Caring for my sick father

Rhonda’s question concerns whether she will be able to claim a carer’s allowance should she return from overseas to look after her father.

Q. Rhonda
I am an Australian citizen who is living abroad. I am 61 years old. My father has recently been diagnosed with lung cancer and is 85 years old. I want to return to Australia to care for him. He has been given up to only 18 months to live. Due to my age, however, I have no way of supporting myself if I go there. He is getting to the point where it is difficult for him to shop for himself etc, and he cannot take care of his home. He also recently lost his wife and is very lonely. I am wondering if I would qualify for a carer’s pension?

A. It’s always difficult arranging the right type of care for our parents and loved ones, especially when we’re not living close by.

With regards to you providing care for your father, you may be eligible for the Carer’s Payment through Centrelink. As an Australian Citizen you meet the residency requirements although you must be resident in Australia when you lodge your claim. This payment is means and asset tested. Your father also needs to meet the following criteria:

· be over 16 and getting an income support payment from Centrelink, a Veterans’ Affairs Service Pension or Partner Service Pension, or
· be unable to get any of these payments because they have not lived in Australia long enough to qualify, or
· meet the special care receiver income and assets limits, and
· be an Australian resident.

You will appreciate that this is only basic information, as your individual circumstances will need to be taken into consideration. I suggest you contact Centrelink to discuss your individual needs before you make any decision. They have dedicated international numbers depending on the country from which you are calling, (see below). You can also access basic information from their website, by clicking here

Calling from Austria: 0800 295 165
Calling from Canada: 1888 2557 493
Calling from Denmark: 8088 3556
Calling from Germany: 0800 1802 482
Calling from Greece: 0080 0611 26209
Calling from Italy: 800 781 977
Calling from the Netherlands: 0800 0224 364
Calling from New Zealand: 0800 441 248
Calling from the Philippines: 1800 1611 0046
Calling from Portugal: 800 861 122
Calling from Spain: 900 951 547
Calling from Turkey: 00 800 6190 5703
Calling from the United Kingdom: 0800 1695 865
Calling from the U.S.A: 1866 3433 086

Please Note: (These free call numbers may not be available from every location within the country, and may not be free from mobile phones or public phones. Customers may need to insert coins/card in pay phones as for a local call and this may not be refunded at the end of the call.)
To call from other countries, or if the above numbers are unavailable, try +613 6222 3455.

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