Depending on your circumstances, the Australian Government has several types of payment and financial supports carers may be eligible for, including special schemes if you are a veteran or an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
A great place to start looking for information is on the Carer Gateway website or phone 1800 422 737. Read more about the new Carer Gateway carer support system starting on the 6th of March 2020.
National Government assistance
Carer Payment is an income support payment if you are unable to work because of your caring role, to someone who has a severe disability, illness, or an adult who is frail aged. This payment is income and assets tested.
Carer Allowance is a fortnightly income supplement for parents or carers providing additional daily care and attention to an adult or dependent child with disability or a medical condition, or to someone who is frail aged. From 20 September 2018 you’ll need to meet an income test to get Carer Allowance, which will be $250,000 a year. This income test will help to fund new services for all carers (such as a national phone line, online counselling services, online peer support, online coaching resources and educational resources).
Carer Supplement is an annual lump sum payment paid to all recipients of a Carer Payment or Carer Allowance.
Carer Adjustment Payment is a one off payment to help families deal with the increased costs of caring for a child younger than 7 years old who has had a sudden and severe illness or accident.
Child Disability Assistance Payment is an annual lump sum payment to help parents with the costs of caring for a child with disability.
Pensioner Education Supplement helps students with the ongoing costs of full time or part time study in a secondary or tertiary course. You can get the supplement if you meet study rules and are receiving payments either from Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
Rent Assistance a regular extra payment if you pay rent and get certain payments from Centrelink.
The Continence Aids Payment Scheme helps eligible people with permanent and severe incontinence to pay for incontinence products.
The Essential Medical Equipment Payment helps with the additional costs of running essential medical equipment, medically required heating or cooling, or both.
ACT Government assistance
ACT Equipment Scheme offers funding to assist eligible ACT residents with a long term disability to obtain and maintain a range of equipment in order to assist mobility, safety and general physical ability to live at home.
The ACT Secondary Bursary Scheme provides financial assistance to low income families for education expenses of students in years 7-10 in public and non-government schools. The scheme also covers the Canberra Institute of Technology or approved home schooling where students are of the age that would be enrolled in years 7-10.
The Companion Card is issued to people who have a significant, lifelong need for high level of care to participate in community based activities. The Companion Card allows a person’s carer free entry into participating venues and events.
NSW Companion Card
Other government and community support services
There are a range of other organisations that provide support services and useful information you may find helpful.
You can use Payment and Service Finder to locate assistance in your local area.
Care Inc. is a community organisation that offers a free financial counselling service to people on low incomes in the ACT
MoneySmart financial guidance offers tips for carers on a range of money management topics
National Debt Helpline Professional financial counsellors offer a free, independent and confidential service to help get you back on track.