Once you’ve been assessed and assigned a Home Care Package, the next step is working out how much money you’ll receive under your Package and how much you’ll pay in fees.
The fee estimator on the My Aged Care website is a useful tool and, although everyone’s financial situation is unique, it provides general information and a useful checklist.
Depending on your choice of provider, the fees you’ll be asked to pay will vary.
Contributing Towards Your Package
As Home Care Packages are tax-payer funded and designed to give everyone a ‘fair go’, if you can afford it you may be asked to pay a small contribution towards your Package. This means-tested contribution is called an income-tested fee (ITF) and can range from $0-$252 per day, based on your individual financial situation.
The Department of Human Services, (formerly Centrelink), or the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA), is responsible for carrying out formal assessments of your income and assets.
Before you sign a Home Care Agreement, you need to apply for an assessment of your income and assets through the appropriate department. Both departments provide forms online which can be easily downloaded. The assessment process involves providing detailed information about your assets and finances, similar to filling out your annual tax return.
Once you have filled out the paperwork, the government will work out your contribution.
Factors influencing this decision include:
- Your current personal situation, such as whether or not you have a partner, (married or de facto), even if you live apart for health reasons
- The level of the Home Care Package you have been allocated
- Provider fees charged under your home care agreement
When you fill out the income and assets form you will be required to declare and provide details about any income you are currently receiving, including the following:
- Income from pensions, such as aged care, service, disability and overseas pensions
- Rental income from investment properties you may own
- Net income from any business you may be involved in, including farms
- Income from superannuation streams such as annuities and allocated pensions
- Income from family trust distributions
- Dividends from private company shares
You don’t have to include interest from bank accounts or financial investments.
Your Financial Assets
As well as providing details about any income you may be receiving, the government also wants details about any financial assets you may own. If you have a partner, you basically need to declare your combined financial assets, excluding your family home. This will include:
- Details of all your bank accounts, cash reserves, gold and other bullion
- Details of any managed investments, shares and securities, loans and debentures
- Details of any amounts of money you may have gifted to children or grandchildren. These include amounts above $10,000 gifted in the last year, or amounts above $30,000, gifted in the last five years
Having to identify and list a life-time of accumulated income and financial assets can be an overwhelming task, especially if you are unwell and going through a stressful time. If so, it’s a good idea to seek help, either from a trusted family member or a professional, such as an accountant or financial advisor. They can help you understand what information needs to be included and assist with filling out the paperwork.