Supporting Living Organ Donors Program

Information about support for living organ donors

Page last updated: 28 November 2017

Current Program Documents
Program Documents from 1 January 2018

Living Organ Donation

A living organ donor is someone who donates a kidney or partial liver to another person - usually a relative or close friend - who has end stage kidney disease or liver failure.

Living organ donation requires major surgery and is not without risk to the donor. Prospective donors are required to undergo extensive testing to ensure they are a suitable match for the intended recipient and are physically and mentally healthy enough to be able to donate.

If surgery proceeds, an employed donor will require a significant amount of time off work to recover. Depending on the donor's leave arrangements, some donors may be required to take this period as leave without pay, or may exhaust their paid leave entitlements. This can lead to financial stress and donors may feel pressured to return to work before they have completely recovered.

About the Program

The Supporting Living Organ Donors Program (the Program) seeks to raise the profile of living organ donors and also encourage employers to support donors.

The aim of the Program is to ensure that cost is not a barrier for living organ donors to donate a kidney or part of their liver by providing a financial contribution to employers to either replenish an employee’s leave or contribute towards reimbursing an employer who has made a payment to their employee in place of income lost due to organ donation.

On 8 May 2017, the Australian Government announced that the Program would continue for four years from 1 July 2017 with some important changes.

From 1 July 2017, the program has been expanded to allow donors who are having surgery on or after this date to claim reimbursement for some out of pocket expenses, enabling donors who are not employed to participate.

Eligibility and Payment Rates

To be eligible for the Program, the donor must be:

  1. an Australian resident with a valid Medicare card;
  2. 18 years of age or older;
  3. intending to donate a kidney or partial liver;
  4. donating in Australia*; and
  5. (if seeking reimbursement for leave taken) employed by:
    1. a registered Australian business with an active ABN; and
    2. an employer willing to participate in the Program (or be self-employed with an active ABN).

The Program provides a payment of up to nine weeks, based on a 38 hour week (a maximum of 342 hours), at up to the National Minimum Wage.

As at 1 July 2017, the National Minimum Wage is $694.90 per week, or $18.29 per hour, as determined by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

If surgery was prior to 1 July 2017, you are unable to claim any out-of-pocket expenses.


Important changes commencing 1 January 2018:

Eligibility

  • The Program will continue to accept retrospective applications until 30 April 2018, as a transitional period to avoid any potential disadvantage.
  • From 1 May 2018, all Program registrations must be received prior to surgery. Program registrations received post-surgery will no longer be accepted
  • Where a surgery date remains unknown at 30 June in the current year or has changed so that it falls after 30 June in the current year, the applicant must re-apply in the following financial year.

Claims

  • Claim Forms must be received within 90 calendar days of the surgery date. Claims received after this date will not be accepted.
  • From 1 May 2018, no further Individual Claim Forms or Employer Payment Forms will be accepted where the surgery was on or before 30 June 2017.

Guidelines/ Forms

  • Guidelines and forms have been updated to provide clarification on eligibility and claimable items.
  • Updated Guidelines and forms can be located below:

Current Program Documents


For donors undergoing surgery before 31 December 2017 and employers who are interested in the Program please see the below Guidelines for further information. Frequently Asked Questions about the Program are available.

Registration

Donors undergoing surgery before 31 December 2017, donating a kidney or part of a liver, need to complete the Individual Registration Form and return it, and relevant supporting documentation, to the Department of Health via post:
Alternatively, forms can be scanned and emailed to: livingorgandonation@health.gov.au
Donors without access to a printer, should call us on (02) 6289 5055 to arrange for a form to be mailed out.
The completed form should be submitted prior to leave commencing. Once the form has been received, we will assess eligibility and notify the donor and their employer separately in writing.

Claiming

Eligible participants will be sent:
  • an Individual Claim Form/or self-employed, Out-of-pocket expenses tracker, and Appointment sign-off sheet;
  • employers will be sent an Employer Payment Form to submit once the donor has returned to work.
The Individual Claim Form, Employer Payment Form, Self-Employed Claim Form, Out-of-pocket expenses tracker, and Appointment sign-off sheet are available to download When a donor has completed their leave and been paid for their time off, the Individual Claim Form, Employer Payment Form (or Self-Employed Claim Form) can be completed and returned with relevant supporting documentation to the Department of Health (to the same address as above).
The donor and their employer will be notified of the outcome after all documentation has been received and assessed.

Program Documents from 1 January 2018

For donors undergoing surgery after 1 January 2018 and employers who are interested in the Program please see the below Guidelines for further information. Frequently Asked Questions about the Program are available.

Registration

Donors undergoing surgery between 1 January 2018 and 30 June 2021 to donate a kidney or part of a liver, need to complete the Individual Registration Form and return it, and relevant supporting documentation, to the Department of Health via post:
      Supporting Living Organ Donors Program
      Department of Health
      GPO Box 9848
      CANBERRA ACT 2601


Alternatively, forms can be scanned and emailed to: livingorgandonation@health.gov.au
Donors without access to a printer should call us on (02) 6289 5055 to arrange for a form to be mailed out.
The completed form must be submitted prior to surgery. Once the form has been received, we will assess eligibility and notify the donor and employer separately in writing.

Claiming

Eligible participants will be sent:
  • a Claim Form, Out-of-pocket expenses tracker, and Appointment sign-off sheet.
The Claim Form, Out-of-pocket expenses tracker, and Appointment sign-off sheet are available to download. The Claim Form must be completed and returned with relevant supporting documentation within 90 calendar days of surgery.
The donor and their employer will be notified of the outcome after all documentation has been received and assessed.

Change of circumstances

It is important that participants in the Program tell us if their circumstances change. For example, if there is a change to:
  • surgery date
  • personal details
  • your address or phone number
  • employment
  • medical practitioner, or
  • withdrawal from the donation process.

Feedback

For questions or feedback about the Supporting Living Organ Donors Program, please email livingorgandonation@health.gov.au
Further information about living kidney donation can be found at Kidney Health Australia's website

For general enquiries please email: livingorgandonation@health.gov.au or call (02) 6289 5055.

The Department of Health has made every effort to ensure that the documents on this web page meet accessibility requirements. If you are experiencing difficulty accessing the information contained within any of these document, please contact livingorgandonation@health.gov.au or call (02) 6289 5055 to arrange for an alternative format to be provided to you.