FAQs – Finances

FAQs – Finances

Where does the money come from?

The money for your Home Care Package comes from the Commonwealth Government and is paid to your provider. They call this amount a ‘subsidy’ and it is calculated daily and paid monthly to the provider. The provider ‘hosts’ the package on your behalf, looking after the finances. They are accountable to the government and to you for how the package money is spent

What are Home Care Package supplements?

Supplements are extra payments for people with higher care and specialised support needs. There are supplements for:

  • people caring for someone with dementia
  • veterans with mental health problems
  • people who need oxygen
  • people with special feeding needs
  • people living in very remote areas
  • people in significant financial hardship.

Most of these supplements have a special eligibility and application process which your provider can help you with. The table below shows whether the supplement is added to your personal budget, or paid to your provider to use on your behalf. The rules about these supplements have recently changed. These are the new rules.

Supplement type Paid to provider to help pay for specialised products and equipment Paid to provider but must be added to eligible client’s individual budget Last updated on Dept of Health website
Dementia YES 3 January 2017
Veterans Mental Health YES 6 November 2016
Enteral feeding YES   18 January 2017
Oxygen YES   5 January 2017
Viability (location/postcode where client lives)   YES 3 January 2017
Hardship YES 6 January 2017

What does ‘individual budgets’ actually mean?

Your package funds – the government subsidy for your Home Care Package – can only be spent on care and services that are specific to you, including administration and case management costs. Each month, your package provider sends you a statement telling you about the financial activity for the previous month.

What can I spend the package money on?

You can use the funds to pay for a range of things that will help you to remain independent, safe and well at home. Exactly how you achieve this is up to you – you’re not limited to a prescribed menu of services. Think carefully about what you really need and prioritise what’s most important to you.

Think about whether you might need to top up your package with your own personal funds, or whether there are other funding sources you can apply for as well. See “What Services do Home Care Packages Provide” for more information.

What are the costs and charges that the provider takes from my package?

Home Care Package providers are not funded separately for their operating costs, such as buildings, vehicles, telephones, staff and administration. Therefore, some of your package subsidy is used to contribute to these costs. These are the ‘hidden costs’ of being the approved host of your Home Care Package.

Your provider also charges you for the cost of coordinating your care and services, known as ‘Case Management’. This includes things like home visits for assessments and reviews, care plan development, making and receiving calls relating to your care plan and rosters, and so forth.

Providers are expected to keep these costs to a minimum so that most of the subsidy is spent on you and your needs, but the government doesn’t control what providers can charge. The costs vary from one provider to another, so you might want to compare costs before you sign a Home Care Agreement with a provider.

What is a basic daily fee?

The Government allows providers to charge a basic daily fee. Unlike fees in other programs, any amount you pay is actually added to your budget and boosts what you can spend on care and support for yourself. Different providers charge different basic daily fees. Some providers have no fee and some use a sliding scale. The maximum you can be charged is $10.10 per day, which is equal to 17.5% of the full Age Pension. You can negotiate with your provider about what basic daily fee you pay.

Read more about fees on the My Aged Care website.

What is an income-tested care fee?

If your income is above a certain amount, you must pay an income-tested care fee. Your income-tested care fee is assessed by Centrelink and increases the higher your income is. The government subsidy for your package is reduced by the same amount as your income-tested care fee. The income-tested care fee is the same no matter what level of package you are on. You can legally be asked to pay a basic daily fee as well as an income-tested care fee, but many providers will negotiate with you to keep your costs at a level you can afford.

Why should I pay a fee? I paid my taxes!

Each week in Australia, 1,000 people turn 85 and 2,000 people turn 65. The government sees it as our collective responsibility to pay for aged care services by asking those who can afford to make a contribution to do so.

Remember, if you do pay a basic daily fee, this amount is added to your package budget, so you have more to spend on your care and services.

Can I just take the cash and sort things out for myself?

No. The government is very strict about this and there are no plans to change at the moment. You do have the right to be involved in deciding how the package funds are best spent.

Is the Commonwealth Home Support Program cheaper than a Home Care Package?

It depends. For some people at some times, the CHSP may be cheaper than a Home Care Package, because you only pay for the services you use.

A Home Care Package may be a better option if you need more assistance than the CHSP can offer or you need someone to coordinate your care and services.

Is it worth taking a package if I’m a part-pensioner or self-funded retiree?

Whether a Home Care Package is good value for money for you depends on your circumstances – everyone’s situation is different.

Part-pensioners and self-funded retirees will have to contribute more, but a Home Care Package may still be worthwhile. Some things to consider are:

  • what your care and support needs are
  • whether you have others that can help you manage at home
  • whether you would be better off financially paying for services privately
  • how much you have to contribute vs how much the Government will subsidise.

Don’t be too quick to say no to a package – it’s worth getting all the facts and figures before making a decision, particularly if you are eligible for a level 3 or 4 package.

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