Thousands more home care packages to become available

woman receiving home care from nurse

More than 40,000 older Australians could soon be eligible to receive tens of thousands of dollars in government support for in-home aged care services.

A majority if older Australians say they want to age at home rather than enter a residential aged care facility. But getting the level care required can be expensive. Which is why the federal government offers the Home Care Packages Program.

Now, 40,000 additional packages are set to become available before June 2023, taking the total number to more than 275,000. The federal government says the move is based on the recommendations of the 2018 aged care royal commission.

Read: Report highlights the problems for renting pensioners

Four categories of assistance are offered, based on the level of care required. Annual funding amounts range from around $9000 to more than $53,000.

To qualify, you must be 65 or older (or 50 years and older for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders). The level of care is determined through a My Aged Care assessment.

Care levels

Level one offers up to $9179.75 per year and is intended to deliver basic services such as gardening, washing and domestic support.

Level two is up to $16,147.60 per year and covers ‘low-care’ needs that are a little more complex than level one, such as transport or shopping.

At level three, you can get up to $35,138.55 for a more advanced level of care including such things as regular visits from nurses, support with medication and even home modifications such as ramps and rails.

Read: How to complain about aged care and get what you want

The highest level of government at-home care, level four, is for individuals with ‘high-care’ needs and involves grants of up to $53,268.10 a year for daily medical visits, assistance with social support, cooking, nursing support, cleaning and more.

The services are delivered by third-party providers contracted by the government.

Additional fees

Depending on your income, you may be required to pay a care fee, or co-payment, to the government for your at-home care services. That is determined via a Centrelink assessment.

If you do need to pay, there are annual and lifetime limits on the total amount you can be asked to pay. People on a full Age Pension and those with an income up to $29,234.40 are not expected to pay.

Read: How to fix our ‘broken’ aged care funding system

The fee is $16.15 per day if you are single and earning more than $29,234.40; a member of a couple living together who earns more than 22,679.80, or a member of a couple living apart due to illness and earning more than $28,662.40.

The fee jumps to between $16.15 and $32.30 per day if you are single and earning more than $56,295.20; a member of a couple and earning more than $43,076.80, or a member of a couple living apart earning more than $55,723.20.

In addition to the government payment, the third-party care providers are entitled to charge an $11.26 ‘basic daily charge’, although many do not, so it’s worth shopping around.

Could a home care package be useful for you or a loved one? Or does the daily fee still make it too expensive? Let us know in the comments section below.

Written by Brad Lockyer

Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.

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One Comment

  1. I have a Home Care Package and receive excellent service via my current Service Provider. This hasn’t always been the case though. My previous Provider was ‘iffy’ to say the least. No real certainty of service and suddenly decided to add a daily fee to the charges. Not only did they want to add the daily fee, they made it a fee per ‘service’ and decided that as the main service they provided was for my legs it would be double charges each day as I had “2 legs”. I wonder what they would have wanted to charge had the service been to my fingers or toes! 10 charges per day??? My current provider does not charge any additional daily fee at all unless directed to do so by Centrelink. And the service is much, much better. It sure pays to shop around and see what the available providers offer. Also try and talk to other recipients before making a decision.

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