You may need more support in daily activities as you get older, but that doesn’t mean you need to move out of your own home. Home Care Packages are a form of care support that can help you live in your own home for as long as possible.
The Department of Health manages and develops policy for the program and Services Australia administers payments to providers on behalf of the Government. My Aged Care helps older people and their families access and navigate government-funded aged care services. If you or your family member haven’t received any aged care support before, this should be your first stop.
Let’s take a closer look:
What are the different forms of care available?
There are three forms of care available to older Australians:
- Short-term care – support for a set period of time, e.g. if you need help at home for a few weeks or months after a stay in the hospital
- Aged care home – also referred to as a nursing home or residential care facility, for older people who can no longer live at home
- Help at home – support received in your own home
What are Home Care Packages?
There are two types of care under the “Help at home” category.
The Commonwealth Home Support Programme is great for those who need low-level care. This type of support is recommended to those who only require one or two entry-level support services.
If your needs are more complex, or you need a lot of support for everyday tasks on an ongoing basis, Home Care Packages may be the better answer to your needs. HCPs go beyond what the Commonwealth Home Support Programme can provide.
What help is available under Home Care Packages?
You can access a wide range of different services under HCP. This includes:
- Personal care, e.g. bathing, hygiene, grooming
- Meals and food preparation
- Podiatry, physiotherapy and other therapies
- Domestic assistance, e.g. cleaning, laundry and other household chores
- Mobility aids and other assistive tech
- Help to access the community, e.g. transport assistance and support during social outings
Home care packages are flexible, so you can speak to your care provider if other services can be included.
Some services may not be included, especially if they are not directly linked to your identified care needs and goals. Examples include tickets to sporting events or accommodation for holidays.
Certain services or items can already be accessed through existing health programs. Examples include services covered by the Medicare Benefits Schedule. It’s best to save your HCP funds and use them for other essential services.
Who is eligible for Home Care Packages?
A trained assessor from My Aged Care will determine your eligibility. To check if you meet the requirements for an assessment, you can use this online Eligibility Checker. This tool checks:
- how much assistance you need with some everyday tasks
- if you are 65 years or older (50 years or older for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people)
If you meet the requirements, you can apply for an assessment online.
If you are on a low income, homeless or at risk of being homeless or have care needs not met through other specialist services and are aged 50 years or older (45 years or older for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people), you can call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to discuss your situation further.
During assessment, the assessor will meet with you and ask questions about your current situation and the support you require to be supported in daily life.
Depending on your circumstances, you may also need to pay an income tested care fee.
For most people the income assessment is done by Services Australia. However, if you receive a means-tested payment from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), your assessment will be done by DVA.
To check how much you need to contribute towards your care, you can complete an income assessment by filling out a form and sending it to Services Australia.
Services Australia will send you a fee advice letter to confirm if you need to pay an income tested care fee.
You can complete your income assessment after you have been assessed for a Home Care Package, but before receiving care.
You may also complete this assessment before meeting with your My Aged Care assessor so you can have an idea of how much you need to pay.
Home Care Packages Budget
Your HCP budget consists of:
- your funding or subsidy from the government
- your contribution
Government subsidy: How much funding can I get from Home Care Packages?
Your level of funding depends on your care needs and changes at the start of the financial year. The amounts listed below are up to date as of 1 July 2022. Visit this page for updated costs and fees.
- Level 1 Basic care needs – $9,179.75 a year
- Level 2 Low care needs – $16,147.60 a year
- Level 3 Intermediate care needs – $35,138.55 a year
- Level 4 High care needs – $53,268.10 a year
You then choose a service provider approved to provide Home Care Packages services, like Afea. You and your chosen provider will work together to identify your care needs and the best way to spend your HCP funding.
The government pays your provider, which coordinates and manages your services on your behalf.
Your contribution: How much do I need to pay?
You may be asked to pay the following.
- your basic daily fee, which everyone receiving a Home Care Package can be asked to pay
The basic daily fee changes every March and September. As of 20 March 2022, the basic daily fee can be up to $11.26.
- your income tested care fee, if you have been assessed as being able to contribute
This also changes every March and September and is different for every person. This fee will reduce the subsidy the government contributes towards your Home Care Package.
For example, if Services Australia’s income assessment shows that your income tested care fee is $10,000 a year, this amount will be deducted from the government subsidy.
- any additional fees you agree to
These additional fees may be for services that are otherwise not covered by your HCP.
At the moment, the expected wait time for an approved HCP is from three to six months. The wait time may be shorter if your needs are more urgent.
In any case, it’s best to begin the application process now! If you have any questions, give our team a call on 1300 65 11 33.
Home Care Packages and Afea
Already approved for HCP and looking for the best care provider?
We always say there is no substitute for experience! Afea has been operating for more than 15 years in the industry. Our compassionate Afea Carers will help you maintain your independence in your own home and you will have ongoing support from a dedicated care team. Contact us now and we’ll develop a care plan designed just for you.