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Carer support payments

The carer support payment provides assistance to general foster, kinship and specific child only carers to help them meet the costs of caring for a child.

Carer payments

The carer payment is paid automatically to approved carers who have a child placed in their care.

The payment is not a wage or salary, but rather a reimbursement for the costs of caring for a child. It is designed to help cover the day-to-day costs of caring for a child or young person.

The payment is not classed as income and does not need to be listed:

  • in tax returns
  • on applications for Commonwealth benefits
  • when applying for a loan.

See the Carer Support Payments handbook (PDF 1.5MB) and the Carer Reference - Who pays for what? (PDF 551KB) for specific amounts or contact the carer payment team for further information. 

Additional payments for children with special needs

Recipients of care support payments may be eligible for an additional payment or loading to help with the extra costs of caring for a child or young person with special needs.

This may include children with physical or intellectual disability or extremely challenging behaviours.

The amount paid for each loading will vary depending on the level of intellectual or physical disability. Your caseworker will determine the level of additional loading through a number of assessments.

See the carer payment rates and loadings (PDF 20KB) for specific amounts or contact the Carer Payment team for further information.

Incidental payments

The department provides one-off payments that are not covered by the fortnightly care support payment.

These costs are called incidental expenses and are usually for extra expenses associated with:

  • family contact
  • reunification
  • maintaining contact with extended family members
  • therapy due to previous abuse or neglect.

Carers can also apply for one-off payments to help cover the cost of irregular expenses such as medical appointments or school camps.

School card

All school students in foster care are eligible for the school card. It offers financial assistance with educational expenses for students attending government and non-government schools.

See school card scheme on the sa.gov.au website for more information.

Australian government payments and support

Foster carers may also be eligible to receive additional payments from the federal government such as:


Carer Payment team

Telephone: 8226 6666
Email: DCPCarerPayments [at] sa.gov.au