What you need to know about the Carer Allowance

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People who provide unpaid daily care for someone with disability or a significant medical condition can often be under financial pressure as caring can impact their capacity to work.

Key points

  • The Carer Allowance could be the supplement you need to care for a family member or friend with disability
  • To be eligible you and the person you care for both need to meet some criteria
  • There are other payments and supplements which you may be able to receive alongside the Carer Allowance

The Carer Allowance is an income supplement for people who work or study while also providing care to a person with disability or a medical condition.

Although very similar, the Carer Allowance is not the same as the Carer Payment, which is a type of income support payment rather than a supplement. To read about the Carer Payment visit our information guide.

Who is eligible?

To receive the Carer Allowance the person you care for must be older than 16, or younger than 16 but not the reason you receive the Carer Payment.

If the person you care for is older than 16 they must also:

  • Meet a score requirement under the Adult Disability Assessment Determination 2018
  • Be likely to have their illness or disability for at least 12 months, unless their condition is terminal
  • Receive care in their home, their carer’s home or hospital

If the person you care for is younger than 16 they must also:

You may also be eligible for the Carer Allowance if you care for two children under 16 whose needs add up to the same level of care as the above requirements.

While there is no asset test for the Carer Allowance, there is an income test, or limit, of $250,000 a year – this is the same for a single person and a couple’s income combined.

You as a carer and the person you care for must both have been Australian residents for at least a year.

How much is the Carer Allowance?

For those caring for a person with disability who is 16 or older the Carer Allowance provides $144.80 a fortnight (as at January 2023) but you don’t get a Health Care Card for discounted healthcare.

If you care for a child you could either receive just the Health Care Card, if the child has a lower level of needs, or receive $144.80 a fortnight and a Health Care Card if the child has higher needs.

If you share care of your child and you are not partnered with the person who you share the care with, the Allowance will be split between the two of you based on what portion of the care you provide.

The Carer Allowance rate is not dependent on how much you earn, as long as your earnings don’t exceed an adjusted taxable income of $250,000 in the year.

As the Carer Allowance is an income supplement, it is not part of your taxable income.

It is also possible to receive the Carer Allowance for more than one person at the same time, as long as each person you care for meets the eligibility criteria.

How can I claim it?

The easiest way to apply for the Carer Allowance is to use your online MyGov account or app, by clicking on the Centrelink section, then ‘make a claim or view claim status’ and ‘get started’.

If you can’t apply online you can also apply over the phone by calling 13 27 17, or visit a Services Australia centre.

You may need to provide information about the person you are caring for, such as medical reports outlining their illness or disability and a care needs assessment or a review of the care you provide.

The specific information that you need to provide will be requested during the claims process.

What other support works with the Carer Allowance?

The Carer Supplement is an annual payment of $600 made directly into your bank account at the beginning of the financial year.

You don’t have to apply for this payment as Services Australia automatically assesses whether you should receive it or not based on whether you are receiving the Carer Allowance on 1 July each year.

You can receive more than one Supplement payment if you have the Carer Allowance to care for more than one person, in which case a Supplement is given to you for each person you receive the Allowance for.

More information about other payments is available in our guide to the Carer Payment.

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