Aged care homes: costs explained

If you have made the decision or are thinking about moving into an Australian Government-subsidised aged care home, then you may be wondering how much it will cost. There is no simple answer to this question.

Your costs may vary according to:

  • your date of entry into an aged care home
  • your income and assets at that point
  • whether or not you are a pensioner
  • the level of care you need (low-level or high-level residential care).

But don't worry, there are strong protections in place to ensure that care is affordable for everyone. The Australian Government calculates and regulates maximum daily fees. It also enforces limits as to how much you can be asked to pay as an accommodation bond or accommodation charge. 

What types of costs are there?

Aged care homes may ask you to pay two main types of costs:

  • daily fees (calculated according to your income)
  • accommodation payments (calculated according to your assets).

Daily fees

Daily fees help cover your day-to-day living costs, such as meals, linen, laundry, and heating and cooling and care costs such as nursing and personal care. Daily fees have two parts:

Whether or not you will need to pay an income-tested fee – and how much you will be asked to pay – will be determined through an income assessment.

Accommodation payments

If your assets are more than a certain amount set by the Australian Government, you might also be asked to make an accommodation payment. This payment will go towards your aged care home accommodation. Before you sign your Resident Agreement, your aged care home will speak with you to agree to the amount. The payment will be either:

If you are seeking government assistance with aged care accommodation costs, you must undergo an assets assessment by the Department of Human Services or the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

If your assets are less than the cut-off level, you won't need to make an accommodation payment.

From 20 March 2014 to 30 June 2014, the asset cut-off levels are:

  • $45,000 for a fully supported resident
  • $116,136.00 for a partially supported resident.

In these cases, the Government will pay a full rate of government subsidy to your home to ensure you still receive the care and services you need.

A full list of current rates is provided on the Schedule of Residential Fees and Charges.

Financial Hardship Assistance

The Department of Social Services may be able to help with financial hardship assistance for aged care expenses. Applicants for financial hardship assistance may seek assistance with their daily fees, the income-tested fee, accommodation charge or accommodation bond. To find out more, contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

Extra-service homes

For an extra cost, some aged care homes can offer you a higher standard of accommodation, services and food.

The fee for these extra services varies from home to home, so it's best to check how much it will cost directly with the aged care home. You may also be requested to pay an accommodation bond.