How is Financial Life of Carers in Australia



Carers provide an essential service that is often underestimated and undervalued. With approximately 2.65 million carers active across Australia, carers make up almost 11% of the population. Whether you’ve just started caring for a friend or family member or have been taking care of a loved one’s daily needs for many years now, it’s important to know what support you are entitled to. The Carers Pension Centrelink is just one of many services put together by the Australian government to help carers. Find out about the range of support services that could help you right here.

Who is Classed as a Carer?

Carers provide unpaid care to friends and family members who have a medical condition, disability, are frail aged or suffer from a chronic condition. Carers provide invaluable support, helping the person they care for with day to day activities. This can include:

Showering, toileting and other personal hygiene requirements
Cooking, feeding and food shopping
Housework and garden maintenance
Finances and banking
Emotional support
Attending medical appointments and liaising with medical practitioners

What is Centrelink?

Part of Services Australia, Centrelink is a government department that deals with providing payments and services on behalf of various government programs. You can contact Centrelink online or via phone to find out if you are eligible for any payments or other services, including carers pension.

In order to process your request, you will need to have valid proof of your identity and to answer the relevant questions for your situation, as well as being able to provide the requested accompanying documentation.

What Financial Help is Available for Carers?

If you are caring for someone, you may be eligible for one or more of the following payments.

Carer Payment

To receive the Carer Payment, both the person who is being cared for and the carer must be eligible. Medical reports are used to verify care needs and your application is subject to residence rules, as well as income and asset tests for both yourself and the person you care for. Carer Payments are made fortnightly or you can apply for weekly payments if you are having financial difficulties. The amount you are paid is subject to your relationship status.

Carer Allowance

The Carer Allowance is available if you give daily care to someone who has a disability, medical condition or is frail aged. The person you are caring for will need to score a certain amount on the assessment tools. Carers Allowance is income tested but not asset tested and takes the form of a fortnightly payment.

Carer Supplement

The Carer Supplement takes the form of a yearly extra payment. It can be up to $600. You do not need to apply for this payment, you will be automatically considered as long as you receive certain payments including Carer Allowance and Carer Payment.

Other Financial Assistance Packages

Find out about other available financial aids, general eligibility and more about Carers Pension Centrelink by clicking on the link. Medically required cooling or heating, incontinence aids and caring for children with disabilities may entitle you to extra payments to cover your expenses.

Carer Payment and Age Pension

If you are over the Age Pension age and are caring for someone, you can normally choose between receiving Carer Payment or Age Pension. Services Australia has an in-depth page dedicated to helping you understand the differences between the two payments so you can decide which one is best for your circumstances.

Note that while there are plenty of similarities, there are some notable differences, especially if you get Carer Allowance and Age Pension. We recommend reading through all of the details given in the link above and contacting your local carers support network for some advice if you are uncertain whether you should switch to Age Pension from Carer Payment.

What Other Types of Support are Available?

There are numerous support services aimed at helping to support unpaid carers. You can access these services via the Australian Carer Gateway website. Getting in touch with Carer Gateway service providers enables you to receive professional advice and to be directed to a variety of local services and support groups.

Carer Gateway can help you to find out more about the following types of carer support:

Emergency respite care
Support groups
Online skills courses
Support packages
Government support projects

Can I Take a Break from Caring?

Carers receiving Carer Allowance are entitled to up to 63 days of respite per calendar year without payments being stopped. This allows carers to spend some time taking a break, be it going on holiday or taking some time out for themselves.

If the person you are caring for leaves Australia temporarily, you will continue to earn Carers Allowance until they return or if you run out of respite days, whichever happens first. If you temporarily leave the country with the person you are caring for, you will get Carer Allowance for 6 weeks. Alternatively, if you temporarily leave the country without the person you are caring for, you will receive Carers Allowance for 6 weeks or until you run out of respite days, whichever occurs sooner.

What is a Grandparent Carer?

If you provide care for your grandchildren, you may be eligible for financial assistance with child care fees, health care and the cost of raising children. You can find out if you are eligible for payment using your Centrelink online account. Grandparent carers may also be eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A and Part B.


Being a carer can be challenging at times, especially when you’re also struggling with difficulties in other roles in your day-to-day life. Carers Australia is here to help you to find the support that you need to best look after the person that you’re caring for. We actively lobby and advocate on a wide range of career-related policies to ensure that all carers have the same rights and opportunities as other Australians while helping to develop policies, events and services to better support them.