If you are reading this, you have probably been assessed as eligible for a Home Care Package. Congratulations! You may have already had the funds released to you (double congratulations!) or are waiting for them (be patient, it can take 12 months – or more).
The important thing is to make the most of your Home Care Package once you do have it. Far too many people don’t utitlise the money available to them and go without much-needed care. So, here are our top tips on how to maximise the funds in your Home Care Package!
The Home Care Package system empowers the users, giving them responsibility for their money. So, you decide how to spend your Package funds.
The Home Care Package system empowers the users, giving them responsibility for their money. That means that you get to decide how to spend your Package funds. However, in order to do this well you need to understand what level of Home Care Package you’ve been allocated, what your HCP funds can be used for, and the associated Home Care Package fees.
There are four different levels of Home Care Package, with level 1 being the most basic amount of care and level 4 being a high amount of care. Learn more about the different levels of Home Care Packages.
Sometimes, even if you’ve been approved for a higher level of Home Care Package, you might receive a lower level first. This is because the higher levels often have longer waiting times, and lower level Home Care Packages become available more quickly. In order to get you started with the care you need, you may receive an interim lower level while you are still waiting for your higher level.
If you are confused about which level of Home Care Package you have been approved for or allocated, contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.
Fees vary greatly from one provider to another. Some providers take a high percentage of your government subsidy in administration and case management fees. That means less money for your care. So, when you ‘shop around’, make sure you ask about the administration fees. You also need to ask about other fees. Home Care providers can sometimes ‘hide’ costs in case management and care fees.
Two fees are set by the government and cannot be altered by the Home Care provider. These are the Basic Daily Fee and the Income Tested Fee.
- The basic daily fee is an amount added to your budget and boosts what you can spend on care and support. Different providers charge different basic daily fees, ranging from nil to $12.53 per day (the maximum amount is equal to between 17.5% of the full age pension). Some providers will waive this fee.
- An income-tested care fee is payable if your income is above a certain amount. Your income-tested care fee is assessed by Centrelink and increases the higher your income is. The government subsidy for your package is reduced by the same amount as your income-tested care fee.
For more information on fees, read our article on Home Care Package fees.
Many older Australians are not spending the Home Care Package funds allocated to them. This is a problem for several reasons.
Home Care Packages are in high demand and they are allocated to people who have been assessed as needing them. When these funds are not used, it indicates that the person is not receiving sufficient care and as a result, their health may deteriorate and they may not be able to stay in their own home for as long.
If, on the other hand, they do not actually need the amount of care they have been allocated, then these funds are tied up and cannot be utilised for the great number of people who are desperately waiting for care.
Some people choose to accumulate the funds in their Home Care Package instead of spending them, something likened to “saving for a rainy day”. However, at CareAbout, we do not recommend doing this. By receiving adequate, quality care right now, you are doing all that you can to prevent or prolong the rainy day from happening. Choosing not to spend your Package just means that you aren’t giving yourself the care and support that you need.
A trustworthy and reliable Home Care provider is the best partner you can have on your Home Care Package journey. A quality provider will have appropriate and transparent fees, will educate you on the amount of money you have available in your Home Care Package and the best ways in which you can spend your funds, and they will ensure the right balance between using your Package right now versus saving some of it for a future purchase if necessary.
The best way to ensure you find a great provider and do not get caught paying unnecessary fees is to contact CareAbout, who will help you work out what your needs are, get a clear list of your preferences, and match you with a provider who will meet your needs, at not cost to you. There’s no obligation to choose the provider recommended and it’s exactly the same price if you do all of the work yourself.
Make sure you stay on top of the funds remaining in your My Aged Care Home Care Package and what you’ve already spent. Are the services you’re receiving still working well for you, or do they need to be adjusted? Have your care needs increased and you feel that you might need a higher level of care?
If you have a great provider, they will manage all of the above for you but it is still a good idea to know where you are at with everything.
Did you know that you can change providers any time you want to? If you don’t think the Home Care provider you’re currently with is a good fit, or if they aren’t providing you with the things mentioned above, it might be time to look at a fresh start with a new provider. Learn more about switching to a new provider or chat to one of our Care Advisers about making a change.
We’ve vetted a large network of quality providers, Australia-wide, and offer free, no-obligation access to our team of Aged Care Specialists. So you can save hours of time and stress, and quickly find a local provider who will meet your needs. Our guidance is free for you and your family and can save you hours of time researching options.