Centrelink Adult Carer Payment

Centrelink Adult Carer Payment

by Christine Hopper

Early retire and get a Centrelink Adult Carer Payment as a full time carer

When an elderly parent needs more support and care than a quick visit after work, you might be thinking to early retire to be full time carer. But what Centrelink adult Carer Payment income could the daughter expect if she gives up her paying job to take on a full time carer role? (Mostly the daughters exit the paying workforce to look after a parent full time).

On behalf of the whole Australian community, Centrelink pays fortnightly benefits to eligible carers.

Centrelink Carer Payment as fortnightly financial support

Centrelink Carer Payment provides fortnightly financial support to people who are unable to work in substantial paid employment because they provide full-time daily care to someone with a severe disability or medical condition, or to someone who is frail aged.
The care would be required for a significant period each day such that the commitment of the carer could be at least the equivalent of a normal working day.

The amount of Carer Payment depends on the income and assets of both the carer and the person receiving care. If the person being cared for is receiving a Centrelink means tested DSP or Age Pension then their financial position would not exclude their carer from eligibility for the Carer Payment.

The maximum rate of Carer Payment is equivalent to the full Age Pension rate.  The Income Test and the Assets Test are the same for the Carer Payment as for the Centrelink Age Pension and Disability Support Pension. Note that while the carer is under her Age Pension Age her accrued superannuation is treated as an exempt asset.

The Pension Supplements are payable in addition to the Carer Payment.
If you qualify for Carer Payment, you automatically receive a Pensioner Concession Card.

Respite for Centrelink Carer Payment Recipients

Carers are encouraged to maintain their links to the workforce and community by working, volunteering, studying or training. You can participate in work, including volunteer work, study or training for up to 25 hours a week including the time taken to travel, and still be eligible for Centrelink Carer Payment, as long as you continue to personally provide constant care. Any income you receive from work may affect your rate of Carer Payment.

You can take a break from caring for up to 63 days each calendar year without changes to your Carer Payment. If you stop providing care for more than 63 days your Carer Payments may be cancelled.

You are also allowed 63 additional days per calendar year if you receive Centrelink Carer Payment (caring for a person 16 years or over) and the person you are caring for is in hospital temporarily and you still help with their care.

Centrelink Carer Allowance Fortnightly Payment

Centrelink Carer Allowance is a supplementary fortnightly payment for carers providing additional daily care to an adult with a disability or medical condition, or to someone who is frail aged. Carer Allowance is free of the income and assets test, is not taxable and can be paid in addition to wages, Carer Payment or any other Centrelink payment.

Carer Allowance when caring for a person 16 years or over is paid at $118.20 per fortnight.
Adjustments to payment rates are made in line with the Consumer Price Index increases in the cost of living. Carer Allowance is adjusted on 1 January each year.

The amount of Carer Allowance you get depends on whether you are caring for more than one person or whether you are in a shared-care arrangement.

Centrelink Carer Supplement Annual Payment

If you are already receiving the Carer Payment or Carer Allowance, the Carer Supplement is an annual lump sum payment to assist carers with the costs of caring for a person with a disability or medical condition.
All Carer Allowance recipients receive a Carer Supplement of up to $600 for each eligible person in their care. Some carers could receive two or more Carer Supplements, and those receiving a part-rate of Carer Allowance under shared-care arrangements would receive a proportion of the Carer Supplement.

Centrelink Care Needs Assessment – Eligibility for a Centrelink Carer benefit

Centrelink require a Care Needs Assessment to establish eligibility for a Carer benefit. The Carer Payment and Carer Allowance are only payable in respect of people who need ‘constant care’ on a permanent or ongoing basis.

The Centrelink application process for the Carer Payment and/or Carer Allowance includes a Medical Report to certify that the person being cared for has substantial care needs arising from frailty, physical, mental or psychiatric disabilities. The Carer takes the Medical Report form to be completed and signed by an authorised medical doctor, nurse, physiotherapist or occupational therapist who knows the care recipient.

Applications for Centrelink Carer Payment and/or Carer Allowance

Applications for Centrelink Carer Payment and/or Carer Allowance must cover both the carer and the person receiving care. If carer and/or the person receiving care are not already Centrelink customers then you must start with proving your identity and Australian residency.

Applicants for the Carer Payment also need to provide information about their own financial resources for the Income Test and the Asset Test.
Care recipients who are already receiving an Age Pension or DSP do not need to provide any additional financial information. But care recipients who have substantial financial resources such as compensation payouts, must satisfy the means tests for their carer to qualify for Centrelink Carer Payments.

Help is available. Christine at Financial Care Services is experienced with Centrelink Carer Applications and the many Centrelink financial means tests.

Financial Care Services offers Short Consultations to help you see if you could get a Carer Allowance or some Carer Payment.

If you think that you might be eligible for a Carer Payment or Carer Allowance you can call Christine on 03 9808 0338 to arrange a Short Consultation, 45 minutes in person or by telephone and/or email to discuss your position. Please ask for a special ‘short consultation’ when you book your appointment.

Christine could assist you with collating your personal data, estimating how much Carer Payment you could expect to receive and completing the Centrelink forms for you to sign.

Normal hourly rate consultation fees apply for assistance with personal data collation, completing Centrelink forms and attendance at a Centrelink office with you.

If you would like further confidential, independent and professional advice about Centrelink, lifestyle or financial issues please contact Christine Hopper 03 9808 0338.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is of a general nature only and does not constitute “financial advice”. You should obtain your own personal financial advice before investing any money or moving in to any retirement village, lifestyle community or aged care facility. Financial Care Services is licensed to provide financial advice to individual clients based on their personal situations. © 2014 Financial Care Services Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
To make an appointment for professional advice, call Financial Care Services 03 9808 0338