If you started receiving aged care services before 1 July 2014, you will not be charged any more than your service provider can currently charge you. However, if you change the type of service that you receive, or you leave and re-enter aged care, then the new rules may apply to you.
You will need to get an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) assessment if you think that you need a Home Care Package, you need the services of the Transition Care Program after leaving hospital, or you are thinking of moving into an aged care home. You will also need an ACAT assessment for some respite services. You do not need an ACAT assessment for aged care services that are not subsidised by the government, or for some government-funded programs such as Home and Community Care (HACC), but it is a good idea to get an ACAT assessment anyway, because the ACAT members will give you information about all of the services that may be available in your local area.
ACAT assessments are still free and the eligibility requirements have not changed. However, there have been some changes to how long an ACAT approval remains valid. Your doctor or nurse may refer you to an ACAT if they think that you need help, but you can contact your local ACAT yourself. If you need more information about ACAT, call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422, or go to its website www.myagedcare.gov.au.
The method of costing Home Care Packages has changed. The rules for income-tested fees have been strengthened so that those who can afford to do so will be asked to contribute more to the cost of their care.
Residential aged care fees and payments have also changed. Both your income and your assets will be taken into account in establishing the fees and payments you may be asked to pay. The basic daily fee has not changed. In residential care, you may be asked to pay one or more of the following fees:
- Basic daily fee
- Means-tested care fee
- Accommodation payment
- Fees for extra or additional optional services
The Department of Human Services sets the means-tested care fee based on an assessment of your income and assets, and will notify you of the amount. Aged care fees are reviewed quarterly. New fees are set on 1 January, 20 March, 1 July and 20 September. Some people will have their accommodation costs paid in full or part by the Australian Government, while others will need to pay the accommodation price agreed with the aged care home. The aged care home will set the fees for the extra or additional optional services.
Under the new system, there is an annual cap of $25,000 (indexed by the CPI) and a lifetime cap of $60,000 (indexed by the CPI). More information about the aged care reforms is available from the Department of Social Services website: www.humanservices.gov.au.
Deeming calculation from 1 July 2017
Deeming is used to calculate income for assessment of your payment.
From 1 July 2017:
- If you are single and receive an income support payment, the first $50,200 of your financial investments is deemed to earn income at 1.75% per annum and any amount over that is deemed to earn income at 3.25% per annum.
- If you are a member of a couple and at least one of you receive a pension, the first $83,400 of your and your partner’s combined financial investments are deemed to earn income at 1.75% per annum and any amount over that is deemed to earn income at 3.25% per annum; or
- If you are a member of a couple and neither of you receive a pension, the first $41,700 for each of your own and your share of jointly owned financial investments are deemed to earn income at 1.75% per annum and any amount over that is deemed to earn income at 3.25% per annum.
If you earn more than the deemed rates
If your investment return is higher than the deemed income we calculate, the extra income doesn’t count towards your assessable income for your income support payment.
Source: Department of Human Services website: www.humanservices.gov.au
Aged Care Complaints Commissioner
The Aged Care Complaints Commissioner provides a free service for anyone to raise their concerns about the quality of services being delivered to people receiving aged care services subsidised by the Australian Government. For further details, please see https://www.agedcarecomplaints.gov.au/ or phone 1800 550 552, or by writing to:
Aged Care Complaints Commissioner
GPO Box 9848
(Your capital city and state/territory)