Does everyone have to complete an income assessment for a Home Care Package?
No. You should use the income and means assessment tool to find out if you need to.
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If you are eligible for a Home Care Package, it’s important to understand what fees you may have to pay, how much the government will contribute, and how your budget works. It's helpful to do all this before you choose your provider. Having all the information upfront can help you make the right choice for your care needs and financial situation.
When you receive a Home Care Package, you have a budget to pay for the services you need. Your budget depends on your level of care, and includes contributions from you and the government.
What makes up my Home Care Package budget?
How much does the government contribute?
What fees might I have to pay?
How often do I pay my fees?
How much will my services cost?
How do I work out my fees?
Can I seek financial advice?
Home Care Package fees pre-1 July 2014
The total amount of a Home Care Package is made up of:
Together, these funds cover your care services as well as the package management costs from your provider to organise and manage your package services.
Your Home Care Package budget sets out the total amount of funds available for your use. The funds in your budget are used to cover the cost of your care and services based on your care plan.
Once you choose your provider and enter into a Home Care Agreement with them, they will break down your package budget to include the services and items you need based on your care plan.
Information on choosing a Home Care Package provider and what to consider when comparing provider costs is available on our Connecting with Home Care Package providers page.
The Australian Government contributes a different amount for each level of Home Care Package. The government subsidy for each package level is as follows:
|Home Care Package level||Daily government subsidy rate||Yearly government contribution|
The government contribution changes on 1 July every year; these figures are up to date as at 1 July 2021.
The government contribution is paid directly to the home care provider you choose. You work in partnership with the provider to determine the care and services you need, within the package budget. The funds won’t affect your pension, because they don’t count as income.
Home care providers may be able to access further funding supplements from the government—to ensure you receive the care you need.
If you think you may be eligible for any of these supplements, ask your provider about eligibility requirements.
Your contribution towards your Home Care Package could be made up of the following fees:
It is important to know that you don’t necessarily have to pay all these fees. How much you contribute towards your Home Care Package depends on your financial situation and the provider you choose. Each fee type, and who pays it, is explained in detail below.
The basic daily fee is an amount that everyone can be asked to pay. This fee is set by the government at a percentage of the single basic age pension; it varies (from 15.68% to 17.50%) depending on your Home Care Package level. The basic daily fee changes in March and September each year in line with the age pension.
From 20 March 2021, the basic daily fee by Home Care Package level is:
|Package level||Daily fee||Annual fee|
Providers can ask you to pay a basic daily fee, but not all of them do. Use the Find a provider tool to see if your chosen provider will collect this fee.
The basic daily fee is added to the government subsidy to increase the funds available to you in your Home Care Package budget. If your provider does not charge this fee, you will have less funds available in your budget to pay for your care. So, you should consider your care needs when choosing a provider to decide if paying the basic daily fee is better for you.
The income-tested care fee is an extra contribution that some people pay, as determined through an income assessment.
This fee is different for everyone. It’s based on individual income, including your pension. However, full pensioners and people with an income up to $28,100.80 do not pay an income-tested care fee.
You could pay up to $15.57 per day, if you:
You could pay between $15.57 – $31.14 if you:
These amounts change with indexation on 20 March and 20 September every year and are up to date as at 1 July 2021.
Note: If your financial situation changes while you are receiving care, your income-tested care fee can change. You can read more about this on the Changes to aged care fees page.
You can use our fee estimator to find out if you need to pay an income-tested care fee and get an estimate of what the amount might be.
If you have to pay an income-tested care fee, you may need to complete an income assessment to find out the exact amount. Read more about income assessments and find out if you need to complete one, using our Income and means assessments tool.
There are annual and lifetime caps that apply to the income-tested care fee for home care. Once you reach a cap, you cannot be asked to pay any more in income-tested care fees.
Annual and lifetime caps are indexed on 20 March and 20 September every year. The cap amounts that apply to you are the amounts that are current when you reach them, not those that were current when you entered care.
Any income-tested care fee you pay while you are receiving home care will also be counted towards the annual and lifetime caps if you move into an aged care home.
Annual cap amounts
There are two different annual cap amounts for the income-tested care fee. The cap amount that applies to you depends on what you earn in a year.
For example, for a single person as at 1 July 2021:
Remember, if you’re a full pensioner or have an income up to $28,100.80, you won’t pay an income-tested care fee.
Lifetime cap amount
As of 1 July 2021, the maximum income-tested care fees you can be asked to pay in your lifetime is $68,012.98. After you reach the lifetime cap, you will no longer have to pay income-tested care fees.
Additional service fees are any other amounts you have agreed to pay for additional care and services that wouldn’t otherwise be covered by your Home Care Package budget. This is something you directly agree to with your Home Care Package provider. These fees should only be charged if there aren’t enough available funds in your budget to cover them.
Home care fees are paid for every single day that package funds are assigned to you, not just on the days you receive services. You may be asked to pay your home care fees on a fortnightly or monthly basis.
Each Home Care Package service provider charges a different amount for their services and care management. How much they charge depends on the prices they have set, the services you need, and when you need the services. These charges are drawn from your Home Care Package budget.
All home care providers must publish their full price list of all services and costs online. Prices vary between providers, so to get the most out of your package funds, it’s worth comparing what’s on offer.
The things you should look at include the cost of:
You can use the Find a provider tool to compare costs across providers. Remember that you need to add all three of these figures together to see how much they will charge to your budget for the services you receive. You may also be able to negotiate a lower cost.
Read more about comparing provider costs on our Connecting with Home Care Package providers page. Once you’ve shortlisted providers, it’s a good idea to meet them and ask them any questions you need to. We have a list of questions to ask Home Care Package providers, to help you get started.
To make Home Care Package prices more transparent, the Department of Health publishes the national median prices for common home care services, care management, and package management.
This data is updated quarterly, and you can view it on the Department of Health website.
Working out how much you pay in fees is a key step when deciding what aged care services are right for you. The amount you pay and the amount the government pays depends on your Home Care Package level, your income, and what you agree to with your provider.
Our fee estimator can give you an idea of what you might need to contribute towards a Home Care Package. You can also see what gets included to work out your contribution.
Your exact fees can only be determined once you have had an income assessment and entered into a Home Care Agreement.
Whether you need to complete an income assessment for aged care will depend on whether you are receiving an Australian Government means-tested income support payment:
If you are on a means-tested income support payment such as the age pension (full or part), disability support pension or service pension, and you haven’t already taken up a Home Care Package, you will not need to complete an income assessment for aged care. Services Australia will already have enough information to calculate the maximum fees payable.
When you enter care, Services Australia will send you a fee advice letter to confirm if you need to pay an income-tested care fee. If you require a fee advice letter before you enter care, you can call Services Australia on 1800 227 475.
The fee advice letter is valid for 120 days, unless there is a significant change in your circumstances. If there is a change, you’ll need to notify Services Australia (or DVA if relevant) who will reissue the fee advice letter.
If you don’t receive a means-tested income support payment, you will need to provide information to Services Australia for an income assessment. They will work out your income-tested care fee and provide you with a letter outlining the amount.
Answer a few simple questions in our Income and means assessment tool to find out if you need to do an income assessment and how to go about doing one.
If you don’t think your income assessment is correct, you can ask Services Australia, or DVA if relevant, to review their decision. They will follow up with you on the next steps.
If you can’t afford your home care costs for reasons beyond your control, you can ask to be considered for financial hardship assistance.
Depending on your situation, you may apply for financial hardship assistance with your basic daily fee and/or income-tested care fee. If you are eligible, the Australian Government will pay some or all of your aged care costs.
You can’t receive financial hardship assistance for additional service fees.
Note: If you entered care before 1 July 2014, you can’t apply for financial hardship assistance, but you can negotiate lower fees directly with your provider.
Yes, you can. In fact, it is recommended that you 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 and help you to understand the financial implications of your aged care costs. They can also help you understand how different payment methods for residential care may affect your pension and aged care costs if you ever need to move into an aged care home.
To find out more about FIS, or to make an appointment, call 132 300 and say “Financial Information Service” when asked why you are calling.
For more information and guidance on financial matters, you can also visit our financial support and advice page.
People who entered into a Home Care Agreement before 1 July 2014 will have their fees determined differently to those who start a Home Care Package from 1 July 2014 onward. For more information, see our aged care costs pre-1 July 2014 page.
No. You should use the income and means assessment tool to find out if you need to.
Yes, some providers will let you manage your own Home Care Package which can help you save money on fees. However, if you choose to do this, there is more work involved for you, so it’s best to make sure it’s the right option for you.