Carelink, a division of the Department of Human Services for the Australian Government provides support to carers in the form of a Carer Allowance. This is a supplementary payment for individuals who give people with disabilities, frailties, sickness or aging issues, care and attention at the sacrifice of other areas in their life.
Eligibility for Carers Allowance:
To be eligible for the Australian Carelink Carers Allowance you must be able to prove that you are providing daily care for a dependent child less than sixteen years with a medical condition or disability, and the child must reside with you. You are also eligible if you have more than one child that has disabilities that amount to being a substantial caring responsibility, even if you only have one child.
The supplement is also intended to provide additional daily care for a person over sixteen who has a medical condition or illness and who is frail or aged either in your home, or the home of the person that you are caring for.
The Carer is not required to go through income or asset tests. This is a payment that can be paid in addition to wages or other income support payment such as the Australian Age pension.
If it is a child that is being looked after, the child must suffer from one of the disabilities on a special list that is posted here at the Australian Guide to Social Security Law on the Australian government website at http://guidesacts.fahcsia.gov.au/guides_acts/ssg/ssguide-1/ssguide-1.1/ssguide-1.1.r/ssguide-1.1.r.90.html.
Care givers for children must meet the resident requirements and be receiving care in a home or a hospital. The condition must also be a permanent one or be suffered from for an extended period of at least twelve months.
When you apply for Carer Allowance inquire to see if you can qualify to receive backdated payments. You might be able to receive up to twelve weeks of support. Often this is the case if the disability was caused by an acute event such as a stroke, brain injury or car accident.
Carer Allowance Payment Rates
The Carer Allowance payment rate applies when caring for a child under sixteen years. The child receives a Health Care Card and a fortnightly payment of $115.40. Sometimes only a Health Care Card is issued depending on the child’s problem.
Every year the payment is adjusted to match the cost of living in Australia. It is adjusted to be in accordance with the Consumer Price Index on January 1 every year. The amount of allowance that you get depends on whether you are caring for more than one person or whether or not you are sharing the care.
Other Facts About Carer Allowance Rates
If you find yourself in a situation where you are looking after a child because a child is diagnosed with a catastrophic illness, medical condition or disability then you may qualify for a Carer adjustment payment. This is the situation where the child required full time care for at least two months. The claim for this must be put into Centrelink within two years of the date of the diagnosis or onset of the major disability.
You can get this one-time benefit as the result of catastrophes such as a car accident, stroke, diagnosis of cancer, fall, burns from fire, poisoning, near drowning or other type of terrible accident that leads to the need for emergency funding. The maximum amount that you can receive as part of a Carer Adjustment Payment is $10,000 and whether or not you get this amount is dependent on a review of your family’s situation.
Carer Allowances of all types are non-taxable payments.
To be eligible for Carer Allowance you do have to be an Australian resident and meet resident requirements. For more information about Australian resident requirements visit the Australian Government Residence descriptions page at http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/residence-descriptions.
You must also be physically present in Australia or your claim will not be approved and processed.
If you are applying for a Carer Allowance it can signify that you might be entitled to other payments and benefits as well including an age pension, a carer adjustment payment, a carer supplement, child disability assistant payment, ex-carer Allowance Health Care Card, a Health Care Card and a Parenting Payment. You can find out all of the information that you need to know at http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/carer-allowance.