Website of the Austrian Social Ministry

Motiv zu Support for caregiving relatives

Support for Caregiving and supporting relatives

Every care situation is different, because the health, living and family circumstances of those involved is different. The financial and housing situations also play an important role. However, caring for someone at home is a great challenge which requires a lot of support.

Social insurance for caregiving relatives

For some caregiving relatives, looking after a close family member takes up the time in which they would otherwise be able to work, either wholly or to a considerable extent. In these cases there are the following possibilities to acquire contribution periods for pension insurance without paying contributions:

Continuing insurance for caregiving relatives

Persons who have left compulsory insurance (e.g. because they have stopped working) in order to look after a close relative can opt for continuing pension insurance.

This is conditional on:

  • The family member being looked after is entitled to long-term care benefit at least at Stage 3
  • The entire working capacity of the carer is taken up by looking after their relative at home
  • The carer has previously acquired a specific number of contributory years.

This preferential treatment is only available for one carer per person in need of care, and also remains valid if the person in need of care stays in hospital for a while. These pension insurance contributions are wholly paid by the federal government, so that caregiving relatives do not have to pay anything.

Voluntary self-insurance for caregiving relatives

This self-insurance for periods of caring for close family members can also be taken advantage of when the carer is working and paying compulsory insurance contributions.

This is conditional on:

  • The family member being looked after is entitled to long-term care benefit at least at Stage 3
  • A considerable amount of the working capacity of the carer being taken up by looking after their relative at home
  • The carer being resident in Austria.

Here again, the contributions for self-insurance are fully paid by the federal government. In this way, caregiving relatives can acquire contribution periods free of charge.

In addition, persons whose working capacity is largely taken up by caring for a disabled child can opt to insure themselves in the pension insurance system. Paid employment of up to 20 hours per week can be carried out in this case. This is free of charge for the insured persons, as the contributions are paid by the federal government.

Health insurance for caregiving relatives

Free co-insurance in the field of health insurance

Persons can be co-insured free of charge if they themselves are entitled to long-term care benefit at least at Stage 3 or if they carry out care work for a relative who is entitled to long-term care benefit of at least Stage 3 which takes up most of their working capacity. You can obtain more detailed information from the relevant health insurance institution.

Voluntary health insurance for those caring for a disabled child

Persons who care for a disabled child living in the same household and who fulfil the conditions for free pension insurance contributions for the duration of their care of the disabled child, can also have their health insurance contributions paid free of charge if they are in need of social protection and provided that they are not co-insured with a family member.

No insurance contributions are charged. They are paid entirely by the federal government from the Equalisation Fund for Family Benefits. More detailed information is available from the relevant health insurance fund.

Stand-in carers

If a close relative, whose time has largely been taken up with looking after a person in need of care for at least a year, is unable to provide care due to illness, holidays or other important reasons, financial support can be provided in accordance with Section 21a of the Federal Long-Term Care Act (Bundespflegegeldgesetz). The Sozialministeriumservice is responsible for this support.

Caring children and young people - young carers

Caring children and young people are a global phenomenon. The Ministry of Social Affairs therefore commissioned two studies on the issue. The studies surveyed the situation of caregiving children in Austria, and at the same time concepts for family-oriented support measures were developed.

The children and young people affected, but also their parents and teachers, can contact the following services:

  • Superhands - internet platform for children and young people who care for a family member at home
  • 147 Rat auf Draht - the emergency call number for children and young people and their reference persons
  • Verrückte Kindheit - Das Online-Portal - a platform for young people and young adults whose parents are mentally ill
  • The Austrian Red Cross Youth

Die sozialpolitische Studienreihe (socio-political study series) has published a report in German on the issue.

Counselling for family members

Experience from home visits as part of the Quality Assurance in Home Care programme has shown that caregiving relatives often suffer emotional strain. Those family members who have told a visiting nurse that they are under mental stress are offered a counselling session. This counselling session is provided by psychologists, social workers and other specialists and is free.