Frequently Asked Questions about Home Care Packages

Dec 1, 2023 | Aged Care News, Aged Care Providers, Articles, Home Care

We answer the most common questions about government funded Home Care Packages for senior Australians:

Frequently asked questions about home care packages

How does a Home Care Package work?

Home Care Packages are coordinated by Government organisation My Aged Care.

A Home Care Package can provide an annual, set amount of money for you to spend on the services and supports you need to help you keep living safely and happily at home, rather than move to a residential aged care facility.

When you have successfully applied for and are assigned with a Home Care Package, you can either:

  • Appoint a Home Care Package Provider to coordinate services for you, or
  • Organise your own services using the money in your budget. This is called self-managing.

Read more:

Understanding Home Care Packages and how they work (agedcaredecisions.com.au)

 

How much is a Home Care Package worth?

Home Care Packages are allocated across four levels, with each level providing a specific budget for subsidised home care services.

The Home Care Package level you receive will depend on your unique assessed care needs.

The four Home Care Package level budgets are:

Level 1 Basic support $10,271.10 per year
Level 2 Low-level support $18,063.85 per year
Level 3 Intermediate support $39,310.50 per year
Level 4 High-level support $59,593.55 per year

Read more:

The support delivered by Home Care Package levels 1-4 (agedcaredecisions.com.au)

 

What can I spend my Home Care Package funds on?

There are clear-cut rules about what can and cannot be funded with a Home Care Package.

Generally, services and supports relating to the CARE NEEDS of seniors can be funded, but everyday living expenses such as rent, groceries and entertainment cannot.

Read more about what services and supports can be funded:

What can my Home Care Package funds be used for? (agedcaredecisions.com.au)

 

How can I get a Home Care Package?

There are 5 steps to getting home help via a Home Care Package:

Step 1. Check your eligibility with My Aged Care’s online eligibility checker

Step 2. Complete an aged care assessment (ACAT assessment) with My Aged Care

Step 3. Complete an income assessment via Services Australia/Centrelink

Step 4. Have a Home Care Package approved and allocated to you

Step 5. Find and engage a Home Care Package Provider.

 

Who is eligible for a Home Care Package?

You or your loved one may be eligible for a government subsidised Home Care Package if you:

  • Are a senior Australian aged 65+ who needs help to stay safe and comfortable at home
  • Are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander aged 50+
  • Are a younger Australian with special needs that are not being met through any other government service.

Read more about eligibility:

Who is eligible for a government funded Home Care Package? (agedcaredecisions.com.au)

 

What is an ACAT Assessment?

ACAT Assessments are coordinated by My Aged Care. They are used to evaluate care needs and determine who can access government funded aged care services including residential aged care, home care packages and respite care.

A member of the Aged Care Assessment Team, usually a nurse, social worker, or health care professional, will interview you to check your physical and mental health. They’ll look at the way you manage day-to-day activities and speak with you about what aged care services will be best to help you.

Read more about ACAT Assessments:

ACAT Assessment Guide – everything you need to know (agedcaredecisions.com.au)

 

What is the income and assets assessment?

Depending on your income and assets, you may need to contribute some money towards your home care services. This assessment is coordinated by Services Australia (formerly Centrelink).

To complete the income assessment, you’ll need details about any income you receive, assets you have, and your outstanding bills and liabilities. It can take a few hours, especially if there are lots of documents to collect.

To get started call Services Australia on 1800 227 475 or visit www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/sa456

 

How long does the assessment process take?

Wait times for assessments, approvals and assignments can be lengthy. How long you will wait depends on national demand, and the level of Home Care Package you require.

You can check the progress of your application or assessment by calling My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 or by logging into your My Aged Care online account.

There is usually a 4-6 week wait between your application and assessment. Approval and allocation of a Home Care Package can take anywhere up to 12 months.

If you need care while you are waiting, call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 as you may be eligible for other care and services.

 

How can I find a home care provider?

The easiest way to do this is to connect with Aged Care Decisions and use our FREE comparison service to find available Home Care Providers in your area that specifically match your needs.

 

Here’s how Aged Care Decisions’ free service works:

 

Aged Care Decisions can assist you at every stage of your home care journey. Our 100% FREE matching service can help you find a home care provider you’ll love.

Connect with Aged Care Decisions now to get started.

What is a care plan?

Your ACAT Assessor will complete a personalised care plan, which is a document outlining your assessed care and service needs, and your goals and preferences.

Your care plan details how and when your home care services are to be delivered to you.

Your Home Care Package Provider must adhere to your care plan by ensuring that your budget is used efficiently and effectively to deliver the supports and services you need.

 

Can my spouse and I both receive a Home Care Package?

If you and your spouse live together and both require home care services, you must undergo individual ACAT assessments. You will both need to be assigned a Home Care Package and receive your own care plan.

You can pool your resources when your care needs overlap – for example, if you are both assessed as requiring a cleaner, your Home Care Package budgets can share the cost of this service.

 

What will I have to contribute to my Home Care Package?

To supplement your Home Care Package budget you may need to pay the following fees:

A basic daily fee. This is a set fee paid by everyone who receives a Home Care Package. This fee ranges from $11.22 to $12.53 depending on your package level.

An income tested fee. Whether you pay this fee depends on the results of an income and assets test conducted by Services Australia. This fee can be up to $35.95 per day.

Service and management fees. These are taken out of your package and vary depending on providers.

Additional service fees. Your home care provider may charge additional fees that they must disclose to you as part of their fee breakdown.

Read more:

How much will a Home Care Package cost you? (agedcaredecisions.com.au)

 

Does my Home Care Package get renewed each year?

When you are allocated with a Home Care Package, it will continue to provide the services you need for as long as you need them. You do not need to renew your application each year.

Your Home Care Package will cease if you move into residential aged care, or if you advise My Aged Care that you no longer need home care services.

 

Can I self-manage my Home Care Package?

You can choose to self-manage, using the Home Care Package budget you have been allocated.

If you self-manage you are predominately responsible for the hiring and scheduling of your support services, management of your budget, and day-to-day coordination of service delivery. Your home care provider will appoint a Care Manager to provide you with a limited amount of support.

 

What if my care needs change?

If your care needs change you can:

  • Adjust your care plan – your current provider can adjust your services to meet your changing needs.
  • Get re-assessed for a higher Home Care Package level.

Read more:

How to apply for a higher-level Home Care Package (agedcaredecisions.com.au)

 

What if I go to hospital, or on holidays?

If you go on holiday or need to spend time in hospital, you can take temporary leave from your Home Care Package.

Read more:

Temporary leave from Home Care Packages | Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care

 

What if I don’t spend all my Home Care Package budget?

Unspent funds are carried forward to the following month. They are held on your behalf by your Home Care Package Provider until you need them. You can “save up” some of your Home Care Package budget for big ticket items such as a mobility scooter or home modifications.

Your Home Care Package Provider should work with you to ensure you are maximising the benefits of your funding allocation.

 

How are Home Care Packages different to CHSP?

The Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) provides entry-level services for people who need only minimal assistance to keep living at home.

Home Care Packages are designed to meet more complex needs.

Read more about the CHSP:

All about CHSP – the Commonwealth Home Support Program (agedcaredecisions.com.au)

 

Can I change Home Care Package providers?

If your current Home Care Package Provider isn’t measuring up, then switching to another provider is easy, and it won’t cost you a cent. You cannot be charged a fee for ceasing care with a provider.

Any unspent funds from your package must be transferred to your new provider.

Read more:

Change home care providers at no cost – Aged Care Decisions

 

Aged Care Decisions makes the home care journey so much easier for tens of thousands of Australian families each month.

We use our custom-built software to consider your care needs, location, budget, and personal preferences and create a tailored Home Care Options Report for you to easily compare potential providers.

Our service is 100% FREE, 100% independent, and 100% personal.

We do all the running around for you, with less stress and hassle, and at ZERO cost to you.

Contact us now to get started.

 

Looking for expert advice?

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