Caring for a child with disability as they get older

There may be different things you need to consider as your child with disability gets older. There’s information and support to help you.

Your child may need different types of support as they move through new life stages.

Changes that occur during teenage years

Your child is turning 14

When your child turns 14, you’ll no longer be able to access their Medicare records. You can apply to act as their authorised representative. You’ll need to complete the Authorisation to act on an incapacitated person’s behalf for Medicare purposes form.

Your child will control their My Health Record. If they’re unable to make decisions for themselves, you can apply to become your child’s authorised representative. Read about becoming your child’s authorised representative on the My Health Record website.

Your child is turning 16

When your child turns 16, they may be eligible for their own income support payment. This will depend on their personal circumstances. There are things you can do to start their transition and help prepare them for independence. This includes:

  • setting up a bank account in their name with a linked debit card
  • having their birth certificate ready
  • setting up a tax file number.

If you get Carer Payment or Carer Allowance, and you continue to provide care for them, you’ll need to apply to transfer to an adult payment. This is because getting Carer Payment for a child is different to getting Carer Payment for an adult. We’ll contact you to tell you when to apply. If you don’t apply to transfer, then your payments will stop.

If you have a Carer Allowance Health Care Card, it’ll stop on the expiry date. After this happens, your child may be able to claim an Ex-Carer Allowance Health Care Card.

If you get Child Care Subsidy, you may continue to get this until your child turns 18.

Your Family Tax Benefit may change or stop. This will depend on if your child is working or studying. Read more about what happens when your child turns 16.

Your child may be able to get one or more of the following payments:

Claiming Disability Support Pension (DSP)

If you think your child could get DSP, you can start your child’s claim early. You can do this from 13 weeks before they turn 16. If we grant DSP, we’ll pay them from when they turn 16.

When you start the claim we’ll need evidence your child meets non-medical and medical rules. Read more about who can get DSP.

If your child isn’t eligible for DSP, they may be able to get Youth Allowance. This is financial help if they’re either:

  • 21 or younger and looking for work
  • 24 or younger and a student or Australian Apprentice.

Changes that occur during adulthood

As your child gets older, they’ll reach different milestones. Read more about living with disability and the supports we can help you with.

If your child can’t get DSP, they may be able to get JobSeeker Payment. This applies if they’re between 22 and Age Pension age and looking for work.

Page last updated: 28 September 2023.
QC 60111