You do not have to complete a means assessment to access respite care. How much you pay will depend on the type of respite care you receive. The different types of respite care fees are:
Short-term care costs and fees
If you are eligible for short-term care, you may be expected to contribute to the cost of your care and services—if you can afford it. How much you may pay varies depending on the type and level of care and services you will receive.
This page covers the types of fees for the three main types of short-term care: short-term restorative care, transition care, and respite care.
Short-term restorative care fees
You do not have to complete a means assessment to access short-term restorative care. The maximum amount you may be asked to pay is:
- $10.85 per day if you receive care while at home or in the community (17.5% of the single age pension).
- $52.71 per day if you receive care while in a residential setting (85% of the single age pension).
You can receive restorative care in your home, out in the community, in an aged care home, or in a mix of all these locations. So, if you move between settings during your care, where you stay overnight will determine the rate you will pay.
Transition care fees
You won’t need to complete a means assessment, though providers can request information regarding your ability to make a contribution (within reason). Importantly, your access to transition care will not be affected by your ability to pay fees.
While providers set their own fees in consultation with you, the government sets maximum amounts. Currently, the maximum amount you may be asked to pay is:
- $10.85 per day if you receive care while living at home or in the community (17.5% of the single age pension).
- $52.71 per day if you receive care while living in a residential setting (85% of the single age pension).
You can receive transition care in your home, out in the community, in an aged care home, or in a mix of all these locations. So, if you move between settings during your care, where you stay overnight will determine the rate you will pay.
Respite care fees
Residential respite fees are not the same as those for permanent residents in an aged care home. During your short stay in the aged care home, you will be asked to pay a basic daily fee. You may also be charged a booking fee. However, your provider cannot ask you to pay a means-tested care fee or an accommodation payment.
What you pay for residential respite care is discussed and agreed upon between you and your provider. Your fees will be set out in your resident agreement before you receive the services. Fees for residential respite care are:
Basic daily fee
Everyone pays a basic daily fee for day-to-day services.
The basic daily fee for a respite resident is set by the government at 85% of the single basic age pension. The government updates this fee on 20 March and 20 September each year, in line with increases to the age pension. Prices are published on the Department of Health website.
Based on current rates, the maximum basic daily fee is $52.71 per day, or $19,239.15 per year.
Some providers may ask for a booking fee to secure your place in the home. The booking fee cannot be more than either a full week’s fee or 25% of the fee for the entire stay—whichever amount is the lowest. Once you enter care, this fee will be deducted from your daily fees. You can ask providers if they charge booking fees and how much it will be for your stay. If they do, it must be clearly outlined in your resident agreement.
Your provider must refund your booking fee if you cancel your respite care booking more than 7 days before your entry date. If you cancel within 7 days before your entry date, your provider may keep all or part of your booking fee.
Additional service fees
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 service 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.
You and your provider must agree on a fee for additional services before you start receiving them. However, you can only be charged for additional services that you can make use of or benefit from. Because additional service offerings are specific to the provider, the fees for these services are set by the provider. They are not subsidised by the government.
Your home will be able to tell you what additional services they provide, and their associated costs.
Extra service fees
Some aged care homes have “extra service” status. This means they can provide a bundle of agreed higher standard hotel-type services for a set fee, without having an impact on the level of care being provided. This extra service status can apply to the whole home or just to individual rooms.
Examples of extra services may include: an a la carte menu, WiFi, individual outings, or higher quality cutlery and linen.
If you choose to occupy an extra service room, you will have to pay the extra service fee for the bundle of services—whether you use them all or not. The fee will be covered in your extra service agreement.
Extra service fees are set by the provider and not subsidised by the government. You will have to pay the full costs.
If you believe you cannot pay your fees for residential respite care for reasons beyond your control, you can ask for financial hardship assistance.
Community respite may be available to eligible senior Australians through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP). You can read more about the different types of community respite on the Respite care page.
All CHSP service providers must have a client contribution policy in place. This policy ensures that care recipients who can afford to contribute to the cost of their care do so. It also protects those who are most vulnerable.
CHSP service providers must be transparent about their fees. They must also:
- advise CHSP clients of any client contributions payable, and
- keep track of these contributions, to make sure their clients do not experience financial hardship.
If you are receiving or about to receive community respite, you should speak to your CHSP service provider for more information about service fees.
If you need emergency respite care, contact Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737.
Further information on emergency respite is available on the Carer Gateway website.