The Australian Government’s Home Care Package Program helps people live independently in their own home for as long as they can. It is based upon a Consumer Directed Care model and gives consumers more choice and control over their care than ever before.
Currently, there are a limited number of Home Care Packages released by the government and there is a long wait list.
Once you are allocated a Home Care Package (woohoo!), you can then choose a provider and select which services you want to receive from them. This is the exciting part as there are a great number of services, from personal care through to gardening and social and recreational activities.
There are four levels of Home Care Packages. Each level provides a different amount of funds, which are used to pay for any services that will contribute to you remaining safely in your home. You are not able to access these funds directly, instead, the provider you choose will be granted access to your funding and will use it to pay for your services.
Understanding the four Home Care Package levels
Home Care Packages are divided into four levels, with each level receiving a different level of funding. Funding is based upon care requirements and reflects the amount of support needed. As such, those assigned to level 1 and 2 Packages require a low level of care and those assigned to levels 3 or 4 require a high level of care and support.
How am I assigned to a Home Care Package level?
Being allocated to a level 1, 2, 3 or 4 Home Care Package depends upon an individual’s current circumstances and requirements. During your Aged Care Assessment, your assessor will ask a range of questions to determine which level Package is best to meet your care needs.
CareAbout recommends you are realistic about your needs.
Many older Australians dislike feeling vulnerable or asking for help, but to ensure you receive the level of care to help you stay comfortable within your own home, it is important to show vulnerability during your Assessment.
How much money will I receive?
Each level of Home Care Package has a different amount of funding, from Level 1 packages receiving $8,786 through to a Level 4 package of $50,991.
Note: Provider rates vary between suppliers and depending on the type of support service, but most fall between $45-60 per hour.
What happens if the level I’m assigned doesn’t provide enough support for me?
Once you are allocated a level, you are certainly not ‘stuck’ there; you can, at any time, apply for a higher-level package – and we recommend you do this sooner rather than later as there are wait times for higher level Packages.
5 things you need to know about Home Care Packages
1. They Expire!
If you’ve had your Home Care Package allocated that means the Package has now been funded by the government. You have 56 days to choose a care provider or you will lose your Package. Unfortunately, if you lose your Package you will go back onto the national waiting list and you may have to wait 12-18 months to get your Package funded again.
So, make sure you use it - or lose it!
2. You Can Switch Care Providers
You can now change the provider who delivers your care. The Home Care Package money is attached to you, not the care provider. Therefore, if for any reason you’re unhappy you can choose another care provider to deliver your services.
People switch care providers for many reasons including:
- Paying too much of their Package in fees
- Paying high hourly fees
- Unhappy with constantly changing carers
- Not receiving the services as promised
- Not getting the services, they need.
3. You Can Wait For Over 12 Months For A Package
The good news is that Home Care Packages are a great way to support you to stay safely and confidently in your own home. But, the bad news is that there’s a long wait from the time you are assessed for a Home Care Package until the time it is allocated or funded.
Waiting is never fun and this wait can be as long as 22 months. So, if you need help it’s best to get assessed early or even get some help while you’re waiting for a Home Care Package.
4. You Can Pay Half Of Your Package In Fees!
Unfortunately, that’s right. This is because different care providers take different amounts of your Package in fees. Some care providers can take 50% of your Home Care Package in fees. Some care providers charge establishment and exit fees, and others don’t.
Make sure you do your homework and ensure you’re getting the most out of your Package. CareAbout can help find you a care provider who meets your needs and budget.
5. You Can Pay For Your Own Care.
Do you need extra help beyond your Package or are you waiting for your funds to come through? If so, you can choose to pay for Home Care yourself.
Paying for care may mean that you maintain your health and wellbeing and can stay confidently in your own home for longer.
For further information on Home Care Packages, we recommend having a read through the Home Care Package Guide developed by My Aged Care.