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Comprehensive aged care
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FAQ

Are self-funded retirees eligible for a home care package?

Many ageing people are self-funded when entering into their retirement years. Being a self-funded retiree does not mean that you are not eligible to access Home Care Packages (HCP).

The first step to accessing government subsidised services at home is to have an ACAT assessment or RAS assessment (Refer to Home Care Packages for more information).

If you are approved for a home care package then it is important that as a self-funded retiree you obtain an Aged Care Fees Income Assessment through the Department of Human Services. This assessment will determine whether you are required to contribute to your home care package in the way of an Income Tested Care Fee. It is a fee that is based on your individual income, however, if you are a part of a couple then half of your combined income will be tested to determine the income tested care fee (irrespective of who earned the income).

The amount of subsidy that the Government would normally pay to a provider is reduced by the maximum amount of income-tested care fee that the consumer can be charged. You can download the Aged Care Fees Income Assessment (SA456) form here, or free call the Department of Human Services on 1800 227 475. It is worth getting an assessment prior to entering into a home care agreement with a provider so that you know from the onset of the service whether you will need to contribute. It does take a couple of weeks for the assessment letter to be delivered stating the income-tested care fee contribution amount.

There is an annual cap on the maximum amount of income tested care fees for home care that an individual can be asked to pay:

  • Self-funded retirees will have to contribute to their home care package however, it may still be worthwhile entering into a home care package. Consider the following:
    • What are your care needs and what are the costs involved in being cared for at home?
    • Are you better off paying for services privately?
    • How much will you have to contribute to your package as opposed to how much government funding you will receive?
    • Do you have anybody to help you manage your needs at home?
  • For self-funded retirees who have received approval for a home care package it might be an option to enter into a home care package with a service provider. Consider the current daily government subsidy when deciding on the in home care choices that are right for you:
Level 1

Supports people with basic care needs

Current Government Subsidy: $22.35 per day

Level 2

Supports people with low-level care needs

Current Government Subsidy: $40.65 per day

Level 3

Supports people with intermediate care needs

Current Government Subsidy: $89.37 per day

Level 4

Supports people with high-level care needs

Current Government Subsidy: $135.87 per day

For further information about home care, click on the links below:

Entry Level Support at Home

More Complex Support at Home

What is the difference between an aged care facility/home and a nursing home?

There is no difference between a residential aged care facility, a nursing home or an aged care home. They are a home that offers care for the aged who can no longer continue living in their own homes. Assistance is provided in an aged care home with daily tasks including meal preparation, laundry and domestic tasks. Personal care and around the clock nursing care are also provided. Some residential aged care facilities also offer more specialised care such as dementia care and palliative care. You can receive support with searching for an aged care home that is right for you or your family member by contacting My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

Can you explain what an income and assets test is and if I need one?

When the time comes that you are considering accessing Commonwealth Government subsidized aged care services, it is advisable to have a formal income assessment from the Department of Human Services (DHS) or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA). The income assessment will determine whether you can be asked to pay an income-tested care fee towards the cost of your care.

If you are already receiving a government pension then you will not need to complete an income and assets test as the information that is used to calculate the fees that you may need to contribute will already be on record. It is important though to keep this information updated with the Department of Human Services.

If you are a self-funded retiree or in receipt of a pension that is not means tested then you will need to lodge an Aged Care Fees Income Assessment (SA456) form, otherwise you will be required to contribute the maximum income tested care fee. This income tested care fee is different for everyone because it is based on your individual income. This fee is in addition to the basic daily fee. There are annual and lifetime caps for the income-tested care fee, and once these are reached, you can’t be asked to pay anymore income-tested care fees.

For more information call the Department of Human Services on 1800 227 475 or go to the website.

I think that my aged care fees income assessment is incorrect. Can I get it changed?

If you are the recipient of a Commonwealth Government pension or part pension, it is important to update your income and assets as your circumstances change. Occasionally there is an oversight and you may not remember to update details if you have for example sold a house or closed an investment fund. Your income and assets will be based on the current information that the Department of Human Services has on hand.

If you believe that you should not be paying a contribution fee towards your care, or that it has been calculated at a rate that is too high, then it is important to contact the Department of Human Services and/or complete an Aged Care Fees Income Assessment to update your details. For more information you can contact the Department of Human Services on 1800 227 475.

What is consumer directed care (CDC)?

Consumer directed care is a model of care that aims to give the consumer (you) choices and flexibility with the care that is delivered and received. It gives the consumer a lot more say and when meeting with their provider it is intended that they work together to construct a care plan. With a home care package the consumer can have their say regarding the type of care that they require and who they will have deliver that care to them. The care plan can be evaluated at any time that your needs and goals change.

For further information about home care, click on the links below:

Entry Level Support at Home

More Complex Support at Home

Should I have an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA)?

An Enduring Power of Attorney is a formal document that gives someone else the right to act on your behalf with financial, health care, or welfare decisions if you no longer have the capacity to do so on your own. You are able to prepare an enduring power of attorney document yourself, however you may choose to get professional advice about preparing an enduring power of attorney from a solicitor, a the Public Trustee, a private trustee company or a financial planner.

If you don’t have a person to choose to have enduring power of attorney, you can apply to the Public Guardian in your state to protect your rights if your cognition is impaired in regards to personal matters. You can also apply to the Public Trustee to appoint them as your EPOA for financial matters.

What is an Advanced Health Directive and should I have one?

An Advanced Health Directive (AHD) is a formal document that includes instructions regarding your future health care. It is intended to be followed when you are no longer able to make healthcare decisions for yourself. It can include details that summarise what health care you want to receive (broad or detailed) and can also contain information regarding any pre-existing health conditions, any allergies that you have, and your religious and cultural beliefs that may affect your health care. The document gives you the option to appoint an attorney for health care matters, however, the ADH and the Enduring Power of Attorney documents are often completed simultaneously.