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Factsheet HCS01 - Veterans’ Home Care

Purpose

This Factsheet provides information about the Veterans' Home Care Program including who is eligible and how to access it.

What is Veterans’ Home Care?

Veterans' Home Care (VHC) is a DVA program designed to assist entitled persons who need a small amount of practical help to continue living independently in their own home. Services include Domestic Assistance, Personal Care, Respite Care, and safety-related Home and Garden Maintenance. VHC is not designed to meet complex or high-level care needs.

Limited, short term Social Assistance may also be provided as part of the Coordinated Veterans’ Care (CVC) Program. Please refer to Factsheet HSV101 Coordinated Veterans’ Care Program for more information.

Am I eligible to receive VHC services?

Entitled persons who have a Gold Card or White Card are eligible for an assessment for VHC services.

Entitled persons who have eligibility under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) and partners or dependants who have eligibility under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) are eligible to be assessed for  all VHC Services.

However, the following entitled persons are only eligible to receive some VHC services:

  • British Commonwealth and Allied (BCAL) veterans with a White Card are eligible for VHC respite care only.
  • Members who have service-related disabilities accepted under the MRCA and/or the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA) and are eligible to receive:
    • some Household Services (refer to Factsheet MRC42 Household Services ) but may not receive Domestic Assistance and/or safety-related Home and/or Garden Maintenance; and/or
    • Attendant Care (refer to Factsheet MRC41 Attendant Care) but may not receive Personal Care.

Call a VHC Assessment Agency on 1300 550 450^ to discuss your eligibility, as it may vary from what is outlined in this Factsheet.

How do I apply?

To receive VHC services you must have an assessment by a VHC assessor. Most assessments are done over the phone. To arrange an assessment call a VHC Assessment Agency on 1300 550 450^. The VHC assessor will discuss your circumstances with you to identify the range of services you may need.

Following the assessment, the services you need will be detailed in a Care Plan and sent to you and the VHC Service Provider. The VHC Service Provider will call you to discuss a suitable time to provide their service(s).

What services may I receive?

Personal Care

Personal Care includes assistance with daily self-care tasks that a person is unable to do for themselves. Services may include assistance with:

  • showering, bathing, toileting;
  • dressing, grooming;
  • eating;
  • application of non-medicated skin care creams and lotions; and
  • putting on compression stockings, protective bandaging, splints and callipers.

Respite Care

Respite Care gives a break to a carer. Respite care may be provided to someone who is:

  • a carer of an entitled person;
  • an entitled person who is a carer; or
  • a self carer (for residential respite only).

Respite services include:

  • In-home Respite Care;
  • Residential Respite Care; or
  • Emergency Short-Term Home Relief (ESTHR).

For more information, please refer to Factsheet HSV06 Respite Care and Carer Support.

Domestic Assistance

Domestic Assistance provides support with basic household tasks such as:

  • internal house cleaning like dishwashing, vacuuming and mopping, bed making and linen changing, clothes washing and/or ironing;
  • some assistance with meal preparation (but not total preparation of meals);
  • bill paying and unaccompanied shopping; and
  • collection and/or cutting of firewood in rural and remote areas.

Safety-related Home and Garden Maintenance

Safety-related Home and Garden Maintenance services are designed to keep the home safe by minimising hazards. Services include minor tasks that could be done by a handyman such as:

  • replacing light bulbs;
  • changing batteries in smoke/security alarms;
  • cleaning gutters, external and internal windows or ceiling fans;
  • minor home maintenance (e.g. cupboard door adjustment);
  • pruning, grass cutting or weeding (only where a safety hazard exists);
  • clearing of debris following natural disasters;
  • collection and/or cutting of firewood in rural and remote areas; and
  • one-off garden clean ups in specific circumstances.

Safety-related Home and Garden Maintenance services do not include major repairs or services requiring a qualified tradesperson, including for example, gutter replacement, major landscaping or garden tasks such as tree lopping or tree felling/removal.

Garden tasks such as lawn mowing and pruning can only be undertaken if an environmental health or safety hazard exists. Routine, cosmetic or ornamental gardening services such as weeding, maintaining flower beds, regular lawn mowing, or pruning of roses are not available under this service.

Are there limits to each service I can receive?

Personal Care

Dependent on your assessed needs, you may have up to one-and-a-half hours per week from the VHC Program. If you have long term higher level personal care needs, please refer to Factsheet HSV16 Community Nursing Services.

Respite Care

In any one financial year, up to 196 hours of In-Home Respite Care or 28 days of Residential Respite Care, or a combination of both can be paid for by DVA. For Australian former Prisoners of War and Victoria Cross recipients, DVA will pay for 63 days of Residential Respite Care. In addition, there are up to 216 hours of ESTHR available.

For more information, please refer to Factsheet HSV06 Respite Care and Carer Support.

Domestic Assistance

There are no strict limits for Domestic Assistance as it depends on your assessed needs, taking into account the VHC Program is not designed to meet complex or high-level care needs.  The service is provided on a weekly or fortnightly basis, dependent on your assessed needs.

Safety-related Home and Garden Maintenance

You may have up to 15 hours in a 12 month period. The service is based on your assessed needs, so you will not automatically be entitled to 15 hours.

How much do these services cost?

Copayments apply and are a contribution towards the cost of providing the services.

Service Cost Per Hour Capped Amount
Costs per service
Domestic Assistance $5 per hour Maximum $5 per week
Personal Care $5 per hour Maximum $10 per week
Social Assistance $5 per hour Maximum $5 per week
Home and Garden Maintenance $5 per hour Maximum $75 per year
Respite Care No copayment N/A

If you are having difficulties paying the copayment, please contact DVA using the numbers listed under “More Information” on this Factsheet, or refer to Factsheet HCS05 Waiver of Copayments for Veterans' Home Care Services.

If you are receiving safety-related Home and Garden Maintenance services, you may have to cover the cost of supplies like batteries (for smoke detectors) or light globes. Other costs, such as rubbish dumping fees to remove garden rubbish, may also be charged. You must agree to these additional payments with the VHC Service Provider before they start work.

What do I do if I am unhappy with my VHC service?

You should contact your VHC Service Provider on the contact number they provide on your Care Plan as soon as possible if you have any concerns about the services you are receiving.

Will VHC services continue following the death of a veteran?

If a veteran dies, and at the time of death the veteran was receiving Domestic Assistance or safety-related Home and Garden Maintenance, an eligible person who lived with the veteran immediately before the veteran’s death, may continue to receive these services for a period of up to 12 weeks following the death.

People who may be eligible for continuation of services are:

  • a widow/widower of the deceased veteran; or
  • a child of the veteran; or
  • an adult child of the veteran with a serious disability; or
  • an adult child of the veteran who was a full-time carer of the veteran immediately prior to the veteran’s death.

If a claim for war widow/widower pension is lodged during this 12 week period, the service may be continued past the initial 12 weeks until DVA notifies the VHC Assessment Agency of the claim determination date. If war widow/widower status is granted, the war widow/widower is assessed for services in their own right.

In relation to VHC services continuing following the death of a war widow/widower or dependant please contact your VHC Assessment Agency on 1300 550 450^.

Other Government services

The Home Care Packages Program, the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) or the Home and Community Care (HACC) Program (Western Australia) may provide additional assistance not available under the VHC Program.

These programs are not funded by DVA and could have additional costs associated with this care.

For more information on these programs, please telephone the My Aged Care national contact centre on 1800 200 422* or visit the My Aged Care website at www.myagedcare.gov.au

More Information

DVA General Enquiries

Metro Phone: 133 254 *  

Regional Phone: 1800 555 254 *

Email: GeneralEnquiries@dva.gov.au

DVA Website: www.dva.gov.au

Factsheet Website: www.dva.gov.au/factsheets

* Calls from mobile phones and pay phones may incur additional charges.

^ Call from a landline telephone as calls from mobile phones cannot be connected directly to a VHC Assessment Agency.

Related Factsheets

Disclaimer

The information contained in this Factsheet is general in nature and does not take into account individual circumstances. You should not make important decisions, such as those that affect your financial or lifestyle position on the basis of information contained in this Factsheet. Where you are required to lodge a written claim for a benefit, you must take full responsibility for your decisions prior to the written claim being determined. You should seek confirmation in writing of any oral advice you receive from DVA.

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12 October 2017