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Aged Care Reforms

The Aged Care Reforms are being progressively introduced since their initial implementation in 2013. The changes will ensure the aged care system provides more choice and control for consumers, and remains sustainable and affordable for older Australians. The Department of Health (Health) is the agency responsible for the implementation of the reforms.

February 2017 changes

Increasing Choice in Home Care

From 27 February 2017, funding for a Home Care Package (accessed through the Department of Health’s My Aged Care website) will follow the client, allowing them to direct funding to the approved provider of their choice.  These changes replace the previous arrangements whereby Home Care Packages were allocated to approved providers who determined whether they had the capacity to take on a client once they were approved for a Home Care Package by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).  Home Care Packages will now move with the client, allowing them to change providers if they wish or if they move to another part of Australia.  If they choose to change providers, any unspent funds (less exit amount) within their package will follow them to their new Home Care Package provider. 

A new process, managed through My Aged Care, will deliver a consistent national system for assigning Home Care packages to eligible clients.

All Home Care Packages continue to be delivered through a Consumer Directed Care (CDC) approach.  This approach allows clients to have greater control over their package in terms of the services to be accessed and the delivery of these services.  DVA clients will still, if required, be able to access Veterans’ Home Care and Community Nursing services while they are accessing a Home Care package, as long as there is no duplication of services.

Aged Care Changes effective 27 February 2017

Home Care Package changes

Short-Term Restorative Care

Short-Term Restorative Care (STRC) is a new form of ‘flexible care’ designed to assist older Australians to remain living in their homes thus avoiding preventable hospitalisations and premature entry into residential aged care. Flexible care acknowledges that the needs of aged care recipients may require a different care approach than that provided through mainstream residential and home care.   

STRC is administered by the Department of Health (Health), with DVA funding the daily care fee (the client contribution/co-payment) for former Prisoners of War (POW) and Victoria Cross (VC) recipients. 

This client contribution is set at a statutory maximum of 17.5% of the single basic age pension for STRC services provided in a home setting, and 85% of the single basic aged pension for STRC provided in a residential care setting.

Where a client identifies as a former POW or VC recipient, the approved STRC provider must contact DVA to confirm their POW or VC recipient status and to arrange for the payment of fees by emailing the HCS Community Programmes mailbox (

Further information in relation to STRC is available on the My Aged Care (Department of Health) website under Short-Term Restorative Care.

January 2016 changes

In the 2015-16 Budget, the Australian Government announced it would make aged care means testing arrangements more consistent by removing an exemption that relates to rental income from a resident’s former principal home. The change is consistent with changes that took effect on 1 July 2014 to make aged care means testing arrangements fairer and more comprehensive, and ensure that all rental income is included in the aged care means test. It will affect residents who enter care from 1 January 2016.

Aged Care Changes effective 1 January 2016

Alignment of means testing for Residential Aged Care to include rental income from the former home

July 2015 changes

The latest stage of reforms came into effect on 1 July 2015. This stage includes a number of important changes to provide older Australians with better access to aged care services in the community. These changes do not directly impact on the community care services provided under DVAprogrammes. The changes are summarised below and include links to obtain further information:

Aged Care Changes effective 1 July 2015

Expansion of services though the My Aged Care website from 1 July 2015
The commencement of the Commonwealth Home Support Programme from 1 July 2015*
The introduction of Consumer Directed Care for all Home Care Packages

*Note: The Home and Community Care program (HACC) in Victoria and Western Australia will not be incorporated into the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP). 

The changes that were introduced in previous stages include:

2013 Aged Care Reforms
Veterans' Supplement in Residential Care and Home Care Packages
2014 Aged Care Reforms
New Means Testing arrangements in residential aged care for those entering care on or after 1 July 2014
Income Testing for those accessing a Home Care Package on or after 1 July 2014
Removal of High and Low Care classifications from permanent residential aged care

Accessing DVA Programmes and Services and Commonwealth Home Support 

DVA provides entry-level home care and clinical nursing services to eligible veterans and war widows through the Veterans’ Home Care and Community Nursing Factsheet HSV16 programmes. These services are similar to some of the services provided under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP). You are able to access services through DVA and through the CHSP, as long as there is no duplication of that service. You can talk to the My Aged Care staff about receiving these services – visit the My Aged Care website or call 1800 200 422 (Mon-Fri 8am - 8pm, Sat 10am - 2pm), from any location within Australia.

Accessing DVA Programmes and Services in Residential Aged Care

Veterans and war widow/ers who hold a DVA Gold or White Card and live in residential aged care may continue to access many of the same services they were entitled to prior to entering residential care (e.g. travel for treatment, medical services). However, where a residential aged care provider is required to fund certain health services (e.g. podiatry or physiotherapy) and is receiving government subsidisation to do so, there are limitations on access to some DVA-funded Allied Health services and Rehabilitation Aids and Appliances. For more information see DVA’s factsheets.

My Aged Care Website and Contact Centre

The My Aged Care website and national contact centre provides older people, their families and carers with:

  • information on aged care;
  • support for consumers to find Commonwealth funded aged care services in their local area; and
  • referrals to assessment services and service providers.

Visit the My Aged Care website for more information on aged care services. Alternatively, contact 1800 200 422 (8am - 8pm Monday-Friday, 10am-2pm Saturday).

Aged Care Complaints Scheme

The Aged Care Complaints Scheme is a free service that examines complaints or concerns about Commonwealth-funded aged care services, including:

  • Residential Aged Care
  • Commonwealth funded Home and Community Care Services (excluding Western Australia and Victoria); or
  • Home Care Packages.

If you have a concern about the care you or someone else is receiving, complaints can be lodged online. Alternatively, you can contact the Aged Care Complaints Scheme on 1800 550 552.

If you have feedback or concerns about DVA Programmes or services, please visit the DVA complaints, compliments and feedback page for more information.

    DVA Frequently Asked Questions - Aged Care Reforms


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