CA can be shared by 2 people, who are not members of the same couple, who regularly share the care for the same care receiver/s, provided the Secretary is satisfied they both meet the qualification criteria for CA.
The Secretary must make a declaration under SSAct section 981 specifying the share of CA that each of the carers is to receive if more than one carer claims CA for the same care receiver. Until a second carer claims and a determination is made under section 981 the first carer will remain entitled to 100% of the maximum rate of CA. The determination takes effect from the date of the declaration. There are no backdating provisions for shared care and no arrears can apply.
Each carer will receive the proportional rate of CA specified in the determination. This may be calculated on the basis of the amount of care provided because of the disability or the proportion agreed by the carers. When care is shared, the proportion of care provided by all the carers must total 100% for any of them to be eligible for CA.
The second carer only has to complete an abridged claim for CA. The care receiver does not have to be assessed a second time for CA (child) against the list of recognised disabilities (1.1.R.90) or the DCLA (1.1.D.170), OR for CA (adult) against the ADAT (1.1.A.78).
Example 1: Robert and Marcia are separated, but share the care of their daughter Marie, who has a disability. Marie lives with her mother one week and her father the next. Each parent provides care for Marie, related to her disability, while she is in their care. Robert and Marcia claim CA in respect of their daughter. A declaration would be made that the CA is split equally 50:50 between them.
If, Robert and Marcia reconcile, CA will no longer be payable to both partners. A new declaration will need to be made to determine who is the primary carer and they will be entitled to receive the full rate of CA.
Example 2: Betty and Barbara are sisters who live with their father Alan, in the family home. Both provide daily care and attention to Alan due to his disability. Betty cares for Alan 16 hours during the day, and Barbara cares for him at night time. Both Betty and Barbara claim for CA in respect of Alan. A declaration will be made that the CA is split between Betty and Barbara in the proportion of care they provide. That is, Betty receives 67% and Barbara receives 33%.
If Betty moves out of the family home she is not entitled to continue to receive a shared rate of CA as CA cannot be shared by a non co-resident carer and a co-resident carer.
Example 3: David and Mary have a son, Michael, who has Down Syndrome. Mary provides care each morning and David provides care in the evenings. Because David and Mary are a couple only one of them can be paid CA. Mary claims and is granted full rate CA for the care provided to Michael.
Where care is shared, it is important that the care receiver receives care and attention because of the disability, from EACH carer. If either carer does not meet this requirement, then they do not qualify for a share of CA payment.
Example: Anthony and Jacqui are divorced, but share the care of their son Matthew, who has a disability. Matthew lives with his mother during the week and with his father on the weekend. Jacqui provides care related to Matthew's disability during the week and performs his physiotherapy on Saturday morning before he goes with Anthony and again on Sunday night when he returns. Although Anthony provides normal parental care to Matthew, he does not provide care because of the disability. Anthony does not qualify for CA, and Jacqui will be paid the full CA rate.
Act reference: SSAct section 965 Carer allowance not payable to more than one member of a couple, section 981 Secretary may make declaration where 2 people are qualified for carer allowance for the same care receiver or care receivers, section 964 Carer allowance not payable to 2 people for the same care receiver or care receivers unless declaration made
Carers who qualify for CA because of the combined DCLA scores of 2 children, can share the CA payment if BOTH share the care of BOTH children. In these cases a declaration can be made that CA is to be shared between 2 carers.
Example: Jack shares care of his 2 children with his former partner Robyn, each child has a disability that meets the criteria for CA due to their combined DCLA score. Daily care and attention is provided to each child because of the disability when they are in each of their parent's care. Both children live with Jack and Robyn on alternative weeks. If both claim CA they would share the payment in proportion to the average amount of care provided to both children.
If care of only ONE of the children is shared, the person with care of one child will not qualify for CA. The person with care of both children will receive the full rate of CA. CA is paid in the same proportion as the average of the care each carer provides to each child.
Example: Julie and David are separated and only share the care of one of their 2 children, Sally and Lucy. Sally stays with David every weekend. Each child has a disability that meets the criteria for CA due to their combined DCLA score. Each child receives care and attention due to their disability on a daily basis. As David has not claimed Julie will receive the full rate of CA.
When a person provides shared care (less than 100% of the care), they will be entitled to 100% of the CA rate until such time as the other carer claims CA, provided all eligibility criteria are met. It is important to ascertain that the care receiver is receiving care and attention on a daily basis.
Example 1: Jane and her sister Karen share the care of their mother who has paraplegia. Jane provides care 5 days a week and Karen the other 2 days. Jane claims CA, but Karen has not lodged a claim. Given that their mother is being provided with care and attention on a daily basis and that all the other qualifying criteria have been met, Jane would be entitled to 100% of the CA rate even though she does not provide 100% of the care. If Karen were to lodge a claim for her share of CA, Jane's portion of CA would have to be reduced by the proportion of care provided by Karen. Jane and Karen would receive no more than 100% of the rate payable.
Where there are more than 2 carers providing care, CA may only be paid to one or 2 carers caring for the same care receiver, even if those carers are not providing 100% of the care in that fortnight. Where there are 3 or more carers caring for the same care receiver, and 2 of them are receiving a share of CA, those 2 carers do not lose their qualification or payability for CA just because there is a third person providing care as long as together they continue to meet the daily care and attention requirements.
Example: Mary, Sue and Kate share the care of their mother who has a disability. Mary and Sue claim CA. Mary provides care to her mother each morning and Sue and Kate provide care to their mother on alternate evenings. Given that their mother is receiving care and attention together from Mary and Sue on a daily basis, and that all the other qualifying criteria have been met, Mary and Sue would be entitled to share 100% of the CA rate even though Kate provides some of the care.
Where care is provided on a regular rotating basis (e.g. one month about) for the same care receiver, CA can be shared.
Example: Marcus and Sam decide to share the care of their mother on a regular monthly rotating basis. Given that their mother is receiving care and attention on a daily basis, and that all other eligibility criteria have been met, Marcus and Sam are entitled to share 100% of the CA rate.
Temporary cessation of care provisions must be accessed where the care receiver is not in the care of the 2 carers under the shared care arrangement.
Example: Jack and Mary are separated, but share the care of their daughter Jill, who has a disability. They also share the CA. Jill lives with her mother from Sunday to Wednesday and with her father Thursday to Saturday. Jack has to go away for work for a week leaving on Monday and returning the following Monday. Jill stays with her grandmother for the Thursday to Saturday that Jack would normally care. Because Jack would normally care for 3 days (Thursday to Saturday) of the week that he is away and Mary is not providing the care, both Jack and Mary must use 3 temporary cessation of care days.
Where CA is shared, the temporary cessation of care provisions do not apply during the period of time that the carer would not normally provide care because the care is shared with another carer.
Where CA is shared the hospitalisation provisions apply as long as one or both carers provide some care while the care receiver is in hospital.
Each carer may access up to 6 weeks portability, subject to respite considerations and whether shared care provisions continue to apply.
Act reference: SSAct section 974 Rate of carer allowance
Last reviewed: 2 January 2013