Carer Allowance & Health Care Card

A Health Care Card can help with the costs of medications.

A Health Care Card can help with the costs of medications.

Caring for a child with a chronic condition might put a strain on your family budget. To offset part of the cost of medications and therapies there is a Carer Allowance.

Carer Allowance is a supplementary payment for parents or carers who provide daily care and attention for children under 16 with a disability or severe medical condition at home.

According to Section 5 of the Medical Report a qualifier for Carer’s Allowance is “Polyarticular course Juvenile Arthritis requiring regular multi-disciplinary therapy, including immunosuppressive medication.” Patients that do not automatically qualify are assessed by a ‘functional assessment.’

  • This payment is not subject to an income test.
  • This payment is not subject to an assets test.

This payment rate is effective from 1 July 2010 is $106.70 per fortnight (this is an increase of about 1% on the 2009 rate). Your child will be issued with a health care card which will reduce the cost of medications.

According to a social worker we spoke to, Centrelink launched a few changes on 1st July last year with this allowance and it is now proving harder and harder for parents to
qualify. Where a parent may have been getting the allowance for under 10’s, once the child turns 10 a lot of parents upon review are being cut from receiving. Possibly Centrelink is working on the basis that the children are more independent and no longer require as much care and attention.

To apply
You can register an intent to claim for Carer Allowance and /or Carer Payment. This will ensure you are paid from the earliest possible date. Once you have registered your intent to claim, a Centrelink Customer Service Officer will contact you within 2 days to assist you with your claim. You can also register an intent to claim by visiting any Centrelink Customer Service Centre, or by telephoning Centrelink on 13 2717. If you cannot telephone yourself, someone else can telephone Centrelink for you, so you can register your intent to claim as soon as possible.

  • Claim for Carer Allowance and/or Carer Payment Caring for a Child under 16 years.  This form is several pages long.  There are several proof of identity documents that need to be presented when you lodge your document at Centrelink.  They will be copied and returned to you.  Your forms will all be checked.  If any of the support documents are missing the application will not be accepted so check very carefully that you have all the correct bits.
  • Medical Report – Carer Allowance for a child under 16 years – this is to be taken to your GP or specialist who will complete it and return it for you to lodge with your application – this process might take several days.

Money photo courtesy of siansparkles at Flickr Creative Commons.