Aged care home accommodation refunds
When you move into an aged care home, you can pay your accommodation costs in one of three ways: as a lump sum, as rental-style daily payments, or as a combination of the two.
If you choose to pay all or part of your accommodation costs as a lump sum payment, the balance of your lump sum must be refunded to you if you leave your aged care home.
If you are a resident who moved into care and paid a lump sum before 1 July 2014, read more about accommodation bond refunds.
The balance of your lump sum will be returned to you or your estate. This is your total lump sum payment minus any deductions that you have agreed to.
Deductions taken from your lump sum could be a daily accommodation payment or any other aged care fees you have agreed to with your provider.
If you decide to permanently leave residential care, the lump sum must be refunded to you within 14 days after the day you leave.
If you are leaving your current aged care home and moving to a new one, the amount of notice you give will determine when your lump sum needs to be refunded. You should give your current home ample notice to ensure that your refund can be returned to you as soon as possible.
All aged care homes must refund accommodation lump sums within 14 days’ notice of your intention to move to another home. This means that if you give:
- more than 14 days’ notice, your lump sum balance must be refunded on the day you leave
- up to 14 days’ notice, your lump sum balance must be refunded within 14 days after the day you give notice
- no notice, your lump sum balance must be refunded within 14 days after the day you leave.
During your 14-day notice period, your aged care home will pay you interest on your lump sum payment. No interest is earned on your lump sum payment while you are receiving care.
What if the refund takes longer than 14 days?
If your home takes longer than 14 days to refund your lump sum, they will have to pay you interest at a higher rate.
If your aged care provider becomes bankrupt or insolvent and cannot give you your refund, the Australian Government guarantees to pay it back to you. This includes any interest due since you left care. This is called the Guarantee Scheme, and it covers all residents of Australian Government-subsidised aged care services who have paid a lump sum.
Read more about this in the Refund of lump sums paid for accommodation fact sheet.
Before moving, you need to agree to fees and payment arrangements with the new aged care home.
If you moved into an aged care home before 1 July 2014, you will keep your existing fee arrangements unless you choose to opt into the fee arrangements that commenced on 1 July 2014 with your new provider before you move. Read more about aged care costs if you entered care before 1 July 2014.
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 your accommodation refund, 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, you can contact the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
Read more about how to make a complaint.