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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

Aged care home costs if you entered care before 1 July 2014

If you moved into an aged care home before 1 July 2014, your fees will stay the same. The fees that your provider can ask you to pay are explained below.

There are five main types of fees your provider may ask you to pay:

A basic daily fee: this covers living costs such as meals, power and laundry. Everyone moving into an aged care home can be asked to pay this fee.

An income tested fee: this is a contribution towards the cost of your care. The Department of Human Services will work out if you need to pay this fee based on an assessment of your income, and tell you of the amount.

Accommodation bond or accommodation charge: this is a payment towards the cost of your accommodation.

Fees for extra services: you may have to pay extra if you choose a higher standard of accommodation or extra services. These vary from home to home. Your aged care home provider can give you details of these services and the fees that apply.

Additional service fees: you may have to pay additional fees for other care of services that are above your assessed care needs or the care and services your aged care home is required to provide to you.

Basic daily fee

A basic daily fee contributes to your day-to-day living costs such as meals, cleaning, laundry, heating and cooling. It is part of the overall fees you can be asked to pay towards the cost of your care. The basic daily fee has not changed as part of the fee arrangements introduced on 1 July 2014.

Income tested fee

If you have total assessable income above the income threshold, you can be asked to pay an income tested fee.

The Department of Human Services works out the income tested fee based on your individual circumstances and your income information. The Department of Human Services would have done this assessment when you first moved into the aged care home and let you and your aged care home provider know the maximum fees you can be asked to pay.

A full list of current rates is provided on the Schedule of Fees and Charges for residents in care before 1 July 2014.

Income tested fee changes

Your income tested fee is reviewed every quarter so you never pay more than you should. The maximum income tested fee you can be asked to pay is based on your assessed income at the start of each quarter. The fee is set and does not generally change during that quarter. The quarters start on 1 January, 20 March, 1 July and 20 September each year.

If your income tested fee changes, the Department of Human Services will let you and your aged care home provider know by letter.

At the end of each quarter, you may receive a refund from your aged care home provider if your assessed income has gone down. You will not be asked to pay more for the previous quarter if your assessed income has gone up.

Changed circumstances

If your income changes significantly you should tell the Department of Human Services or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. This is so you never pay more than you should.

When you have updated your income, if you would then like to have your income-tested fee reviewed, you can contact the Department of Human Services on 1800 227 475.

Financial hardship assistance

If you cannot pay your aged care costs for reasons beyond your control, you can ask for financial hardship assistance. Read more about financial hardship assistance.

Post-1 July fee arrangements for aged care homes

The basic daily fee did not change as part of the changes introduced on 1 July 2014. However, the income tested fee has been replaced by a means-tested care fee under the post-1 July 2014 fee arrangements.

Annual and lifetime caps

If you moved into an aged care home before 1 July 2014, or you have moved homes but have decided to stay on your existing fee arrangements, the annual and lifetime caps do not apply to your income tested fees. The caps only apply to means-tested care fees that are payable for people that entered care after 1 July 2014 or opted in to the post 1 July 2014 fee arrangements upon moving homes.

However, the amount of income tested fees you can be asked to pay are capped at a daily rate that is roughly equivalent to the annual cap.

Last reviewed: 12 April, 2017.