Carers can get some financial help (if you can find your way through the Centrelink labryinth)
Many carers are not aware that they may be eligible to receive a carers allowance of $136.50 a fortnight through Centrelink - they may even receive double this amount if they are caring for two adults. There is no asset test for the carers allowance and there is a generous income test. The carer does not necessarily need to reside with the person they care for, but they do need to be providing care every day, totalling at least 20 hours a week. It is necessary for the care recipient to be assessed by a doctor as requiring a reasonably high level of care.
Receiving a carers allowance does not preclude the person being cared for receiving home care through the Commonwealth Home Support Program or a Home Care Package. Some carers may be eligible for the carers payment which is an income and asset-tested income support payment, payable at similar levels to other income support payments such as the aged care pension.
If you are caring for someone for more than 20 hours a week, then it is worthwhile to explore if you are eligible for the carers allowance, or even a carers payment. This is much easier to do online if you have already established a MyGov account. An alternative is to visit a Centrelink office to get a staff member to assist you.
For more information on financial and other supports for carers, contact Carers Gateway (1800 422 737).
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