3.6.4.70 Changes to carer situation - effect on CP qualification

Carer (1.1.C.40) attending educational institution/training course

Participation in education or training does NOT impact on the carer's qualification for CP, UNLESS the cessation of care in order to undertake the education or training (including the carer's travel time and meal breaks) exceeds 25 hours per week.

The absence from care is calculated from the start of the care cessation until the carer returns to the caring role. The calculation considers the time the carer is absent from providing care, therefore travel time and meal breaks are included.

Example 1: Kimberly cares for her mother full time in the family home. Kimberly is undertaking an online university degree which she does when not providing care to her mother. The course requirements necessitate her to attend classes twice a year in block sessions on campus. Each session is for 10 days. Kimberly can utilise her 63 days temporary cessation of care provisions to attend these sessions. Kimberly remains qualified for CP as long as she does not exceed 63 days temporary cessation of care days.

Example 2: Jeffery cares for his brother James every day. Jeffery commenced a TAFE course which he attends 3 days a week. Jeffery ceases caring for a total of 20 hours per week (including travel time and meal breaks). Jeffery remains qualified for CP as he has not exceeded being away from his caring role for more than 25 hours a week.

Study undertaken in the home (such as online education) within the care situation does not impact on qualification, provided it is consistent with the care receiver's (1.1.C.20) need for frequent personal care or constant supervision (1.1.C.310).

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.6.4.40 Qualification for CP during temporary cessation of care, 3.6.4.150 Continuation, Variation or Termination of CP

Carer in employment/voluntary work

Paid employment or unpaid voluntary work does not impact on the carer's qualification for CP, UNLESS the cessation of care in order to undertake the paid employment or voluntary work (including the carer's travel time and meal breaks) exceeds 25 hours per week. However, any income earned may affect the rate of payment.

The absence from care is calculated from the start of the care cessation until the carer returns to the caring role. The calculation considers the time the carer is absent from providing care, therefore travel time and meal breaks are included.

Example 1: Richard cares for his daughter in her home every day. From 3pm to 6pm Monday to Friday Richard has a telemarketing job with a local business. Richard ceases caring to undertake work for 16 hours and 40 minutes (including travelling time and meal breaks) each week. Richard remains qualified for CP but his rate of payment is reduced because of his income.

Example 2: Greg is a single parent and cares for his son Zac, aged 18, who has Down Syndrome. Greg works as a truck driver for a delivery company for a total of 30 hours each week. Greg takes Zac with him while he is working therefore Zac is in his care at all times. Greg remains qualified for CP but his rate of payment is reduced because of his income.

Employment in the home within the care situation does not impact on qualification, provided it is consistent with the care receiver's need for frequent personal care or constant supervision.

Example: Jane cares for her aunt in her aunt's home. Jane uses a room in her aunt's house to make craft items that she sells through mail orders. Jane only attends to her business when she is not providing care for her aunt and can stop doing craftwork or packing orders at any time that her aunt needs her.

Carer ceasing to provide constant care for more than 25 hours per week

If a carer ceases care provision for more than 25 hours per week to participate in training, education, employment or voluntary work, qualification should be reviewed as they may no longer satisfy the constant care criteria.

Where the cessation of care for more than 25 hours is regular and ongoing, the carer is not considered to be providing the constant care required to qualify for CP and payment is cancelled. In one-off or irregular circumstances the carer can elect to use seven temporary cessation of care days to cover the week where the 25 hours was exceeded and retain CP qualification. The absence from care is calculated from the start of the care cessation until the carer returns to the caring role. Travel time and meal breaks are included in the calculation of the care cessation.

Example: Maria cares for her husband, Joe, and works 3 days each week from 8am to 4pm each day, with a half hour lunch break. Maria receives a lift from a colleague for the half hour trip to and from work, and leaves home at 7:30am and returns at 4:30pm. Because Maria ceases caring to participate in employment for 27 hours each week (including lunch breaks and travel time), her CP eligibility is reviewed. The review establishes the care cessation to participate in employment is a regular and ongoing arrangement, therefore Maria is not considered to be providing constant care and she ceases to qualify for CP.

Example: Kevin cares for his partner Helen, and for 12 hours each week he volunteers at the local Men's Shed, repairing toys and bikes for children in need. Before Christmas and Easter Kevin volunteers for up to 30 hours a week to help out with the increased demand for repairs. As Kevin ceases caring for more than 25 hours a week his qualification for CP is reviewed. The review establishes these occurrences are sporadic and occur infrequently, therefore Kevin can choose to use 7 of his temporary cessation of care days to cover the week and remain qualified for CP.

A decision to cancel payment must be made under SSAct section 197B, 197C, 197D, 197E, 197F, 197G, 197H, 197J or 198 NOT 198AC.

The carer may qualify for an EdEP depending on their circumstances.

Act reference: SSAct section 197A Overview-circumstances in which person is qualified for CP, section 198 Qualification-disabled adult or disabled adult and dependent child, section 665ZFA Payment to a CP recipient, section 198AC Effect of cessation of care etc. on CP

SSAct pre-1 July 2008 section 664HA Carer pension recipients

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.6.4.40 Qualification for CP during temporary cessation of care, 3.8.6.20 Qualification for EdEP - WidB, PPS, DSP, CP & SpB

Carer ceases to participate in the care of a care receiver who is in hospital

A carer qualifies for CP for a care receiver who is in hospital provided the carer continues to participate in the care of a care receiver who is in hospital, AND continues to meet all other qualification criteria.

If the carer cannot participate in the care of the care receiver in hospital they may use the balance of their 63 day temporary cessation of care entitlement to remain qualified for CP. This temporary cessation of care entitlement may be extended in special circumstances - see 3.6.4.40 for further information.

Act reference: SSAct section 198AA Qualification for CP-hospitalisation

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.6.4.40 Qualification for CP during temporary cessation of care, 3.6.4.50 Qualification for CP during Temporary Absence from the Private Home - Hospitalisation

Carer ceases to have a care receiver or a combination of care receivers in their care in an exchanged care situation

For exchanged care (1.1.E.162), a carer must have a parenting plan or parenting order, which outlines which care receiver or combination of care receivers (which may include a disabled adult) they should have in their care. The carer must have a care receiver or a combination of care receivers for which they are qualified for CP in their care at all times. If a carer no longer has a care receiver or a combination of care receivers for which they are qualified for CP in their care they no longer qualify for CP, unless they are utilising the temporary cessation of care provisions. Payment may be regranted when the carer resumes care for a care receiver or a combination of care receivers for which they are qualified for CP.

Act reference: SSAct section 197F Qualification-exchanged care of children

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.6.4.37 Qualification for CP (child) - Exchanged Care

Working credit participants

A CP recipient who has a working credit balance and who ceases to provide constant care for more than 25 hours a week and part or all of the cessation is due to taking up or increasing paid work, is treated as still being qualified for the period it takes to run down their working credit balance. This allows the person to benefit from their working credit balance, and assist them transition to work.

This treatment will continue until the earliest of:

  • their working credit balance is reduced to nil, or
  • qualification (other than related to the employment) is lost, or
  • payability (other than related to employment income) is lost.

Act reference: SSAct section 1073J Working credit balance prevents loss of qualification in certain cases

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.11.30 Working credit depletion

Overseas travel

A carer can be paid CP during a temporary absence from Australia to travel overseas for up to 6 weeks. Carers travelling without the care receiver will need to use temporary cessation of care days to cover the period they are away. CP is suspended if the period of overseas absence exceeds 6 weeks or their temporary cessation of care days are exhausted. If the carer remains outside Australia for a further 13 weeks following the suspension, CP will be cancelled and the carer would need to reapply for payment on their return to Australia.

Note: Care receivers on certain income support payments may be paid for up to 6 weeks for temporary overseas absences. Care receivers on certain other payments such as Age may be paid indefinitely whilst overseas.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.6.4.80 Qualification for CP during Overseas Travel, 7.1.2.20 Application of portability rules (portability table)

Last reviewed: 11 November 2019