Can I work and still get the Carer Allowance?
There is no income or asset test for the Carer Allowance and it is tax-free, so you can work or be on a pension and still be eligible.
To make a claim, you will need to provide proof of identity for yourself and for the person being cared for.
How much care must I provide to qualify?
You may receive Carer Allowance (caring for a person 16 years or over) if:
- you are looking after a person aged 16 years or over who has a disability, medical condition or who is frail aged and needs a lot of care and attention on a daily basis, and
- you provide the care for that person in either your home or the home of that person.
You may qualify for Carer Allowance for two, but no more than two, disabled adults.
What conditions apply?
You and the person you care for must be an Australian resident and allowed to live here permanently, and you both must live in Australia. You are eligible for up to 63 days of respite per calendar year without your Carer Allowance being stopped. If the person you are caring for is temporarily in hospital, there is a separate allocation of up to 63 days per calendar year where you can continue to receive the Carer Allowance. If a longer stay in hospital is required, you can add your allocation of respite days to the hospitalisation days and continue to receive the Carer Allowance.
You can register an intent to claim for Carer Allowance (caring for a person 16 years or over) as soon as possible.
You should then submit your claim for Carer Allowance within 14 days so that we can pay you from the earliest possible date.
Claim forms to complete
The following steps will help you obtain a claim form to suit your personal circumstances.
Contact Centrelink on 13 2717 or visit a Centrelink Customer Service Centre and our staff will ask you some questions to determine your circumstances and issue you with the appropriate claim forms.
Read the information attached to your claim form. This contains important information you need to know, including the privacy notice, before you lodge your claim for Carer Allowance.
Returning your forms
Return your completed forms, proof of identity for yourself, your partner (if you have one) and for the person being cared for, medical reports and any other documents we have asked for to your nearest Centrelink Customer Service Centre.
Note: To authorise a person to act on your behalf when dealing with Centrelink, or who can receive your payments, refer to someone to deal with Centrelink for you.
We will send you a letter advising if your claim is successful. If you are eligible for Carer Allowance, the letter will tell you when your payment starts and how much you will get paid.
What if my claim is unsuccessful?
You always have the right to appeal any decision made by Centrelink.
If you need assistance with a review or an appeal, contact:
your nearest community legal centre by checking the White Pages in your telephone book, by calling the Combined Community Legal Centres Group on 02 9212 7333, or www.nswclc.org.au.
- the Welfare Rights Centre
TTY (02) 9211 0238 (for those with a hearing or speech impairment)
Telephone: 13 27 17
TTY: 1800 810 586 (for those with a hearing or speech impairment)
Most Centrelink offices have interpreters available at regular times each week. Your local Centrelink office can tell you whether there is an interpreter available who speaks your language, and at what times they are in the office.
You can telephone the Multilingual Telephone Information Service (MTI), which is part of Centrelink. MTI is staffed by Centrelink officers who are bilingual. You can ring them directly on 13 12 02 and they can answer your questions for you.
You can also call the Telephone Interpreter Service (TIS) on 13 14 50 and ask for an interpreter. This is a free service.
For hints on how to apply, see our newsletter article Applying for the Carer Allowance.
For information on reviews and appeals, see our Fact Sheet Complaints to Services.
You may be eligible for other financial assistance: see our Fact Sheet Money Management for more information.What next?
If you would like to discuss the issues raised in this Fact Sheet you may like to try:
- checking out our Services Directory to find the local services that may be able to assist you as a working carer
- contacting Carers Australia on 1800 242 636 for information, support, referral and advice about your caring role and services that can assist you. If English is not your first language and you need assistance in talking with the Centre, contact the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131450.
- subscribing to our monthly newsletter, Work 'n' Care, for regular information and support regarding the issues facing working carers.
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