In Austria, the provision of long-term care is strongly based on unpaid female work within family networks and is characterised by a highly unequal division of informal long-term care-giving. In 1993, a major reform has been introduced in the Austrian long-term care system with a payments for care programme and a state–provinces treaty regarding service development at its heart. The objective of this article is to investigate the implications of the 1993 programme on gender divisions and on whether and in what ways the programme and processes set in train by the programme influence the role of women as carers. The question is approached by applying and broadening the concept of defamilisation in a process oriented way. The analysis suggests that from the informal carers' perspective long-term care allowances in the Austrian context mean some financial relief via ‘symbolic payments’. At the same time, the overall long-term care system prolongs existing gender divisions and sets in train new stratification processes among women as main carers with gender, class and space as dimensions reinforcing each other.