If you moved into an aged care home before 1 July 2014, you may be paying an accommodation charge to your aged care home provider.
An accommodation charge is a daily amount that you pay towards your accommodation in an aged care home.
You may be asked to pay an accommodation charge in your aged care home if your care needs when you first entered were assessed as high (other than an extra-service place).
The amount of accommodation charge you pay cannot change unless you transfer to another aged care home and have another assets assessment. You cannot be asked to pay the accommodation charge more than a month in advance.
Any income earned from the accommodation charge is used by the aged care home to improve accommodation and services.
The accommodation charge amount
The amount of your accommodation charge is worked out when you first moved into an aged care home and the Australian Government may also be paying an accommodation supplement on your behalf.
Pre-30 September 1997
High care residents who were living in an approved nursing home on 30 September 1997 cannot be asked to pay an accommodation charge.
Pre-1 July 2004
If you entered your first aged care home before 1 July 2004, and have not had a break in care of more than 28 days (other than approved leave), you can only be asked to pay an accommodation charge for a total of five years.
Pre-20 March 2008
If you first entered before 20 March 2008, your aged care home worked out the amount of your accommodation charge.
Post-20 March 2008
If you first entered after 20 March 2008, the Australian Government determined your accommodation charge amount based on an assessment of your assets and they would have let you and your aged care home provider know the maximum charge you could be asked to pay.
If your circumstances change after moving into an aged care home, your provider cannot ask you to pay more than originally agreed to when you first moved in.
Accommodation charge agreement
An accommodation charge agreement must include details including, but not limited to:
- the agreed accommodation charge
- how the accommodation charge will be paid (limited up to one month in advance)
- when the accommodation charge is due to be paid.
Your aged care home should have offered you an accommodation charge agreement at the time you first entered care.
If you transfer to a new aged care home and choose to keep your current fee arrangements, your new aged care home provider must offer you a new accommodation charge agreement that includes these details within 21 days after you move into the home.
An accommodation charge agreement may be included as part of your resident agreement or it may be a separate document.
Moving aged care homes
If you move to another aged care home after 1 July 2014, you have the option to:
- be assessed under the post-1 July 2014 fee arrangements or
- keep your current fee arrangement.
If you move from one aged care home to another with a break of no more than 28 days, and choose to keep your current fee arrangements, you cannot be asked to pay an accommodation charge that is greater than the maximum daily accommodation charge you agreed to when you entered your first aged care home.
If you entered your first aged care home before 1 July 2004, you can only be asked to pay an accommodation charge for a total of five years. This means that your new aged care home can only ask you to pay an accommodation charge for the remainder of the five year period (if any).
If the Australian Government assessed your assets and (you entered care after 20 March 2008) initially set your accommodation charge, they will write to you and your new aged care home to tell you how much you can be asked to pay. Otherwise, you will need to tell your new aged care home the amount that you were paying to your previous aged care home. They cannot ask you to pay more than this amount.
If your assets have significantly depleted since you entered your previous aged care home you may choose to have another assets assessment that may result in you needing to pay either no accommodation charge or a reduced amount. If you choose to do this, you will need to contact the Department of Human Services or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to update your assets assessment.
The new aged care home fee arrangements
Accommodation charges and accommodation bonds have been replaced by accommodation contributions and accommodation payments for people that enter care after 1 July 2014 or opt in when they move.