Respite services for people with a disability

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Respite care is designed to provide relief for a carer who has the responsibility for a person requiring ongoing care, attention or support; it may be used in times of unavailability of the carer, for any reason. It gives the regular carer the opportunity for time out, while still ensuring quality care for the disabled person.

Respite care may be provided in different ways depending on the individual situation. Care may be provided:

  • in-home
  • in an Australian Government-funded residential aged care facility or
  • as emergency respite care in the recipient’s home.

For more information see our pages:

Respite services are provided both by the Commonwealth Government and the State and Territory Governments; and some respite services are provided jointly.

SHOAMP Health Care Scheme: Respite services may be available to carers of seriously ill F-111 SHOAMP Health Care Scheme Group 1 participants, subject to an assessment for eligibility.

Veterans’ Home Care: Veterans’ Home Care (VHC) respite services are funded by DVA and are accessed through the VHC program. To be eligible, the recipient/disabled person must be either a Veteran Gold Card or Veteran White Card holder. Recipients must have compensation/health care entitlements for accepted conditions, under the Veterans Entitlements Act (1986), the VEA, or the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (2004) the MRCA. In addition, claimants may or may not have claims accepted under DRCA. (In other words, claimants with DRCA-only accepted conditions cannot access VHC).

The types of VHC respite services available are:

  • in-home respite
  • residential respite
  • emergency short-term home relief.

In any one financial year, DVA may pay for up to 28 days (196 hours) of in-home or residential respite care, or a combination of both. {Seven hours of in-home respite is equivalent to one day in a residential respite facility}.

The Veterans Home Care program also includes personal care services and domestic assistance.

Please see our page Help so you can stay in your home.

Access to services is based on assessed need. Eligible veterans and war widows/widowers, or their carers, can call their regional VHC Assessment Agency for an assessment on 1300 550 450.

In addition to respite care, DVA also funds 2 types of support services available to persons with incapacitating medical conditions accepted under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA) as well as the MRCA:

Attendant Care

The types of attendant care/personal care services that can be funded for claimants with conditions accepted under DRCA/MRCA include: assistance with mobility; personal hygiene (bathing and toileting); dressing; grooming; feeding. (Medical, surgical, nursing or household services are not considered attendant care type services).

Attendant care payments are only made for expenses incurred (up to a maximum limit); the payments are additional to any other compensation payment being received through DVA.

Need is assessed by an Occupational Therapist or other suitably qualified person.

Household Service

DVA may meet the costs (up to a statutory limit) for household services that are assessed as being reasonably required by a SRCA , MRCA or VEA client as a result of a compensable injury. Household services are services of a domestic nature including: cooking; house cleaning; laundry; gardening; that are required for the proper running and maintenance of the client’s household. (These services do not include home maintenance services such as painting, repairs to household items, removal of large items of rubbish or white goods, etc).

The approval of household services depends on: the level of assessed need identified; the claimant’s current household circumstances; any contributions (by the claimant) to the provision of those services prior to the claimant’s injury.

Household services payments are only made for expenses incurred (up to a maximum limit). The payments are additional to any other compensation payment being received through DVA.

Need is assessed by an Occupational Therapist or other suitably qualified person.

Additional Assistance

For more information call DVA on 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372).

For a VHC Assessment Agency call 1300 550 450.

Other respite care services available nationally

My Aged Care

My Aged Care is your starting point to access government funded aged care services and can help explain what types of services are available.

Go to or call 1800 200 422.

Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres

This Commonwealth Government initiative provides information on home help, home modification and maintenance, nursing and respite care, transport and meal services, day care and therapy, assessment dementia services, continence, aged care homes, allied health and support groups.

For further information, call 1800 052 222.

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