may be eligible for the Double Orphan Pension payment if you care for a child - for at least 35 percent of the time - whose parents have both died, one parent has died and the other is not able to care for them, or they’re a refugee whose parents are not living in Australia.
The child does not have to have a disability for you to be eligible for the Double Orphan Pension, and in some situations it could support you if the parent of the child you are caring for lives in a residential aged care setting due to disability or has a psychiatric condition.
This pension is received in addition to other payments and is not taxed, making it worth $66 a fortnight.
Families who need help with the cost of living can apply for Rent Assistance and Telephone Allowance.
You need to be receiving a pension, carer payment, study allowance, parenting payment, JobSeeker Payment, other allowance or benefit to be able to receive rent assistance and how much you are eligible for depends on how much rent you pay.
There may be other requirements to receive rent assistance depending on your situation and specific rules can be found here.
The Telephone Allowance has different rules and is not given to people on a Carer Payment or Allowance but could assist you if you receive a Parenting Payment, more information is available through the Services Australia website.
Paid every three months, the Telephone Allowance can provide you with $31.40 as a basic rate or $46.40 as a full rate.
To find out what payments you are eligible for you can use the Government’s Payment and Service Finder.
Do you receive financial help to care for your child? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.