It’s good to know that apart from providing subsidies for people with dementia, the federal government also provides benefits for carers of people with dementia. So if you care for a family member or a friend with dementia, you may be eligible for assistance.

Types of payment to 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:

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$814.00$613.30$1,227.20$814.00
Maximum pension supplement$66.30$50.00$100.00$66.30
Energy supplement$14.10$10.60$21.20$14.10
Total$894.40$674.20$1,348.40$894.40

 

For more information see Carer Payment.

Carer Allowance:

This is a 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 is no income or assets tests for Carer Allowance. The payment is currently $127.10 each fortnight and the rate changes on 1 January each year to keep up with the cost of living.

For more information see Carer Allowance.

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.

The supplement is a fixed rate of $600 each year for each eligible payment. It can be received more than once i.e. each year you are a carer. If you are a part-time carer, you will get a part rate of the Carer Supplement.

For more information see Carer Supplement.

FAQs

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

Support and care

If you’re looking for care and support for your loved one, it’s important that you take time to consider all options. Home Care is one of those options. For many people with dementia, continuing to live in their own, familiar environment will be the best tonic for them. CareAbout can match you with a home care provider that specialises in dementia-care trained staff and meets your individual needs.

If you’re considering an Aged Care Home, make sure you compare homes who provide specialist dementia care. CareAbout has a free online tool to compare the specialities of different Aged Care Homes and their fees and charges. Or speak to an aged care specialist at CareAbout on 1300 577 245