Accessing home care subsidisation for the over 65s
Phillips Wealth Partners
A recent discussion I had with Georgina*, my general practitioner (GP), highlighted the misconceptions about the eligibility criteria for receiving government subsidised home care in Australia. This article explains why.
In this example, Georgina and her chronically ill husband, Bill* , are both over 65 years of age with a combined household income above the upper income threshold. Over twelve months ago, Georgina arranged for an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) to review Bill and, due to his deteriorating condition requiring full supportive care, he was approved to receive a level four home care package.
When I asked why they did not access the home-care package, Georgina said “I assumed that I earned too much to qualify” – despite being eligible for care funding. Instead, they had engaged two carers for three hours/day home support, costing approximately $90,000/year which required Georgina to remain in full-time work to enable her husband to stay at home.
The fact is, irrespective of whether you are a full- or part-pensioner, a self-funded retiree or still working, if you are over the aged pension age (65 years old) it is worth investigating your eligibility to access a level of government subsidisation to support a home care package.
How does home care subsidisation work?
Dependent upon the home care package level the person has been approved to receive, the government will pay an amount directly to the chosen Home Care provider, with a co-contribution towards the cost paid by the person receiving care. These amounts are determined by the Department of Human Services, based on the level of assessable income.
In Georgina’s example, approval was granted for a level four home-care package via the home care program, so Bill was eligible to receive support for high-level care services (e.g. dementia support, nursing care, mobility assistance) with their (approximate) co-contribution as follows:
Home care fees payable by client (per annum)
Basic Fee: $3,807
Income-tested care fee: $10,893
Total client fees $14,700
So Georgina could have paid just $14,700 to receive $54,093.00 worth of home-care services for the year and relieved her need to work full time to cover Bill’s home care costs.
Contact me to learn more about your home-care choices. It is important to explore these options early – planning ahead gives you time to make the best decisions possible.
Written by Luisa Capezio, CEO and aged care navigator at Independent Care Solutions. At Independent Care Solutions Pty Ltd it is our job to help individuals and families navigate the aged care system to find the best solution for loved ones who need support to stay at home or are ready to take the next step into residential aged care. www.icares.com.au
*Names have been changed
This information is only current at the date of publishing.Assumptions: Costs are valid from 20 September 2018 to 19 March 2019. The cost is relevant for this example only and will differ depending on your circumstances. Calculations assumes that both members of a client are over age pension age and are homeowners for Centrelink assets testing. Pension and income-tested fee may differ for nonhomeowners.