What is a carer?

YOURLifeChoices subscriber, Carol, does a fantastic job looking after her elderly parents but would like to know if she meets the criteria to be classed as a carer.

Q. Carol
Would you mind explaining to me your definition of a “carer”, as to hours that need to be spent, ability, any particular duties etc? I am caring for my two elderly parents, both 88-years old and wanting to stay in their own home, and am usually at their home anything from 8 – 10 hours per day, applying medications, meals, cleaning, showering, cleaning, gardening, appointments to doctors, and of course anything else that arises. Their medical doctor says I am doing a wonderful job, as does their physio.

A. Provided by Centrelink
In general, daily care means help with the basic activities of daily living such as mobility, bathing, feeding, grooming, treatment, communication and safety, including supervising, monitoring and/or prompting the care receiver to undertake these activities.

There are two types of assistance available for people who are carers:

Carer Payment (caring for a person 16 years or over) can provide you with income support if because of the demands of your caring role you are unable to support yourself through substantial paid employment. You may receive Carer Payment if, in the home of the person being cared for, you provide constant care on a daily basis for a person aged 16 years or over who has a severe disability or severe medical condition or who is frail aged. Here’s a link to the eligibility requirements for – Carers Payment

Carer Allowance (caring for a person 16 years or over) is a supplementary payment that may be available to you if you are a parent or carer who provides daily care and attention for a person aged 16 years or over with a physical, intellectual or psychiatric disability or someone who is frail aged. Carer Allowance is not income and asset tested and may be paid in addition to wages or other payments such as Carer Payment and Age Pension. Here’s a link to the eligibility requirements for Carer Allowance.

Without knowing your individual circumstances, it’s difficult to determine if you would be eligible for this assistance. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to contact Centrelink to test your eligibility for Carer Payment and/or Carer Allowance. You can do this by calling 13 27 17 or by visiting your local Customer Service Centre.

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