Centrelink Information - A guide to payments and services by Levone

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									CHAPTER 11
CARING FOR SOMEONE WHO IS FRAIL AGED, ILL OR HAS A
DISABILITY
This chapter covers payments and services that Centrelink delivers to people who are caring for someone who
is frail aged, ill or has a disability, on behalf of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and
Indigenous Affairs; and the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

Payments
• Carer Payment
• Carer Allowance
• Child Disability Assistance

Carer Payment
Purpose
In some situations, adults and children with disabilities and older people need full-time care and attention to
remain in their own home. Carer Payment is a payment for carers who, because of the demands of their caring
role, are unable to support themselves by participating substantially in the workforce. Carer Payment also
allows for maximum opportunities to participate in society through respite provisions and training, education
and employment assistance.

Qualifications
To qualify for Carer Payment, a person must:
• not be receiving another income support pension or payment, or a Veterans’ Affairs Service Pension or
  Partner Service Pension at the same time
• be providing constant care to a person
• be caring for the person in the person’s own home but not required to live with the person being cared for
• be able to satisfy income and assets tests.
The person(s) needing care must:
• be aged at least 16 years and, because of a severe physical, intellectual or psychiatric disability, qualify the
  carer under the Adult Disability Assessment Tool (see “Adult Disability Assessment Tool” later in this
  chapter), or
• be a child with a profound disability aged under 16 years, or
• be two or more children aged under 16 years with a disability who, together, need a level of care that is at
  least equivalent to the level of care needed by a child with a profound disability, or
• be a person with a disability and their child (aged less than six years, or less than 16 years and attracting
  Carer Allowance), and
• need care permanently or for an extended period of at least six months (less if they have a terminal illness),
  and
• be getting a full or part income support pension or payment, or a Veterans’ Affairs Service Pension or Partner
  Service Pension, or
• be ineligible for an income support pension or payment, or a Veterans’ Affairs Service Pension or Partner
  Service Pension solely because they have not lived in Australia long enough to qualify, or
• not be getting an income support pension or payment, or a Veterans’ Affairs Service Pension or Partner
  Service Pension and satisfy specific income and assets tests.
Residence requirements
To qualify for Carer Payment the person claiming and the person who is cared for must be Australian residents
(that is, both must be living in Australia) and be one of the following:
• an Australian citizen, or
• a permanent visa holder, or
• a New Zealand citizen who was in Australia on 26 February 2001 or for 12 months in the two years
   immediately before that date, or who was assessed as “protected” before 26 February 2004, and
• present in Australia when claiming.
Newly arrived residents generally have a 104-week waiting period. There are some exemptions, including for
refugees, the holders of certain other permanent visas, Australian citizens and in some circumstances their
partners and dependent children.
For information about the 104-week waiting period see Chapter 9.
Residence requirements may be modified by International Social Security Agreements.
For information about International Social Security Agreements see Chapter 19.

Payment information
Carer Payment is paid fortnightly in arrears. If a person is paid Carer Payment on a day that does not suit them,
they can ask to have the day changed; however, if they want to change the day they are paid—called a “delivery
day”—and have a partner who gets a payment from Centrelink, the partner’s delivery day will also have to be
changed.

Income and assets
Carer Payment is paid subject to income and assets tests.
Information about the current income and assets limits is available by visiting www.centrelink.gov.au or
asking at a Centrelink Customer Service Centre for the latest rates factsheet.

Payment outside Australia
Carer Payment may be paid outside Australia during a temporary absence for up to 13 weeks. This period may
be extended if a partner carer is in a certain International Social Security Agreement country. Carers planning
to travel outside Australia for any reason must contact Centrelink before they leave to get advice about whether
conditions apply.
For more information about International Social Security Agreements see Chapter 19.

Compensation
Carer Payment may be affected if the person receives Workers’ Compensation or third party damages.
For more information see Chapter 17.

Temporary breaks in care
A person can continue to receive Carer Payment for up to 63 days each calendar year if the adult or child is
away for formal and informal respite care, as well as another 63 days if the adult or child is temporarily in
hospital. The carer should contact Centrelink on each occasion when the carer or care receiver is temporarily
absent from the care situation. Periods of less than 24 hours do not count as breaks for this purpose.
For more information call 13 2717.

Reviews
From time to time, Centrelink will undertake:
• a review of the care receiver’s medical condition and ongoing care needs
• a review of the carer’s circumstances, primarily whether they continue to provide care for the care receiver.
Other reviews are also conducted periodically, for example, annual reviews of the income and assets of care
receivers who are not Centrelink customers.

Advance payments
Carer Payment recipients may be eligible for an advance payment. This is recovered from the next 13
fortnightly payments. An advance can be paid only once in any 12‑ month period. It can be paid in two
separate instalments. To apply for an advance payment call 13 2850 or visit a Centrelink Customer Service
Centre.

Concessions and supplementary payments
People granted Carer Payment automatically receive a Pensioner Concession Card and Pharmaceutical
Allowance.
For more information see Chapter 15.

Working, volunteering or studying/training
Customers receiving Carer Payment can work, volunteer or study/train for up to 25 hours a week (including
time taken to travel) without losing their payment. A Pensioner Education Supplement and Education Entry
Payment may also be available, depending on the person’s circumstances. For Indigenous people, an
ABSTUDY Pensioner Education Supplement may be available. While Carer Payment will not stop if the carer
is working up to 25 hours a week, any income may affect the rate of payment. Customers receiving Carer
Payment may also be able to access specialised assistance such as the Employment Preparation program.

Working Credit
Support is available to people on Carer Payment if they wish to take up work. Working Credit can provide an
additional financial incentive to take up paid work by allowing people to keep more of their Carer Payment
when they start work.
For more information see Chapter 2.

How to claim
See Chapter 16.

Carer Allowance
Purpose
Carer Allowance is a supplementary payment available to parents or carers who provide daily care and
attention for adults or children with a severe disability or medical condition. Carer Allowance is free of income
or assets tests and is not taxable. This payment is indexed each January in line with Consumer Price Index
changes.
Carer Allowance may also be paid in addition to wages or other payments, such as Carer Payment and Age
Pension.

Residence requirements
To qualify for Carer Allowance the person claiming and the person who is cared for must be Australian
residents, that is, both must be living in Australia, and be one of the following:
• an Australian citizen, or
• a permanent visa holder, or
• a protected special category visa holder (that is, someone who arrived on a New Zealand passport and who
  was in Australia on 26 February 2001 or for 12 months in the two years immediately before that date, or who
  was assessed as “protected” before 26 February 2004), and
• present in Australia when claiming.

Qualifications
Carer Allowance for carers of children
A person may receive Carer Allowance if they look after a child under the age of 16 years with a disability or
severe medical condition who needs a lot of additional care or attention in their own home. A person can get
either:
• a fortnightly payment plus a Health Care Card, or
• a Health Care Card.
Important: the Health Care Card is issued in the name of the child only, and from the child’s 16th birthday
they may claim the Health Care Card in their own right. For more information about concession cards see
Chapter 15.
The level of functional disability of the child determines the carer’s eligibility to receive Carer Allowance
and/or a Health Care Card.
Parents or carers of two children who individually fall just below the qualification for Carer Allowance but
whose combined assessment meets the threshold for payment, may receive a single rate of the allowance.

Child Disability Assessment Tool
Lists of severe disabilities and chronic medical conditions (the Lists of Recognised Disabilities) allow a fast
track entry to Carer Allowance for children with more severe conditions. However, if the child’s disability or
medical condition is not on the lists, Centrelink uses the Child Disability Assessment Tool (CDAT) to assess
medical eligibility for Carer Allowance. The Child Disability Assessment Tool measures the level of severity of
a disability or medical condition by assessing whether the child’s functional ability is appropriate for their age.
The Child Disability Assessment Tool is designed to identify children with similar levels of disability, even
when the cause and type of disability differ. The Child Disability Assessment Tool is not aimed at specific
disabilities, medical conditions or particular groups.

Carer Allowance for carers of adults
A person may receive Carer Allowance (adult) if they provide daily care and attention to an adult who is frail
aged, ill or who has a disability. The care must be provided in either their home or the home of the person
receiving care.

Adult Disability Assessment Tool
Eligibility for Carer Allowance for an adult (when the person being cared for is at least 16 years old), is
measured by the Adult Disability Assessment Tool (ADAT) unless the care receiver is in the final phase of a
terminal illness. This tool measures the level of care needed by an adult as a result of his or her disability. The
Adult Disability Assessment Tool identifies people with similar levels of care needs, even when the cause and
type of disability may differ.

Payment information
Carer Allowance is paid at the end of each 14-day period from the day Centrelink lets a person know they are
eligible. The first payment is generally payable within 14 days of a claim being granted and may be backdated
to the date of lodgement and arrears paid if eligible.
If a person is paid Carer Allowance on a day that does not suit them, they can ask to have the day changed;
however, if they want to change the day they are paid—called a “delivery day”—and have a partner who gets a
payment from Centrelink, the partner’s delivery day will also have to be changed.
Arrears payments
Back payment of Carer Allowance for carers of children may be made for up to 12 weeks before the lodgement
of the claim. This arrears payment is made only for the period when all of the Carer Allowance requirements
were being met before the claim, up to a maximum of 12 weeks.
Back payment of Carer Allowance for carers of adults may be made for up to 12 weeks before the lodgement of
the claim. This arrears payment is made only for the period when all of the Carer Allowance requirements were
being met before the claim and the current care needs are attributable to an acute onset.
Centrelink cannot pay claims made after the person being cared for has died.

Payment outside Australia
Carer Allowance may be paid outside Australia during a temporary absence for up to 13 weeks. Carers thinking
of travelling outside Australia for any reason must contact Centrelink before they leave to get advice about
whether conditions apply.
For more information see Chapter 19.

Reviews
Carer Allowance for carers of children
Medical reviews are scheduled at developmental milestones for Child Disability Assessment Tool assessed
claims. These milestones are at:
• three years, four months (if Carer Allowance was granted before the child was two years old)
• four years, eight months
• seven years
• 10 years
• 13 years.
Children with recognised disabilities have a simplified process of review. The timing of the reviews is the same
as for children who qualify under the Child Disability Assessment Tool, but the review is only to ensure the
child is still receiving care and attention in the family home. These reviews may be done over the phone.

Carer Allowance for carers of adults
The person being cared for will generally be reviewed every two years. Medical reviews are not required if the
care receiver has a condition certified by a treating health professional as permanent and not likely to improve
and they have a score of 40 or above on the Adult Disability Assessment Tool (ADAT). Depending on the
customer’s circumstances, reviews may be done every two years and may be done over the phone. If a person is
receiving both Carer Allowance and Carer Payment, one review covers both payments.

Temporary breaks in care
A person can continue to get Carer Allowance for up to 63 days each calendar year if the adult or child is away
for respite care, as well as another 63 days if the adult or child is temporarily in hospital. The carer should
contact Centrelink on each occasion that the carer or care receiver is temporarily absent from the care situation.
Periods of less than 24 hours do not count as breaks for this purpose.

Bereavement provisions
For information see Chapter 12.

How to claim
See Chapter 16.
Child Disability Assistance
Purpose
Each year carers of children with a disability under the age of 16 will be paid a $1000 lump sum payment. This
can be used for assistance for the child such as going towards the cost of a wheelchair, installing a hoist in the
family home, modifying a car or for respite care or therapy.
Centrelink will make this annual payment to parents or carers who receive Carer Allowance (child) because
they are caring for a child with disability under the age of 16 on 1 July.

Eligibility
If you receive a payment of Carer Allowance for a child under 16 for a period that includes 1 July you will be
eligible for the annual payment.


Payment information
This payment will be made automatically. No separate claim is needed.


Services
•   Carers’ Associations
•   Commonwealth Carer Respite Centres
•   Employment Preparation
•   Social Work Services

Carers’ Associations
Carers’ Associations are located in each state and territory. They can provide carer-related information, support
and advice to carers, including assistance through a “1800” network. These centres also arrange professional
counselling for carers through the National Carer Counselling Program.
For more information call the Carers’ Associations on Freecall™ 1800 242 636.

Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres
Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres act as a point of contact to assist older people and people with a
disability, and their carers, with information about a wide range of community services available such as home
help, transport, counselling and residential aged care services. Centres also assist carers with emergency and
short‑ term respite care.
Carers or people needing community services can contact Centres on Freecall™ 1800 059 059.

Employment Preparation
Employment Preparation is a program managed by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace
Relations to help parents, carers and mature age (50 years and over) job seekers who have been out of the
workforce join or rejoin the workforce. Customers who may be eligible for Employment Preparation are
directed by Centrelink to Job Network providers who advise on training opportunities, skills and needs
assessment and career options. Eligible customers can also contact Job Network providers directly. Visit
www.workplace.gov.au for a list of providers.
For more information call 13 6268.
Social Work Services
Centrelink Social Workers provide professional assessment, counselling and referral to community support
services for customers who may be facing difficult personal and family situations.
For more information see Chapter 15.

How to find out more
Internet
Visit the Centrelink website at www.centrelink.gov.au

Phone
 Carer Payment, Carer Allowance, Disability         13 2717
 Support Pension, Mobility Allowance and
 Sickness Allowance

 For information on Hearing Services assistance     Freecall™ 1800 500 726

 TTY information service on Hearing Services        Freecall™ 1800 500 496
 assistance

 For Indigenous Australians                         13 6380

 Information on International Social Security       13 1673
 Agreements with other countries, payments of
 Australian benefits outside Australia, and
 claiming pensions from other countries

 To speak to Centrelink in languages other than     13 1202
 English

 Family Assistance Office                           13 6150

 For people who are deaf or have a hearing          Freecall™ 1800 810 586 A TTY phone is
 impairment                                         required to use this service. Customers can also
                                                    call the National Relay Service on 13 3677
                                                    (using a TTY phone or computer) and ask the
                                                    operator to call any local “13” or “1800” number

A full list of Centrelink phone numbers is on the back cover of this book. See Appendix 1 for Centrelink phone
numbers and Centrelink Customer Service Centre addresses listed by state/territory.
Important: calls from your home phone to Centrelink “13” numbers from anywhere in Australia are charged at
a fixed rate. That rate may vary from the price of a local call and may also vary between telephone service
providers. Calls to “1800” numbers from your home phone are free. Calls from public and mobile phones may
be timed and charged at a higher rate.

Publications
 Caring for someone?                                A guide to options, payments and services from
                                                    Centrelink to support you if you are caring for
                                                    someone who is frail aged, ill or who has a
                                                    disability

 Needing help after someone has died?               A Centrelink guide to assist people cope with
                                                    and prepare for bereavement

These publications, and information from other government and non-government organisations, are available at
www.centrelink.gov.au (under “Publications”), by calling Centrelink on the “13” numbers listed above or by
visiting a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

Audio CDs
Some publications are available on audio CD for people with vision impairment.

Multilingual publications
Some publications are available in languages other than English.


CO207.0901

								
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