The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia. Determining a respite care couple


A couple is considered to be a ‘respite care couple’ where one member of the couple is receiving approved respite care in a nursing home (1.1.N.140) or hostel (1.1.H.90) that receives a Commonwealth subsidy. Legislation administered by the Department of Health and Aged Care places a limit of 63 days respite care each financial year for a claimant/recipient in a particular facility.


Respite care couples will be assessed against the respite care rate (this is paid the same as the single rate) of payment applicable. However, the amount paid takes into account the combined income and assets of both members of a respite care couple.

Verification required

A statement of admission from a nursing home or hostel can be accepted as verification of admission and the provision of approved respite care.

All nursing homes and hostels that receive a Commonwealth subsidy for the provision of respite care are required to issue each recipient/applicant with a statement on the day of admission setting out details of the anticipated length of admission.

If a recipient/applicant does NOT have a statement from a nursing home or hostel it is necessary to verify:

  • the date of admission and discharge, AND
  • that the nursing home or hostel is one that receives an Commonwealth subsidy.

Act reference: SSAct section 4(8) Respite care couple

Policy reference: SS Guide 2.2.5 Verifying membership of a couple, Determining an illness separated couple

Last reviewed: