by CanTeen07/12/2018

Dealing with Centrelink

The Australian Government (through Centrelink) provides assistance for people who have to stop work because of their cancer or to care for someone with cancer. It’s worth finding out what’s available to your family, so read on for tips about dealing with Centrelink. 


Centrelink benefits 

There are a number of Centrelink payments that may be available to people with cancer and their carers, including: 

  • Sickness Allowance - a temporary payment if you are employed or self-employed, but can’t work because of a medical condition 
  • Disability Support Pension - financial support if you have a physical, intellectual or psychiatric condition that stops you from working 
  • Carer Payment and Carer Allowance (see below) 
  • Bereavement Payment (a lump sum or short term payment when your partner, child or the person you were caring for has died) and Bereavement Allowance (a short-term payment if your partner has recently died). 

The Carer Payment is for carers who provide full-time daily care in the home of the sick person. This payment is income and asset-tested.  

The Carer Allowance is for carers who provide a significant amount of assistance, either in their own home or in the home of the sick person. The allowance is not means-tested and can be paid even if you are working.  

You may also be eligible for the Pensioner Concession Card or the Health Care Card, which can reduce the cost of medicines and other items. 

Dealing with Centrelink 

It might be helpful to start with the Department of Human Services’ online Payment Finder tool to identify which payments you might be entitled to claim.  

Some payments/allowances can be claimed online. You will need a Centrelink online account, which is linked to your myGov account. While paper forms do still exist, they can only be used in special circumstances and won’t be issued normally. If you don’t have a myGov account set up or a Customer Reference Number (CRN), you will need to either call Centrelink or visit a Service Centre in person before you can start a claim. 

If you need help or to set up an account, call Centrelink on 132 717. There’s a good chance you’ll be on hold for a while, so make yourself a cup of tea and get comfortable before you dial.  


Useful sites/resources 

For more information about Centrelink payments and entitlement, visit