Does everyone have to complete a means assessment for an aged care home?
No. You should use the income and means assessment tool to find out if you need to.
For information on COVID-19, the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, scheduled website maintenance and other important news, see News and updates.
Aged care homes, like houses, come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. The challenge is finding the right option for your needs, budget, and preferences.
There are a number of costs associated with aged care homes, and getting an idea of how they impact your finances can be difficult. Here is a basic layout of your possible costs:
A maximum amount that everyone pays for the day-to-day services they will receive at the home.
An additional amount that some people pay toward the cost of their day-to-day care determined through a means assessment.
A contribution towards or full payment for your room that you may have to pay depending on your assessed income and assets.
Some aged care homes offer extra service rooms and can charge for the bundle of upgraded hotel-type services provided.
Fees for services that go beyond the minimum care and service requirements. However, you will only be charged for additional services that you can make use of or benefit from.
Based on current rates, the maximum basic daily fee is $52.71 per day, or $19,239.15 per year
This fee helps pay for your day-to-day services such as meals, cleaning, facilities management and laundry. Everyone is expected to pay a basic daily fee to cover these services.
The basic daily fee is 85% of the single person rate of the basic age pension. The government sets the price on 20 March and 20 September each year, changing in line with increases to the age pension. Prices are published on the Department of Health website.
You pay your basic daily fee directly to your aged care home, generally on a fortnightly or monthly basis. The fee applies for every day you are a resident, including days when you might be away overnight; for example, on holiday or in hospital.
The means-tested care fee that you pay will be between $0 to $256.44 per day.
Not everyone will have to pay a means-tested care fee. The exact amount you will pay is determined through a means assessment.
The means-tested care fee is an ongoing fee that you pay towards the cost of your personal and clinical care. Personal care can include help with bathing, dressing, grooming, and going to the toilet. Clinical care can include services like specialised nursing services, medication assistance, or catheter care.
There are annual and lifetime caps on means-tested care fees. The maximum an aged care home can charge you is:
These caps are indexed in March and September each year. The cap amounts that apply to you are those that are current at the time you reach them.
If you are moving from home care into an aged care home, any income-tested care fee you paid while you were receiving care at home will also be counted towards the annual and lifetime cap if you move into an aged care home.
Each home sets its own pricing, depending on factors such as the location of the facility and the size of the rooms. The amount you pay for your accommodation depends on your eligibility for government help.
If you can afford it, you are expected to pay for your room. However, help with some or all of the accommodation costs is available to those that need it. This is determined by a means assessment, but as a general guide:
More information on how the means assessment is used can be found below, or you can read more on our Income and means assessments page.
If you’re not eligible for government assistance, the amount you pay will depend on:
If you are not eligible for government assistance, the price you agree to pay will vary depending on what type of room you choose. For instance:
While there is flexibility in how you pay for your accommodation, it’s still important to choose a room within your budget. You can find and compare room costs using the Find a provider tool.
Whether you have to pay towards your accommodation or not, everyone entering an aged care home needs to agree on a room price in writing with their aged care home. Aged care homes are required to publish their maximum accommodation costs for their various rooms on this website. You and the home can negotiate and agree to a lower price, but you cannot be charged more than the maximum published price.
No, you have a choice as to how you can pay for your accommodation. The options available are:
If you choose to pay an amount as a lump sum, the balance is refunded when you leave the home.
Learn more about the different accommodation payment options and how to calculate the amounts for each one.
You can get an estimate of what your costs may be using the tools on this website, but to know your exact costs, you’ll need a means assessment.
You can use the fee estimator to get an idea of:
Then use the Find a provider tool to:
There is also an income and assets checklist you can complete to get an idea of what financial information is taken into account.
You will need a means assessment to find out exactly:
Read more on our Income and means assessment page.
If you are on a means-tested government pension, Services Australia already have some of your information. The Residential Aged Care Property details for Centrelink and DVA customers form (SA485) has been created to make providing the extra information we need easier for you.
Once you complete the assessment you will receive a pre-commencement letter. The letter is valid for 120 days, so you have ample time to find an aged care home and enter into an agreement. It will outline:
Your pre-commencement letter is important. You should have the letter with you whenever you meet with potential aged care homes. The letter will advise if you are eligible for government assistance, or whether you can negotiate directly and pay the room price you agree to with the home.
Unlike your care and accommodation costs, the following fees are not covered by a government subsidy. This means if you agree to them you will need to pay all of them yourself.
Many aged care homes offer additional hotel-type services that you have to pay for. These services may include things like a preferred brand of toiletries, access to paid TV services, or arranging a hairdresser.
Some homes allow you to pick and choose what additional services you would like so you only pay for what you use. Others may have a package of additional services they provide and some of them must be agreed to as a condition of living in the home.
Your home will be able to provide you with information on the additional services they provide, their associated costs, and whether they are mandatory services that come with living at the home. You will only be charged for additional services that you can make use of or benefit from.
Some aged care homes have “extra service” status. This means that they can provide residents with a higher standard of hotel-type services (including specialised menus, higher quality linen or particular room furnishings). This extra service status can apply to the whole home or just to individual rooms.
Aged care homes with this status can charge a regular extra service fee, which pays for a bundle of extra services. If you agree to enter an extra service room, you will have to pay this fee, whether you use the full bundle of extra services provided or not. The fee will be covered in your Extra Service Agreement.
Extra service fees are not subsidised by the government. You will have to pay the full costs.
You can ask your aged care home if they have extra service status and whether they charge a fee or use the Find a provider tool. If your preferred home is an extra service place, ask for their list of bundled services. That way you will know exactly what you are entitled to receive for your extra service fee.
If you are worried you might have trouble paying for your aged care home costs, you can ask to be considered for financial hardship. Read more about getting financial help on the financial hardship page.
Yes, you can. In fact, it is recommended. Some payment methods may affect your pension and aged care fees. Also, if both you and your partner need access to aged care, each of your payment methods may impact the other’s aged care fees. So, it’s beneficial to seek independent financial advice before deciding how to pay for your aged care.
Services Australia’s Financial Information Service (FIS) is a free service available to everyone. FIS officers can show you how to make informed financial decisions. They can also help you to understand the financial implications of your aged care costs.
To find out more about FIS, or to make an appointment, call 132 300 and say “Financial Information Service” when prompted.
For more information and guidance on financial matters, you can also visit our financial support and advice page.
No. You should use the income and means assessment tool to find out if you need to.
The aged care home will want to formalise the offer. This will involve some paperwork and contracts about your care, accommodation, and any extra services you may elect to receive.
Your aged care home can help make sense of the information. You can also ask family, friends, carers or a legal professional for help.
Preparing for your move is also important. Here is a list of what to expect when moving, which includes suggestions on who to tell, what you should bring, and who might be able to help you.