A key question to ask when looking for aged care services is: What will this cost me? To answer this, there are a few different factors to consider.
How much you pay for aged care services depends on:
- the type of help you need,
- the provider you choose,
- your financial situation, and
- the services you receive.
How do aged care costs work?
All the providers listed on this website, in the Find a provider tool, can provide you with government-subsidised care. This means the government will pay part or all of your costs, making it more affordable for you.
Different providers have different charges, and there are various costs and fees for each type of care. So, it’s important to understand how all the costs and fees work together and how to compare provider costs. This will help you choose the provider that works best for your budget and care needs.
Depending on which aged care service you wish to access, you may need to get an assessment of your income, or income and assets (means assessment).
Understanding costs for different types of care
Read more below about the types of costs and fees you may have to pay depending on what type of care you have been assessed as eligible for.
I’ve been assessed for the Commonwealth Home Support Programme
If you are eligible for Commonwealth Home Support Programme services, you don’t need to complete a means assessment. Services will start only after you have spoken with and agreed to the fees with your provider.
As the Australian Government funds providers to keep costs affordable, you won’t be asked to cover the full cost of services.
You will make a contribution to your provider—if you can afford it—for as long as you receive services.
There are no exit fees.
If you can’t afford to contribute towards your care, you won’t miss out on the help you need. You can talk to your provider about it.
I’ve been assessed for a Home Care Package
There are a number of costs associated with a Home Care Package. How much, and the types of costs you will have to pay depend on the home care provider you choose and your income assessment.
The costs you pay will be available to you in a budget that is used to pay for the services you need. Your budget also depends on your level of care, and includes contributions from the government.
The total amount of a Home Care Package budget is made up of:
- The Australian Government’s contribution:
- the subsidy (and supplements, if eligible)
- the subsidy (and supplements, if eligible)
- Your contribution (the fees you may be asked to pay):
- your basic daily fee (which everyone receiving a Home Care Package can be asked to pay)
- your income-tested care fee (an additional amount that some people pay based on their income assessment)
- any additional fees you agree to.
Together, these funds are used to cover the cost of your care and services based on your care plan.
Different Home Care Package providers charge different amounts for their services, so to get the most out of your budget, it’s worth comparing what’s on offer. You can use the Find a provider tool to compare provider costs.
The things you should look at include the cost of:
- care management, and
- package management.
Remember to add all three of these figures together to see how much providers will charge to your budget for the services you receive.
I’ve been assessed for an aged care home
There are a number of costs associated with aged care homes. How much, and the types of costs you will have to pay depend on the place you choose and your means assessment.
Care and accommodation costs
At least some of these costs apply to everyone who enters an aged care home. Depending on your financial situation, your care and accommodation costs may be partly or fully covered by the government.
- Basic daily fee: An amount that everyone pays for day-to-day services they will receive at the aged care home.
- Means-tested care fee: A contribution that some people pay towards the cost of their care, determined by a means assessment.
- Accommodation costs: An amount that some people pay to contribute towards or cover the full costs of their room, depending on their means assessment.
These costs may apply depending on the aged care home you choose and what you agree to with your provider. Unlike care and accommodation costs, these costs are set by providers and are not subsidised by the government. This means if you agree to these costs, you will need to pay the full cost yourself.
Only some aged care homes charge these fees, so before choosing your aged care home, make sure to check if they charge either of these:
- Additional service fees: Fees for services that go beyond the minimum care and service requirements.
- Extra service fees: Fees you might have to pay if you choose an extra service room in an aged care home that has extra service status.
I’ve been assessed for short-term care
If you are eligible for short-term care, you don’t have to complete a means assessment. You may have to pay a daily fee, but how much you may pay varies depending on the type and level of short-term care you will receive.
There are a few things to keep in mind for each type of short-term care:
Short-term restorative care
You may have to pay a daily fee—whether you receive care at home, in the community, or in an aged care home.
Providers can request information regarding your ability to make a contribution (within reason). However, your access to transition care will not be affected by your ability to pay fees.
When you receive residential respite care in an aged care home, you won’t have accommodation payments or a means-tested care fee. However, you will be asked to pay a basic daily fee and sometimes a booking fee.
The level of care you have been approved for will:
- determine the level of respite subsidy your provider will receive, and
- ensure you receive care appropriate to your needs.
What you pay for residential respite care is discussed and agreed upon between you and the provider, and is set before you receive the services.
If you’re eligible for community respite, it will be provided under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP), so the fees you pay fall under the CHSP guidelines. This is usually a daily fee.
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.
What if I can't afford it?
If you’re worried that you may not be able to afford your home care, residential respite care or permanent residential care costs, you can ask to be considered for financial hardship assistance. If you are eligible, the Australian Government will pay some or all of your aged care costs.
If you are receiving care through another aged care program, please speak to your provider.
Learn more about financial hardship assistance.
Can I seek financial advice?
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.