What is financial hardship assistance?
If you are having trouble paying your Home Care Package fees, you may be eligible for financial hardship assistance. If you are eligible, the government will either ask your Home Care provider to reduce/pause your fees for a short time, or they’ll pay some, or all, of your Home Care Package fees for a short time.
*Financial hardship assistance for Home Care Packages only applies to those people who started receiving a Home Care Package on or after 1 July 2014.
Am I eligible for financial hardship assistance?
Everybody has different circumstances, so each case is reviewed on an individual basis. If you meet the following conditions, you might be eligible to receive financial hardship assistance.
- Your Home Care Package was allocated on or after 1 July 2014
- You haven’t gifted anybody $10,000 or more in the past 12 months
- You haven’t gifted anybody $30,000 or more in the past 5 years
- You don’t have assets that you can sell or borrow above $36,402.60
If you meet the eligibility criteria, the Department of Human Services will check to see how much income you are left with once you’ve paid all of your essential expenses. If you have more than 15% of the basic pension left over, you might not be eligible for hardship assistance.
What are “essential expenses”?
These are the expenses you are required to pay that are deemed essential to your basic living and health-related costs. They included items such as the following:
- Household and home costs
- Rent or mortgage repayments
- Maintenance and repairs of your home
- Home insurance
- Water, gas and electricity bills
- Telephone and internet costs
- Medical and dental expenses, including prescription eyewear, artificial limbs, wheelchair and mobility aids, hearing aids (*these must not already be covered by another government scheme or program)
- Home care fees
- Ambulance cover
- Private health insurance
- Transport costs, including public transport fares, vehicle registration, maintenance, repairs and insurance
- Regular funeral plan payments
How do I apply for financial hardship assistance?
To apply, you will need to fill out the below form and return it to the Department of Human Services with all of the relevant supporting documents (outlined in the application form).
The address you need to send the application and supporting documents to is on the form.
Click here to access the Financial Hardship Application Form
What does financial hardship assistance involve?
The government (Department of Human Services) will help relieve your financial stress if you’re struggling to pay for your Home Care Package.
Once your application is approved, payment of your home care fees will be immediate. In special circumstances, payment of home care fees can even be backdated.
Usually, the DHS will commit to providing financial hardship assistance for 12 months. If you are still experiencing financial hardship after this period of time, you can apply again.
CareAbout recommends that if you need to, you re-apply before your current financial hardship assistance ends. This is to ensure that you do not end up having to pay home care fees in the interim period, while DHS is still processing your second application.