There are three ways you can pay your accommodation bond:
Accommodation bonds if you entered care before 1 July 2014
If you entered an aged care home before 1 July 2014, you may have paid for your accommodation as an accommodation bond or as an accommodation charge. It depends on what level of care you needed when you first entered care, and the outcome of your assets assessment.
Accommodation bonds are used if you were assessed with low-level needs or you moved into an extra service place with high-care needs. You can find more information on accommodation bonds on this page.
Accommodation charges are used for residents with high-level care needs. You can read more about this on our accommodation charges page.
What is an accommodation bond?
How much is the accommodation bond?
How is the bond amount worked out?
How do I pay my accommodation bond?
Why could I be paying interest?
What can my aged care home take from my bond in retention amounts?
Can my accommodation bond amount change?
What is an accommodation bond agreement?
Moving aged care homes
What happens after a resident dies?
How to make a complaint
An accommodation bond is a lump sum amount that you pay for your accommodation in an aged care home.
When you leave the aged care home, the bond amount (minus any deductions that you have agreed to) is returned to you or your estate.
The bond amount is different for each resident and can vary from one aged care home to the next. It is based on what you can afford to pay.
Your bond amount would have been worked out through an assessment of your assets on the date you entered the aged care home. This amount could not have exceeded the difference between the minimum assets amount and the total value of your assessed assets at the time.
The amount you pay would have been agreed to between you and the aged care home.
The minimum assets amount is provided in the Schedule of Fees and Charges for Pre-1 July 2014 Residential and Home Care Recipients.
How do I pay my accommodation bond?
If you agreed to pay a lump sum when you entered care, you had up to six months after moving in to pay the bond amount. However, you may have been charged interest and retention amounts during this period, starting from the date you entered care.
Periodic payments are regular rental-style payments that are usually paid fortnightly or monthly. You must pay interest on periodic payments.
It is possible to do both: partially pay the lump sum and agree with your aged care home to pay the rest through ongoing rental-style payments. This can include retention amounts plus any interest that accrues on the outstanding amount due.
If you didn’t pay your bond in full on the day you moved into the home, you may have been charged interest on the outstanding amount due.
The rate of interest that you can be charged on overdue accommodation bond amounts was agreed upon between you and your provider at your date of admission. This rate is fixed on the day you move in and is set out in your accommodation bond agreement.
The Australian Government sets the maximum interest rate you can be charged. You and your provider may have agreed to a lower rate.
Your aged care home may either:
- deduct an amount from your accommodation bond balance, or
- include an amount in a bond periodic payment for each month, or part of a month.
These are called retention amounts.
The maximum amount of time for deducting monthly retention payments is five years. The five-year period started on the day that you entered your aged care home as a permanent resident, unless:
- the aged care home was not certified on that day — the five-year period started the day the aged care home became certified
- you were granted financial hardship for your accommodation bond — the five-year period started the day after the determination ended, or
- you transferred from respite care — the five-year period started the day of the transfer.
The Australian Government sets the maximum retention amount that can be charged. A full list of current rates is provided in the Schedule of Fees and Charges for Pre-1 July 2014 Residential and Home Care Recipients.
No. Your bond amount cannot change while you are at the same aged care home. This is because your assessed assets are fixed from when you first moved into the home. If your assets go up or down, it doesn’t affect your bond amount, the interest you may be charged, or the monthly retention amount.
What if I move to a new aged care home?
The new aged care home may collect the bond balance from you. If you do pay a bond at the new aged care home, it cannot be more than the refunded amount from your previous aged care home.
The new aged care home may charge a different amount for retention and interest. However, the retention period does not restart.
Read more about moving aged care homes further down this page.
Your aged care home should have offered you an accommodation bond agreement when you first moved into the home.
An accommodation bond agreement must include:
- your date of entry to the service
- the agreed accommodation bond amount
- how the bond will be paid (lump sum, periodic payment, or a combination)
- the date the bond is due to be paid
- amounts that will be deducted from the bond balance for retention amounts
- the interest rate you may be charged for periodic payments
- whether paying the bond entitles the resident to specific accommodation or additional services
- any financial hardship provisions that apply to you
- the circumstances in which the accommodation bond balance must be refunded.
An accommodation bond agreement may be included as part of your resident agreement or it may be a separate document.
If you transfer to a new aged care home and choose to keep your current fee arrangements, your new provider must offer you a new accommodation bond agreement. This must be done within 21 days from the date that you move into the new home.
Moving aged care homes
If you move to another aged care home after 1 July 2014, you can keep your current fee arrangement, or opt in to the post-1 July 2014 fee arrangements.
You can only choose to keep your current fee arrangements if you have not had a break of more than 28 days between living at either aged care home. If you have left care for more than 28 days, your fees will automatically be calculated using the fee arrangements that were introduced on 1 July 2014.
If you are going to keep your current fee arrangement, you may wish to contact Services Australia to have your asset details updated. Some government supports for your accommodation are dependent on this information.
If you have had your bond balance refunded, your new aged care home cannot ask you to pay a bond that exceeds that amount.
Accommodation bonds and accommodation charges have been replaced by accommodation contributions and accommodation payments since 1 July 2014.
To opt in, you need to complete the Continuing Care Recipient opting into the New Aged Care Arrangements from 1 July 2014 (AC022) form and have your provider submit it to Services Australia before you transfer.
If you do not complete and submit this form before you transfer, you will automatically keep your current fee arrangements. Once this is done, it cannot be changed. You should discuss opting in with your new aged care provider beforehand.
Your provider will also need to give you to read New Arrangements for Aged Care from 1 July 2014 – Residential Care.
Read more about the post-1 July 2014 fee arrangements on the aged care homes costs and fees page.
Yes. All aged care homes must refund the remaining balance of accommodation lump sums when a person leaves an aged care home, within the following specified time frames:
- if you let your aged care home know more than 14 days in advance of you leaving, your bond balance must be refunded to you on the day you leave.
- if you give 14 days’ notice (or less) of leaving, the bond balance must be repaid within 14 days after the day you give notice.
- if you don’t let your aged care home know in advance that you are leaving, the bond balance must be refunded within 14 days after the day you leave.
This information is also outlined in your accommodation bond agreement.
Read more about refunds on the accommodation refunds page.
If a resident dies, the aged care home must refund their lump sum balance less any allowable amounts that have been deducted over the care period. This must be done within 14 days of receiving either:
- proof of probate of the resident’s Will (the official proving of a Will) or
- letters of administration (authority to administer the estate of someone who has died without making a Will).
The provider may refund the lump sum balance without proof of these documents, if they are confident that the correct legal beneficiary has been identified. However, they do have the right to see these documents. This protects the provider and the resident’s estate by ensuring the resident’s wishes are followed by confirming who is entitled to the refund.
If you have any concerns about accommodation bonds, there are two ways you can make a complaint:
- Speak to the manager at your aged care home about your concerns.
- If you are not comfortable raising your concerns, or cannot resolve your concerns with your aged care home provider, you can contact the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
Read more about how to make a complaint.