If you're a senior veteran or a war widow/widower, you may be able to get aged care services from the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) and My Aged Care at the same time, as long as you don't get the same service from both.
For example, you could access low-level domestic assistance and personal care through the Veterans' Home Care Program, and receive social assistance and delivered meals through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.
Department of Veterans' Affairs services
DVA's aged and community care services are available to eligible DVA clients and are usually 'entry level' services for lower care needs. They are generally not suitable for more complex care needs and include:
- Veterans' Home Care Program
- Community Nursing Program
- other services for the veteran community.
Veterans' Home Care Program
The Veterans' Home Care (VHC) Program has services for eligible veterans and war widows/widowers, including:
- domestic assistance
- personal care
- safety related home and garden maintenance
- respite care (in-home, residential and emergency).
To receive these services, Gold or White Repatriation Health Card holders need to have an assessment. Call a VHC Assessment Agency on 1300 550 450 to arrange one. You may be eligible for other programs or packages if you are not eligible for the VHC Program.
Community Nursing Program
The Community Nursing Program helps eligible veterans and war widows/widowers to keep living in their own homes by helping with:
- medication management
- wound care
To receive these services, you will need a referral for an assessment from a health professional. This could be your GP, a nurse, or a VHC Assessment Agency. You can also be referred by a treating hospital doctor or a hospital discharge planner.
Other services for the veteran community
Other services for eligible veterans and war widows/widowers include:
- aids and appliances through the Rehabilitation Appliance Program
- allied health services
- Veterans' and Veterans' Families Counselling Service (VVCS) –1800 011 046
- Veterans' Access Network – regional offices throughout Australia providing information and support about DVA services and entitlements – contact them on 1800 555 254.
My Aged Care services for the senior veteran community
My Aged Care services are available to all eligible Australians, including veterans and war widows/widowers. These services are not funded by DVA and there may be extra costs for this care.
- short-term restorative care
- Commonwealth Home Support Programme
- Home Care Packages
- aged care homes for residential respite and permanent residential care.
Short-term restorative care (STRC) provides a range of care and services for up to eight weeks. It aims to help improve wellbeing and independence, and delay or avoid the need to enter long-term care. If you are receiving DVA services, you may still be eligible to receive STRC.
If you are receiving short-term restorative care, and are a former Prisoner of War or Victoria Cross recipient, DVA will pay the basic daily fee on your behalf. DVA will organise this payment with your provider.
Read more about how to access short-term restorative care.
The Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) provides a range of community support services alongside those available under the Veterans' Home Care (VHC) Program. Veterans are able to access CHSP services to help live independently at home and in the community.
If you are eligible for DVA-funded services such as the VHC Program or Community Nursing Program, you may still be able to receive services under the CHSP, so long as:
- you are eligible for services
- the support you need is entry-level
- there is no duplication in the specific services/help provided.
For example, you may access VHC for low-level domestic help and personal care, but also receive community transport and delivered meals through the CHSP.
Read more about how to access the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.
A Home Care Package (HCP) is a tailored and coordinated package of care and services to support senior Australians (including veterans and widows/widowers) who want to keep living in their own home. As with CHSP, you may be able to access DVA-funded services while receiving a HCP as long as there is no duplication of the specific services/help provided.
Read more about how to access a Home Care Package.
An aged care home is for older people who can no longer live at home and need ongoing help with everyday tasks or health care. Aged care homes can provide permanent or short-term care through residential respite, with help available 24 hours a day.
Read more about how to access care in an aged care home.
How much will I need to pay?
If you are receiving a Home Care Package or living in an aged care home, there is a variety of financial support available, depending on which service you are receiving.
Support for veterans with service-related mental health conditions
If you are a veteran with a service related mental health condition accepted by DVA, you may be entitled to a Veterans' Supplement. This supplement is extra funding paid to your provider on your behalf to provide care appropriate to your circumstances. Find out more about home care support or aged care home support.
Support for former POWs or VC recipients
If you are a former Prisoner of War or Victoria Cross recipient, DVA will pay the basic daily fee on your behalf and you will not have to pay an income-tested or means-tested care fee. If you are living in an aged care home, you might be asked to contribute towards the cost of your accommodation, depending on the outcome of your means-test assessment.
Arrange for an income assessment
To access most services, you will need to have a formal income assessment. You should arrange this as soon as possible as this process takes time, even before you start receiving care.
For Home Care Packages
For aged care homes
Lodge the Permanent Residential Aged Care - Request for A Combined Assets and Income Assessment (SA457) form with DVA or DHS.
Watch how Gordon accesses aged care services as a veteran.
GORDON: I'm Gordon Winston and I'm 89, and I was born in South Australia at Port Pirie. Moved from there when I was 7 to Adelaide, lived there until I joined the services in 1944.
I was an inquiry trainee in the REP, hence the white thing in the cap over there.
After six years in the Navy, I got married. CDC, or Consumer Directed Care, seems to me to be an ideal system. They give you a notional amount and you pay a certain amount, and everything is reasonable.
AGED CARE WORKER: Where would you like to go today?
GORDON: Particularly now my wife's no longer with us and I've only got myself to think of, I have felt that I'm probably best having a routine, which I loosely stick to. Shower in the morning, whichever lady is coming to see me, she would help me dress.
After that, exercise, lunchtime, shopping once a fortnight, and supervision for half an hour in the evening, if I'm on my own.
I also get two and a half hours hours cleaning a week. My total care is augmented by my having Gold Card status for DVA purposes.
It's a great system and I'm quite grateful that I'm able to participate in it.