Are you a carer?

Most of the care for older Australians is provided on an informal basis by friends, family and other volunteers. This generally helps people stay in their home longer, but can create complications for the person providing the care.

A range of support services are available for the carers.

Did you know?

Some facts about carers:

  • There are over 2.6 million informal carers providing assistance to disabled and older Australians – around 750,000 are primary carers.
  • Of the carers who look after a person over age 65, 69 per cent are the spouse/partner and 24 per cent are a child.
  • The number of hours care provided by a primary carer varies. More than 40 per cent of primary carers spend more than 40 hours a week providing care.

Source: Caring for Older Australians, Productivity Commission Inquiry Report, 28 June 2011.


What if I need a break?

The government subsidises respite care in residential care services. This allows the person you care for to move into residential care for a short period of time to give you a break from your normal care activities.

You might need a break because:

you are going on a holiday
you have other commitments which prevent you from providing the care
the person you are caring for has suffered an illness or injury and needs more specialised care for a short period
you have suffered an illness or injury and are unable to provide care for a short period.

Or perhaps you just need a break!

The steps to access respite care are:

The steps to access respite care

If approved by an Aged Care Assessment Team/Service (ACAT/ACAS) up to 63 days of respite care in a financial year is available. If a longer period is needed, you can apply for an additional 21 days of care. These extra days need to be approved.

Can I get financial support to help me provide care

If you are not able to work because you are looking after someone else, you may be eligible for the Carer Payment from Centrelink.

To qualify for a Carer Payment you must be providing constant care for a person who has a physical, intellectual or psychiatric disability. The person being cared for must:

meet the care receiver income and assets tests (these are specific tests for the Carer Payment), or
be assessed with a high level of disability and receive an income support payment from Centrelink or a service pension from Veterans’ Affairs (unless they do not qualify due to residency requirements)

You don’t have to live in the same house as the person you are caring for, but you must provide constant care in their home.

The Carer Payment pays the same amount of money as the Age Pension and gives access to the same concessions, including the Pension Concession Card. How much of the payment you receive will depend on your personal level of assessable assets and income.


Olga and Ashley

Olga receives the Age Pension. She needs significant amounts of care so her son, Ashley, has given up his job and moved in with Olga to care for her.

Ashley has low levels of income and assets so he qualifies for the Carer Payment to provide him with an income. He also receives the Pension Concession Card to qualify for discounts such as pharmaceuticals.

This article is prepared by the strategy specialists at Aged Care Steps, a company supporting financial planning advisers who provide planning advice for aged care. To find a professional adviser who specialises in aged care advice go to and click on the Find an Adviser link.

Support for carers

Care looking after someone by holding their hands

Support for carers

The Australian Government has a range of programs and initiatives which support carers.