My Aged Care Guide: Everything you need to know

What is My Aged Care?


My Aged Care is your first step when starting the journey of finding aged care. This is the compulsory first stage of the process that will help you access government-funded aged care services. 

There is plenty of useful information on the My Aged Care (aka MAC) website, but it can sometimes get a bit overwhelming trying to find exactly what you need. Hopefully, this article will simplify it a little for you.  

If you need help navigating this resource further, Aged Care Decisions can assist. Please give our team a call on 1300 775 870 or speak with your dedicated Placement Specialist. 


Do I need to go through My Aged Care to find aged care?

If you need residential aged care facility, home care, transition care or respite, then you MUST complete the Aged Care Assessment via the My Aged Care Team

Once you have completed the Aged Care Assessment and have received an assessment letter with referral codes from MAC, then Aged Care Decisions can help you with the next steps you need to take. This includes being able to help you find aged care providers that meet your criteria. 

The following sections aim to explain what MAC offers and make it easier to understand what aged care services are available to you.  


Who is My Aged Care?

My Aged Care is an Australian Government initiative, managed by the Department of Health.

They have been around since 1 July 2013 and provide information about the types of care that are available and assess whether you or your loved one is eligible for these types of care. MAC also offers you an online account to assist with managing all your aged care related details.  

Who are Aged Care Decisions?

Aged Care Decisions is an independent service that is separate from the government and My Aged Care. We assist families navigate the aged care process. 

We also help families understand the entire aged care journey, including the steps you need to take. 

Our FREE aged care support service is all about being with you every step of the way throughout your aged care journey. 

Once you have been assessed for aged care, Aged Care Decisions is able to provide you with a customised list of matched providers, as well as unlimited aged care support. Other government websites and services, are unable to offer this personalisation.


Looking for aged care?

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What does My Aged Care do?

The following is an overview of the information MAC provides for older Australians, their families, and carers: 


How do I access My Aged Care services?

Initially you will need to fill out an online form to see if you are eligible for a face-to-face assessment. 

If you prefer to talk to someone straight away, you can give them a call on 1800 200 422

Once eligible, the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) will organise the Aged Care Assessment with you. 


Do I need an Aged Care Assessment?

Yes, you need to an Aged Care Assessment to access to government subsidised aged care services.

The Aged Care Assessment will take into consideration your current situation and provide an Assessment Letter with Referral Codes. As a result, these will be used by aged care providers to determine what financial support you have been approved for. Without this letter, you may need to pay full private fees.  


How do I get an Aged Care Assessment?

Initially you will be required to fill out the eligibility form online or over the phone. 

Once MAC determine that you are eligible to complete an Aged Care Assessment (ACA), a face-to-face interview will be organised by MAC and performed by a member of the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT or ACAS in Victoria).  

Therefore, the assessment is a compulsory first step to receiving aged care services such as residential aged care facility, home care, transition care or respite. 

And it is important to know that a resident must be approved for aged care services in order to have government subsidise the cost of care.

Without an assessment, you or your loved one will be a private paying resident and may be required to pay additional fees. 


Some quick facts about the Aged Care Assessment: 

  • It is a face-to-face clinical assessment (in some instances it can be done over the phone)
  • Takes approximately 1 – 3 hours
  • It can be done either at home or in hospital
  • The priority queue can take up to 4 weeks for an assessment to occur and a few weeks to get results back
  • Urgent cases, such as in hospital, can take up to 2 days and results back in up to 4 days after the assessment takes place
  • Generally, no assessment means no admission

For more details about the assessment process, please CLICK HERE


What is an Assessment Letter or ‘My Support Plan’?

Once the assessment is complete and approved, the Aged Care Assessment team will send the potential aged care recipient a letter. This is the assessment letter and forms a part of your support plan. 

The outcome of the assessment is called ‘My Support Plan’ (MSP) or ‘National Screening and Assessment Form’ (NSAF).  You can access this information via your online account.

The Assessment Letter will contain: 

  • The reasons and evidence supporting the decision
  • MSP provides approvals for different government services, e.g., home cleaning, home support, respite in aged care or permanent aged care
  • Each approval has a ‘Referral Code’


What are referral codes and why do I need them?

Once you have received your approval and assessment letter, you will have a ‘My Support Plan’ that includes referral codes.

Aged care facilities will need these referral codes to ascertain if they can meet a resident’s care needs or not.  

Referral codes and services

You will be provided with multiple referral codes for all the different services you are approved for. 

For residential aged care facilities, the residential aged care related referral codes are the only codes that are required.  

On the other hand, if you are eligible for home care, you will see referral codes for different home care levels. See more about home care in our Guide to Home Care Packages.

There is a section on the MAC website where existing aged care recipients can manage their services online.

Importantly, every individual’s situation, finances, health care and aged care needs can easily change so there are certain aspects of the services that need to change.  

Things you can change: 

  • When your services are delivered
  • What services you receive 
  • Your service provider

Depending on your current service arrangements, you can visit the relevant website for more information.  

Accessing your ‘My Aged Care’ online account (previously known as Client Portal) via myGov

Your ‘My Aged Care’ online account will show you all the services you currently receive and information about those services. This account is accessed via the myGov portal via the MAC logo once it has been linked up to your account.  

my aged care online service screenshot

If you have not had this set up, please visit this page for more details:  

The nominated representative or family member will also be able to set up this access via their own myGov account. They can manage the MAC account on behalf of the person receiving aged care.

This document explains how to navigate the account as a representative:  

The MAC account will have the following: 

  • Your care
  • Services
  • Plans
  • Current care approvals
  • Your details
  • Your profile
  • Relationships
  • Your records
  • Documents
  • Reports
  • Interactions with My Aged Care
  • Notifications


Does every aged care facility meet the Aged Care Quality Standards?

From July 2019, all aged care facilities are required to meet the new Aged Care Quality Standards.

However, many listed aged care facilities have yet to be fully assessed against the new Quality Standards.

These standards clearly define what good care should be like. Government-funded aged care services are monitored and assessed by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. 

The 8 Quality Standards are: 

  1. Consumer dignity and choice
  2. Ongoing assessment and planning
  3. Personal care and clinical care
  4. Services and supports for daily living
  5. Organisations service environment
  6. Feedback and complaints
  7. Human resources
  8. Organisational governance 

For more details about these Aged Care Quality Standards, please visit their website.

You will be able to tell if the provider has been assessed and how much they match the quality standards by seeing how many bars they have. See the picture below: 


If the provider has less than 4 bars, they will have a compliance action and if there are no bars showing it means they have not yet been assessed to the new standards yet. 


How do I find My Aged Care accredited providers?

On the MAC website there is an option to search for my aged care accredited providers

This is only a basic search based on your postcode, care type and a few other options. You will not receive a comprehensive report of aged care providers that match all of your criteria and have availability. They will not contact the providers on your behalf but Aged Care Decisions can. We can help you get a tour, get a final placement and do all the leg work for you.  


Accredited aged care providers

Aged care providers that are accredited have been assessed on the Aged Care Quality Standards and pass on these requirements.

Accredited aged care providers are the only ones that can utilise any government funding you have been approved for. 

Each provider in the list will be presented with the title of the facility, the address, and a phone number. You can click to add it to your comparison list. You would then have to go through each and contact them to see if they have availability and can accommodate you based on your care needs and finances.  

We can help you find providers

To help make this process easier, Aged Care Decisions can take care of all of this for you by sorting and shortlisting for you so the list you end up with has already been vetted for suitability and matched to your care needs, preferences and budget. The only thing you would have to do is arrange a tour with them, which Aged Care Decisions can also organise on your behalf. 

Aged Care Decisions supports thousands of families a month with a free and independent service – empowering families with information, advice and options at all stages in the aged care placement journey. Our trained Placement Specialists are experts at assisting families find aged care and help alleviate some of the stress involved. If you need help to find aged care, do not hesitate to give us a call on 1300 775 870 or fill out this form and we will get in touch with you.


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