Need some extra help at home? The government provides funding to support older Australians to help you stay living independently at home.  

If you’ve started to think about, or are in the process of getting support at home, you might have come across the terms: Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) and Home Care Package (HCP).

You may be unsure about what these acronyms mean and how the programs differ. We hope this article helps to clarify things. 

Both the CHSP and HCP are government-funded programs that provide support for older Australians in their homes. Choosing which is the right one for you depends on the type of care you need. So let’s take a look at the two programs and what they mean.  

Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) and Home Care Package (HCP) meaning.

The Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) provides subsidised entry-level support at home. It’s suitable for older Australians who can live independently, but who need low-level help with one or two  day-to-day activities.  

Home Care Packages (HCP) also provide subsidised support, but the care provided ranges from basic to advanced-care levels. Older Australians can be assessed and allocated funding across four levels to accommodate basic, low, intermediate and high/complex care needs.   

When you look at the services provided across both programs, they offer similar support. Both the CHSP and HCPs give people access to a variety of Home Care services that help to improve their lives. The big difference is that HCPs can offer more of these services, more frequently.  

Who is eligible for the CHSP and Home Care Packages? 

Whether you’re eligible for CHSP or HCP depends on the level of support you need and your individual circumstances.  

Whether you think low level support through CHSP is what you need, or if you’re considering applying for a Home Care Package through My Aged Care, it’s important to think about the type of services you need today, as well as the additional support you may need in the future to enable you to live safely and comfortably in your home for as long as possible.  

If you’re over 65 years of age, an Australian resident, and require some help at home, you can apply to be assessed for CHSP or HCP. 

If you’re of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, you’re eligible for CHSP or HCP from the age of 50.

How do I apply for CHSP and HCP?

To apply for CHSP or HCP, you’ll need to register and apply for an assessment through My Aged Care.  

You’ll have to complete a brief assessment which you can do online or over the phone. This assessment will categorise you into low-level or high-level needs and refer you to either the HCP or CHSP assessment. Both assessments are free, and they are meant to assess your current needs, conditions, and the support you require.  

You might like to read this short article before you start the registration process. 

What types of services can I receive with CHSP and HCP?

Both programs do provide subsidies for basic needs such as transport, cleaning and general home services, and meal management. However, the HCP typically offers a wider range of support than the CHSP. For example, you can access specific nursing care and allied health services, if you’re assessed as requiring a Level 3 or Level 4 Home Care Package.  

The more support you need, the more likely that the HCP is more suitable for you. CHSP may be more suitable, if you need lower-level support with just one of two basic services.  

How much funding do I get with CHSP and Home Care Packages?

Home Care Packages cover the four levels of care and they do receive more funding from the government. Older Australians who are assessed as needing higher levels of care will receive more funding under HCP so they’re able to have the care and support they need to stay living safely and independently at home. If you’re interested in the Home Care Package amounts, don’t miss this article.

CHSP subsidies can be sufficient for older Australians with basic needs. Regardless of your subsidy, the right provider can help you get the best value for your care.  

Can I access CHSP and HCP at the same time?

Yes! If you’re receiving a Home Care Package, in some circumstances you can receive additional, short-term services under the CHSP.  Also access the CHSP while waiting for your Home Care Package subsidy. More information on this can be found here.

Are CHSP and HCP income tested?

There is no means assessment for the CHSP. However, you’ll be asked to pay a contribution for your care services if you can afford it. How much you pay depends on your provider and the type of service you receive, but you’ll never have to pay the full cost of your service. 

If you’re eligible for a Home Care Package, an income-tested fee can apply. However, this fee goes directly towards your own care services and is determined by an income test. Full Aged Care Pensioners and low-income earners are exempt from paying this fee.  

Key takeaway

CHSPs and HCPs are government subsidies to provide the extra help older Australians need to continue living at home independently. It’s important to know what to expect when applying for these programs, and to choose the right provider to give you the care that meets your individual needs and circumstances. 

CareAbout understands that you have unique health and support needs. We spend the time to understand your needs, preferences and budget, so we can match you with the right-fit, in-home care support. For more guidance about CHSP and HCP you can contact our team for a personalised discussion at no cost to you.