Exiting a Home Care Package is easy. If you want to change to a different provider, move into an Aged Care Home, or just want to stop home care services, ending your Home Care Package is simple.
Your Home Care Agreement
When you choose a provider for your Home Care services, you enter into a Home Care Agreement.
The Home Care Agreement outlines:
- what you can expect from your provider
- your care plan and your care review periods (often 12-monthly)
- the service arrangements
- the provider’s fees and charges
Before signing with your chosen provider, make sure you read through the agreement and ask as many questions as you want to ensure you fully understand everything.
Negotiate! You have a right to negotiate fees and charges. Providers all have a right to charge a Basic Daily Fee, yet it is up to them to choose whether or not they do so. Make sure you discuss it and try to get the Basic Daily fee waived.
Note: if you have been assessed as needing to pay an income-tested fee, you cannot negotiate this. This fee is set by the government and is compulsory.
Am I locked into my contract?
No. Once you enter into a Home Care Agreement with a provider, they must provide services until you choose to end the agreement. You are not locked in to any contract with the provider and can choose to leave at any time.
Rejecting a Home Care Package?
You may choose to reject your Home Care Package if you find out that you need to pay a high income-tested fee, and therefore you do not see any benefit in accepting the Home Care Package. Often, if you are waiting for a high-level Home Care Package, you will be offered a lower-level package in the interim. This is to try and help you with some care while you wait – though, if you earn an income over the basic pension rate, you will most likely be required to pay an income-tested fee. In many cases, the income-tested fee is more than the amount of funding you would receive from the low-level Home Care Package.
If this is the case, for most people, it doesn’t make much sense to accept the package as they would end up paying more in fees than what they receive in funding. However, in some cases, we’ve seen people accept a low-level package because they want to get started with care from their chosen provider and know that a higher level package is on its way shortly.
If you do choose to reject your Home Care Package, it won’t affect you negatively. If you are waiting for a higher level package, rejecting the lower interim package won’t mean that you wait any longer for your approved package.
How do I end my agreement with my provider? What notification do I need to give?
All you need to do to end your current Home Care Agreement is to let your provider know that you wish to stop receiving their services. It is best to let them know in writing; an email is fine. Make sure you specify the date you wish to cease your agreement with them.
Most providers require 14 days’ notice, though make sure you check your agreement, as some providers do ask for 4 weeks’ notice.
I want to switch providers. How?
Switching is easy! Home Care Packages are designed to give you control over the care and support you receive. You can choose to change your provider at any time. Be aware though, some providers will charge an exit fee, so make sure you check your contract.
Find out more about how to switch to a new Home Care provider.
What happens to my unspent funds?
If you’re switching to a new provider your unspent funds will switch with you. If your current provider charges an exit fee, they can take this amount from your unspent funds. Whatever is left after the exit fee will be transferred to your new provider.
*If there aren’t sufficient funds in your Home Care Package to cover the provider’s exit fee, don’t worry! The provider cannot ask you to pay an exit fee out of your own pocket, it must come out of the package itself. If there isn’t enough there, then you simply don’t pay the exit fee.
If you are no longer able or wanting to receive Home Care services, and are ending your Home Care Package, any unspent government-issued funds will be returned to the government. If you have been paying fees towards your Home Care Package, these will be returned to you, or to your estate.
What happens to my Home Care Package if I move into an Aged Care Home?
If you move into an Aged Care Home, your Home Care Package funds will be returned to the government and allocated to somebody who has been waiting in the National Queue.
If you have been contributing your own money (income-tested fees) into a Home Care Package, this amount will be returned to you – or can be put towards your Aged Care Home means-tested fees if you are required to pay them.
What happens to my Home Care Package if I die?
Any unspent funds will be returned to your estate, or to the government. If you were paying income-tested fees towards your Home Care Package, this amount will be returned to your estate. The government portion will be given back to the government.
We’re often asked whether unspent Home Care Package funds can be used to pay for a funeral – unfortunately not. If any amount is returned to your estate, this could be used to reimburse funeral costs, but it is very unlikely that these funds will be distributed prior to your funeral.