There’s a lot of support out there – you just need to know where to look!

As well as providing subsidies for people who are living with dementia, the federal government also provides benefits and support for carers of people with dementia. So if you care for a family member or a friend who is living with dementia, it is likely that you’re eligible for some financial assistance.

Types Of Payment For Carers

There are a number of different types of payments available, depending on individual circumstances. The three most common for carers of people with dementia are the Carer Payment, Carer Allowance and Carer Supplement.

Carer Payment

This provides income support if you are unable to work because of the demands of your caring role. You might qualify if you provide constant care for someone with dementia in a private home and you aren’t apart from them for more than 25 hours a week to work. The carer payment is means-tested.

There are different rates of Carer Payment for single people and couples. The payment rates change twice a year to keep up with the cost of living.

Pension rates per fortnightSingleCouple eachCouple combinedCouple separated due to ill health
Maximum basic rate$971.50$732.30$1,464.60$971.50
Maximum pension supplement$78.40$59.10$118.20$78.40
Energy supplement$14.10$10.60$21.20$14.10

The Department of Social Services review payment rates on 20 March and 20 September each year.

Carer Allowance

This is a fortnightly income supplement for carers providing additional daily care and attention. You might qualify if you care for someone with dementia even if you work or study. There are no income or assets tests for the Carer Allowance. The payment is currently $131.90 a fortnight and the rate changes on 1 January each year to keep up with the cost of living.

Carer Supplement

This is an annual lump sum to assist with the cost of caring for a person. It is paid in addition to the Carer Payment or Carer Allowance, and you need to be in receipt of the Carer Payment or Carer Allowance to receive it. You don’t need to apply for it, the government will automatically pay it if you’re receiving the other two supplements.

The supplement is a fixed rate of $600 each year for each eligible payment – that means if you’re caring for both parents and receiving carer subsidies, you’re eligible for two Carer Supplement payments. If you are a part-time carer, you will get a part rate of the Carer Supplement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I still receive payments if someone else provides care while I have a break, or the person I provide care for goes into hospital?

Yes, with the Carer Payment and Carer Allowance, you can have 63 days of respite each calendar year without your payment stopping. You can use these days for anything, including a holiday or simply a break from caring. While you’re having a break the person getting care can:

  • be in formal respite care, at home, or elsewhere
  • be informally looked after by a friend, neighbour or family member.

You can also continue receiving your payments for up to 63 days in a calendar year if the person you provide care for is in hospital, as long as:

  • you keep caring for them while they’re there
  • they are likely to return to your care when they leave, and
  • you plan to still provide care for them when they leave hospital.

Will a change of circumstances lead changes in eligibility or the amount of money I receive?

Possibly. You must inform the Department of Human Services if you:

  • stop providing care for the person with dementia
  • start sharing the care with someone else
  • marry, or start or stop living with your partner (if they are the one you are caring for)
  • start getting more income
  • increase your assets or your investments change
  • move house
  • go to live outside Australia
  • travel overseas for a holiday
  • start doing more work or study.

You must also tell us if the person you provide care for:

  • needs less care
  • becomes in someone else’s care
  • goes temporarily into respite care or is hospitalised
  • starts getting support from the National Disability Insurance Scheme
  • goes to live outside Australia
  • travels overseas for a holiday

Need a little more support?

Caring for someone can at times be an overwhelming task, particularly in the midst of a pandemic. It’s okay to ask for some extra help, you deserve it!

If you’re looking for additional care and support for your loved one, it’s important that you take time to consider the options. Home Care is one of those options so if you haven’t already, apply for a Home Care Package. For many people with dementia, continuing to live in their own, familiar environment will be the best tonic for them.

CareAbout will help to find you a quality Home Care provider with staff who are trained specifically in dementia-care and who will take great care of your loved one.