At some point in your life, you may need some type of care or support and many of us will become carers for someone close to us.
Carers provide ongoing unpaid support to people who need it because of their disability, chronic illness, mental illness, frail age, dementia or drug or alcohol dependency.
In NSW, the Carers (Recognition) Act 2010 defines carers and sets out principles for supporting carers.
If you’re caring for someone, there is a range of support available to help you with your caring role.
Note: If you need translation or interpreting services, see Help in your language.
Carer Gateway is the national network of support services for carers. It provides in-person, online and phone services to carers across Australia, including:
- carer support planning
- in-person and online counselling and peer support
- carer directed support packages
- emergency and planned respite
- self-guided coaching
- online interactive courses, skills and education resources
- financial information on carer payments, cards and concessions.
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
The NDIS is Australia’s first national scheme for people with disability. It provides funding directly to individuals under the age of 65 who have permanent and significant disability. NDIS participants use their funding to get support and services to help achieve their goals.
The NDIS also provides people with disability, including those not eligible for funding, with information and connections to services in their communities. NDIS-funded support and services may also have a direct or indirect benefit for families and carers.
My Aged Care
My Aged Care is the starting point to access Australian Government-funded aged care services. My Aged Care can help older Australians, their families and carers get the help and support they need, including:
- information on the different types of aged care services available
- an assessment of needs to identify eligibility and the right type of care
- referrals and support to find service providers that can meet your needs
- information on possible costs for care.
Carers NSW is the peak non-government organisation for carers in NSW. Carers NSW works with all carers regardless of their age, location or personal circumstances. Services and programs include:
- carer information, referrals and resources
- education and training for carers and service providers
- research and systemic advocacy
- help finding a carer support group in your area
- support for young carers and LGBTIQA+ carers
- assistance with understanding aged care services and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
- information on carer benefits/concessions and caring and paid work
- support for organisations to create carer friendly workplaces with the Carers + Employers program
- support for carers from a range of cultural and linguistic backgrounds, including information in other languages.
Carers Australia advocates and lobbies on a wide range of issues to improve the lives of Australia's carers.
NSW Health offers support, resources and advice to carers, including carer support services in Local Health Districts. The department also offers carer resources for NSW Health employees.
NSW Carers Advisory Council
The NSW Carers Advisory Council advances the interests of carers. The Council provides advice to the NSW Government on legislation, policy and other matters relating to carers.
In an emergency or if someone is in danger, call Triple Zero (000) or go to a hospital emergency department.
Carer Gateway provides in-person and telephone counselling. Call 1800 422 737 from Monday to Friday between 8am and 5pm.
There is 24/7 help available on the following numbers:
- Lifeline – 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800 (for children and young people aged 5 to 25)
- Mental Health Line – 1800 011 511
Services and programs
There are a number of services and programs available for carers with specific needs and requirements.
The National Dementia Helpline is a free telephone service that provides information and advice to people living with dementia and their carers. The helpline also offers support to people concerned about changes in memory and thinking ability and people who work in health and aged care.
AIDS Council of New South Wales (ACON)
Ten free and confidential telephone-based health coaching sessions are available for NSW residents aged 16 or over.
If you’re at risk of developing chronic disease due to unhealthy eating habits, inadequate physical activity or being overweight, a health coach can help you set and track healthy lifestyle goals. These could include achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and/or reducing alcohol intake.
- Mental Health Carers NSW (formerly Arafmi NSW) provides advocacy and support for families and friends of people experiencing mental illness. If you’re caring for someone with mental illness, you can contact the Carers Connection Helpline on 1300 554 660 to receive information, referrals and support.
- NSW Family & Carer Mental Health Program provides training, education, group and one-on-one support for families and carers of people with mental illness in NSW. Visit NSW Health for contact details of services in your area.
- Transcultural Mental Health Centre's Carer Support Program provides support and information for carers from culturally and linguistically diverse communities who are looking after someone experiencing a mental illness or childhood disorder. Carers can call the Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 (24 hours/7 days a week).
Rights and complaints
You can access 8 fact sheets on carer rights and how to uphold these rights by making a formal complaint, if you're concerned about the services delivered to you or the person you care for.
- Young Carer Program (call 02 9280 4744) helps carers aged 25 or under with counselling, information and referrals, emotional support, and events and workshops.
- Young Carer Bursary Program (call 1800 756 238) supports young carers to continue with their education. The program offers a limited number of $3000 bursaries each year.
- Carer Gateway (call 1800 422 737) offers young carers support, including advice and counselling, self-guided coaching and courses on carer skills.
- NSW Department of Education provides useful resources to support young carers, principals and teachers, including the guide 'Being a Carer, Being a Student and Being a Kid: A Resource for Schools'.
Retirement, estate planning and end of life
Carers often need to plan for their own retirement and their loved one’s end of life. A number of services are available to help you plan ahead and get support if your loved one dies.
If you need support and advice to plan for your retirement, visit:
End of life
For end of life information and resources, including caring for someone receiving palliative care, visit:
If the person you care for dies, you may be entitled to receive up to 14 weeks of their Aged Care Pension or Carers Payment from the date of their death. For more information, visit Bereavement payment or call 132 717.
Will, Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship
Planning ahead for Aboriginal carers
The 'Aboriginal Wills Handbook' and the 'Taking care of business' booklet aim to enable Aboriginal people to make culturally appropriate planning ahead documents. These resources provide advice for kinship, burial and secret knowledge. Visit Aboriginal planning ahead for more information.
The Federal Government offers a range of payments and subsidies to carers, including:
- Carer Payment
- Carer Allowance
- Carer Supplement
- Carer Adjustment Payment
- Child Disability Assistance Payment
- Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme payment.
You may be eligible for other payments, such as:
- Financial relief one-off payment in the event of a financial emergency, hardship or crisis. You can call 180 22 66 for assistance.
- Bereavement payment if the person you care for dies, you may be entitled to receive up to 14 weeks of their Aged Care Pension or Carers Payment from the date of their death. For more information, call 132 717.
- Return to Work Program – Phase 3 if you're a woman carer who has been unemployed for one month or more and you intend to return to work within 6 months. Eligibility criteria apply.
There is a range of concessions and discounts available for carers who meet the eligibility criteria. Please check each concession to ensure you meet the requirements.
Depending on your personal circumstances, you may qualify for additional concessions and rebates. You can:
- use the Savings Finder online tool to get a personalised list of savings
- make a free, one-hour phone appointment to get help applying for savings, or
- browse a list of rebates and vouchers.
- Public transport concessions and subsidies (call 131 500), including concession Opal cards, may be available to you and the person you're caring for.
- Vision Impaired Person’s Travel Pass (call 131 500) entitles a severely vision impaired person and their attendant (carer) to free travel on public transport.
- Assisted School Travel Program (ASTP) (call 1300 338 278) helps students with a disability to get to and from school. Parents and carers can apply for the ASTP through the student’s school.
- Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS) (call 1800 478 227) helps cover expenses for patients who travel long distances for specialist medical treatment.
- Mobility Parking Scheme (MPS) permit (call 13 22 13) provides special parking conditions and concessions to people with a mobility disability and their carers.
- Concession car parking at NSW public hospitals (call 02 9391 9000) is available to carers provided certain requirements are met.
- Transport Taxi Subsidy Scheme (TTSS) (call 131 500) can help carers pay for taxi costs for a person who is unable to use public transport because of a severe and permanent disability.
- Community transport services (call 1300 812 504 or 131 500) are locally based in communities and assist people experiencing transport disadvantage, including carers for people with disability, and frail and aged adults.
- Qantas Carer Concession Card (call 13 13 13) provides reduced fares on domestic travel for both carers and the person receiving care. Eligibility requirements and conditions apply.
Health care and disability concessions
- Health Care Card (call 136 240) provides discounted health services and medicines.
- Chronic Disease Management Plan or Team Care Arrangements can be made with your GP, if the person you're caring for has a chronic condition or complex care needs. If you’re eligible, your plan may include Medicare benefits for visits to allied health providers, such as physiotherapists.
- EnableNSW (call 1800 362 253) provides equipment and services to eligible people in NSW with chronic health conditions or disability to assist with mobility, communication and self-care. You can also receive financial assistance if you need to travel significant distances to access a specialist medical treatment which is unavailable locally.
- Continence Aids Payment Scheme (call 1800 239 309) helps pay for continence products, if you have permanent and severe incontinence.
- Medical Energy Rebate (call 137 788) provides up to $285/year in rebates to cover the cost of your energy bills if you’re unable to self-regulate your body temperature.
- Life Support Energy Rebate (call 137 788) helps with the cost of running energy-intensive medical equipment at home.
- Essential Medical Equipment Payment (call 132 717) is a single yearly payment to help with energy costs to run medical equipment or medically required heating or cooling.
- Special Disability Trust (call 1800 734 750) is available for people with a severe disability. The trust can include money or assets to help provide for someone’s long-term care and accommodation needs. It will get concessional treatment under the social security means test.
Energy and utility concessions
There are a number of energy and utility concessions available, provided you meet the eligibility criteria. These include:
- Seniors Energy Rebate – a $200/year rebate to help cover the cost of your electricity bill
- Pensioner water rebate – water bill rebates for eligible pensioners
- NSW Gas Rebate – save up to $110/year on the cost of your natural gas bill
- Low Income Household Rebate – save up to $285/year on the cost of your energy bills.
- Companion Card (call 1800 893 044) is for people with a significant and permanent disability. When a cardholder buys a ticket at selected venues and facilities around NSW, their carer or companion will be given a second ticket at no charge.
- NSW Seniors Card or Senior Savers Card (call 13 77 88) holders can get discounts and special offers at over 7,400 businesses across NSW. The NSW Seniors Card also provides public transport concessions.
- Council rate rebates are available to eligible pensioners. Contact your local council for more information.
- Active Kids and Creative Kids (call 13 77 88) $100 vouchers are available for school students to help cover the cost of sport, fitness and recreation, as well as creative and cultural activities.
- A carer's registration refund (call 13 22 13) on some of the vehicle tax paid when registering a vehicle may be available to you, if you receive the Commonwealth Carer Allowance and meet other requirements.
Note: This is not a definitive list of services and support available for all carers’ needs and personal circumstances.