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For information on the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, visit https://agedcare.health.gov.au/announcement-of-royal-commission-into-aged-care-quality-and-safety

1. Work out the costs

Once you have received a letter to say that you are approved for entry into an aged care home, follow this pathway to access care in an aged care home and manage your services:

The Australian Government subsidises a range of aged care services in Australia. Subsidies based on your care needs are paid directly to the home.

If you are eligible, you are expected to contribute to the cost of your accommodation and care if you can afford to.

Aged care homes costs

There are various fees you may be asked to pay including:

  • basic daily fee - covers your day-to-day living costs. Everyone can be asked to pay this fee.
  • means-tested care fee - if your income and assets are over a certain amount, you can be asked to contribute to the cost of your care.
  • accommodation costs - some people will have their accommodation costs paid in full or in part by the government while others will need to pay the price agreed to with the aged care home.
  • fees for extra and additional services - you may have to pay extra if you choose a higher standard of accommodation or additional services.

The government sets the maximum means-tested care fee and basic daily fee. There are also rules about how much you can be asked to pay for your accommodation.

You will need to discuss and agree to any accommodation payments and fees with your aged care home before you enter.

Estimate costs

To work out what you might need to pay, there is a Fee Estimator to help you estimate the likely costs to live in an aged care home. You can also call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 for more information about aged care home fees.

Room prices are published by all aged care homes on the service finder. You can also compare the costs of rooms between aged care homes.

Arrange your financial assessment

Your income and assets assessment will let you know if you:

How much you pay depends on the result of your income and assets assessment.

You should arrange for a formal income and assets assessment by the Department of Human Services (DHS) as soon as possible so you know what your contribution towards your accommodation, care and services will be.

For eligible members of the veteran community, the formal income and assets assessment may be undertaken by the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA). Read more about this on the DVA website.

Some aged care homes will want to know if the government will help you with your accommodation costs or if they can ask you to agree to an accommodation room price.

This process takes time, so consider applying for the income and assets assessment early, before you enter care. The fee notification letter you receive from DHS is valid for 120 days (unless there is a change in your circumstances).

If you don't have an income and assets assessment you will not be eligible for government assistance with your accommodation and care costs. The aged care home can then ask you to pay an accommodation payment and the maximum means-tested care fee.

Read more about the income and assets assessment.

Financial hardship assistance

If you feel that you would face financial hardship in paying your aged care home costs, you can ask to be considered for financial hardship assistance.

Other information about costs

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Now you know more about the costs of your care, you can use this information as you start to find an aged care home to meet your needs.

Last reviewed: 29 January, 2018.