Aged care costs

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This page provides an overview of aged care fees and payments. There is also information about when you may need to contribute to the cost of your care.

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Aged care assessment

The cost of your aged care depends on the level of care you need.

Before you go into aged care, your needs must be assessed by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT), or the Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) if you are in Victoria.

Your assessor will recommend the most appropriate care for you.

Aged care costs are means tested: how much you pay towards your accommodation and care depends on your income and assets.

When you know the type of care you need and the cost, you will then find out if you must contribute to the cost and how much this is.

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Types of aged care fees

There are different fees for home care versus residential care.

Home care

If you receive home care, you will need to pay the basic fee that everyone pays.

You may also need to pay an income tested fee if your income is above a certain limit.

Residential care

If you receive residential aged care, you will need to pay the basic fee that everyone pays.

If your income and assets are above a certain limit, you may also need to pay:

  • a means-tested care fee
  • a means-tested accommodation fee
  • fees for extra services or care you choose to receive

You can find the current fees in the Schedule of Fees and Charges for Residential and Home Care.

If you have been in care since before 1 July 2014, your costs will be different. You can find the costs of aged care before 1 July 2014 in the Schedule of Fees and Charges for Pre-1 July 2014 Residential and Home Care Recipients or you can call 1800 200 422 for more information.

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Exceptions

We will pay your basic fee and the accommodation fee if you:

  • are an Australian former prisoner of war
  • received the Victoria Cross

You may still need to pay a means-tested care fee if your income and assets are above a certain limit.

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Caps on aged care fees

There is a limit or cap on the amount of means-tested fees you will need to pay over:

  • the year
  • your lifetime

These caps are indexed (adjusted to keep up with the cost of living) in March and September of each year.

Once you have paid the capped amount of fees for the year, you won’t need to pay any more until the next year (on the anniversary of the date you started receiving the care).

Services Australia will write to you and your care provider if this happens.

Annual caps for care fees

Home care

The most you can be asked to pay for the means-tested home-care package depends on your income.

You can find the current cap amount in the Schedule of Fees and Charges for Residential and Home Care under Caps on Income Tested Care Fees in Home Care.

Once you reach the capped amount, you won’t need to pay any more fees until the next anniversary of the date you started receiving the care.

Services Australia will write to you and your care provider if this happens.

Residential care

There is an annual limit to the amount you can be asked to pay for the means-tested residential-care fees.

You can find the annual cap amount in the Schedule of Fees and Charges for Residential and Home Care under Cap on Means Tested Care Fees in Residential Care.

Once you reach the capped amount, you won’t need to pay any more fees until the next anniversary of the date you started receiving the care.

Services Australia will write to you and your care provider if this happens.

You will still need to pay the basic fee, accommodation costs and the costs for any extra services you need.

If you paid home-care package fees in the same year before you went into residential care, these fees will be included towards your limit.

Lifetime caps for care fees

The maximum amount of means-tested fees you need to pay in your lifetime.

You can find the lifetime cap amount in the Schedule of Fees and Charges for Residential and Home Care under Lifetime Cap on Means Tested Care Fees in Residential Care and Income Tested Care Fees in Home Care.

The lifetime capped amount includes both the home-care package fees and residential-care fees you have paid.

Services Australia will write to you and your care provider if you reach the lifetime capped amount.

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Assessing your income and assets

Before July 2014

If your care arrangement started before 1 July 2014, how much you pay is based only on your income (not your assets).

If you are already in care and you move to a new provider, you can choose to either:

  • remain in the old scheme
  • join the new scheme

If you choose to remain in the old scheme you must move into your new aged care facility within 28 days of leaving the old facility.

If your care arrangement started before 1 July 2014 and you leave care for more than 28 days without approved leave, you will need another assessment if you want to go back into care. The new assessment will be under the new rules.

From July 2014

For anyone receiving care now or at any time after 1 July 2014, how much you pay depends on the value of your income and assets.

It is important to have your income and assets assessed. You may be eligible for Government help towards your aged-care costs if your income and assets are below a certain level.

If you receive a DVA pension, we will do the income and assets assessment for you. If you receive a pension from Services Australia, they will do the assessment.

You may have to pay full fees if your income and assets are not assessed.

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Forms

You will need to complete either 1 or 2 forms to have your income and assets assessed depending on the type of care you need.

Home care

Home Care Package Calculation of your cost of care form (SA456)

You can also get an estimate of your home-care costs using the My Aged Care home-care fee estimator.

Residential aged care

Aged Care Calculation of your cost of care form (SA486)

Residential Aged Care Property details for Centrelink and DVA customers (SA485)

These forms are also available from Services Australia.

You can also get an estimate of your residential-care costs using the My Aged Care residential-care fee estimator.

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How to request an assessment

If you receive a DVA pension

You can request an assessment through us if you receive any of these payments:

  • service pension
  • income support supplement
  • DVA age pension
  • DVA disability pension
  • war widow(er)’s pension

We will also do the assessment for Australian Defence Force former prisoners of war and people who have received the Victoria Cross. 

Simply complete the home-care form or residential-care forms and send to us.

We will assess the value of your income and assets and send the information to Services Australia.

They will tell you how much you will need to pay for your care and accommodation fees.

If you receive a Services Australia pension

Complete the home-care form or residential-care forms and send to Services Australia if you receive a pension from them.

They will assess the value of your income and assets, and tell you how much you will need to pay for your care and accommodation fees.

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Income included in the assessment

To assess your income, we will include your income support payment (excluding the minimum pension supplement amount) and any of these that apply:

  • war widow(er)’s pension and disability pension
  • deemed income on financial assets and on large gifting amounts
  • overseas pensions
  • payments from superannuation
  • income from annuities, allocated pensions and transition-to-retirement pensions, market-linked pensions or term-allocated pensions
  • net income from businesses including farms
  • rental income from investment properties
  • family trust distributions or dividends from private company shares

We will not include:

  • the energy supplement
  • the 4% GST component of the disability pension and war widow(er)’s pension

If you receive a DVA disability pension or war widow(er)’s pension, we will not count this as income if you also have qualifying service.

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Assets included in the assessment

When we assess your assets, we will include:

  • money in bank accounts
  • investments
  • real estate
  • motor vehicles
  • household contents
  • personal effects
  • any assets you sold or gave away for less than their value
  • lump sum payments made to the aged-care facility such as Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD) and Refundable Accommodation Contribution (RAC)

RAD and RAC payments are not included in a pension assessment, but they are counted as assets when we calculate aged-care costs.

Each member of a couple is considered to have half of the combined assets of both partners.

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Your home

Your principal home is the home you live in, on an ongoing and permanent basis.

Keeping your home

If you keep your principal home, part of the value may be considered as an asset.

If you own a house as a couple, each partner is considered to own half the value of the house.

If you enter care any time after 1 July 2014, there is a limit on the value of your house that can be included in your assets.

You can find the house value cap amount in the Schedule of Fees and Charges for Residential and Home Care under Home Exemption Cap.

Keeping your home and a protected person is living there

If a protected person is living in your principal home when you go into residential care, your home will not be counted as an asset. 

A protected person can be:

  • your partner
  • a dependent child
  • a carer who is eligible for an Australian Government income support payment and who has been living with you in that home for the past 2 years
  • a close relative who is eligible for an Australian Government income support payment and who has been living with you in that home for the past 5 years

If the protected person moves out of your home, your home may be counted as an asset.

Selling your home

If you sell your home, the home capped value or the net market value will no longer apply.

You may choose to use some or all the money from the sale of your home to pay a lump sum payment to the aged-care facility. If you do this, the amount you pay for the deposit is included as an asset in your assessment. This is because you can ask the aged-care facility to use some of that money to pay for your ongoing aged-care costs.

The refundable lump-sum accommodation payment is not counted as an asset for pension purposes.

If you entered care before 1 July 2014 and you sell your home, the full value of your home is included.

Renting your home

If you rent out your home, the rental income may be included as income in the assessment of your costs.

Rent is not included if you entered care before 1 January 2016 and you pay your accommodation by either:

  • periodic payment
  • a combination of periodic payment and lump-sum payment

Rent is included in your assessment if you entered permanent residential care on or after 1 January 2016.

If you entered residential care before 1 January 2016 and you leave for more than 28 days, then go back into care, any rental income from your home will be included in your assessment.

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Changes to your care 

Your care needs may change after your initial assessment.

If this happens, you may need another assessment to see if the amount you need to pay is going to change.

Speak to your current provider to review your care plan.

If you change your care plan, your service care provider will contact your My Aged Care assessor. The assessor will update your care plan and tell you if you need to do another assessment.

As your care needs change, you may become eligible for more care. You can ask for a reassessment at any time by calling My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

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Help with aged care information

Before you enter care, you will sign a care agreement with your provider. This agreement will set out all of the fees and charges you need to pay for your care.

Your provider will also send you a regular statement detailing the amounts charged.

You can get more information about your aged care fees from My Aged Care by:

Complaints

If you have a complaint about your aged care service, you can start by talking to your care provider.

If you prefer not to talk to your provider or you have not been able to resolve the issue, you can call:

Tax offset

You may be entitled to a tax offset if your aged care expenses are over the medical expenses threshold for the financial year.

To find out if you are eligible you can either:

  • contact the Australian Taxation Office on 132 861
  • speak to a tax agent

 

 

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