Getting started with Home Care Packages


From February 27 2017, changes to the way Home Care Packages are funded has also changed the process that you must go through to obtain one.

Below are the four key steps that you need to take to access a Home Care Package as well as an overview of the funds that your package entitles you to.

Step 1 – Phone Assessment

The starting point to access any aged care service is the government’s My Aged Care contact centre.

You can call them on 1800 200 422 or visit their website www.myagedcare.gov.au

When you contact My Aged Care, you will undergo a quick phone screening so that your care needs can be assessed. Based on this initial assessment, you will either be referred to a Regional Assessment Service or to an Aged Care Assessment Team, or ACAT, for a more comprehensive assessment.

If you are referred to a Regional Assessment Service, it generally means that you require a Home Support Program for basic level support. This could include services such as meals on wheels or community transport.

If you have multiple, more complex or ongoing care and support needs, you will be referred for a more comprehensive ACAT assessment.

Step 2 – Your ACAT Assessment

Your ACAT assessment is designed to determine whether you are eligible for a Home Care Package, or if you require other services through transition care, respite care or permanent placement into an aged care home.

A member of your local ACAT, usually a nurse, social worker or other health care professional, will make a time to come to see you at home. They will talk to you about how you are managing day-to-day and may also ask your permission to talk to your doctor about your medical history.

During the assessment they will give you information on what services you might have available to you and what you might want to apply for. Many people also choose to have a family member, friend or carer present at the assessment to provide extra support.

Step 3 – Securing a Home Care Package

There are four levels of Home Care Packages – if it is determined that you are to receive home care, you will be allocated a package, based on the level of care you require.

Unfortunately, just because it is decided that you are eligible for a Home Care Package, it doesn’t mean that you will automatically receive one. In Australia, there is currently a shortage of packages available, meaning that you might be placed on a government waiting list.

Once you are allocated a package, you will need to choose an approved provider to administer the funds for you – and they will normally charge a fee to do this. Some providers are charging as little as 10% to simply ‘administer’ your funds – with others offering tiered levels of case management, depending on how much support you need to organise your care.

lightbulb Top tip!

Remember – from February 2017, those people with an existing Home Care Package will have the freedom to move from their existing provider to one that can provide them with a better deal. Click through here to get more information on how to switch providers.

Step 5 – Choosing where to access your services

Your level of Home Care Package will determine how much funding you have available for your care. Please note these figures are correct as at March 2017.

  • Level 1 total package
  • $8,054 per year, or $22.04 per day available for your care services
  • Level 2 total package
  • $14,633 per year, or $40.09 per day available for your care services
  • Level 3 total package
  • $32,171 per year, or $88.14 per day available for your care services
  • Level 4 total package
  • $48,906 per year, or $133.99 per day available for your care services

Your contribution

You may be asked to make a contribution to this package, based on your level of income. If you do not have capacity to pay, you can apply for financial hardship to have the fees waived or reduced.

Your total package = your contribution + the government subsidy.

  • If you are a full pensioner, you will be asked to contribute $9.97 a day and no more than $3,624 a year.
  • All others will be asked to contribute an amount which will be determined based on your income, but capped at $5,118 a year for part pensioners and $10,375 a year for self-funded retirees.

Importantly, the amount you contribute is the same, regardless of the Level of your home care package.

It’s also important to note that the government is allowing providers to waive the basic fee of $9.97 a day – so part pensioners can pay nothing. Some providers are already putting this into practice, so you should make sure you ask the question when you’re selecting your provider. Note that this should not impact the overall budget you have to spend on care, which should remain the same.

Step 4 – Selecting your services

Under Consumer Directed Care, you have the ability to choose what services you want, who comes to your home to deliver them and negotiate what you pay for that service.

When you choose a home care provider to administer your funds, they will work with you to develop a care plan that meets your needs. As part of this conversation, you can speak with your provider about using platforms like Better Caring if you are interested in choosing and hiring your care workers directly.

Hiring workers directly can reduce overhead costs, help you ensure you find a care worker who’s the right fit for you and reduce your hourly cost of care, helping your available funds go further.

Click through here to start searching for available care workers in your area.

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