Your ultimate guide to Home Care Packages
Everything you need to know about Home Care, all in one place!
A Home Care Package is a pool of funding provided by the federal government. It is designed to help older Australians to remain safely at home without having to do everything themselves or rely heavily on their family members and friends.
Anyone who is over 65 years of age, an Australian resident, and requires some help in order to stay safely home can apply for a Home Care Package.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are eligible for Home Care Packages from the age of 50.
To apply for a Home Care Package, you will need to register and create an account with My Aged Care, the government body for all Aged Care services in Australia.
You can register online via the My Aged Care website, or you can call them and register over the phone.
During the registration process, you will be asked several questions about yourself – and you will need your Medicare Card on hand. You can have help from someone and they can speak on your behalf if you aren’t capable or have language barriers, but you will need to be present to give your verbal consent.
After the registration process, if you are found to be eligible, an ACAT assessment will be arranged for you. This assessment is to determine the level of care you require, as well as any other services, like respite care.
The ACAT assessment generally occurs within 2-3 weeks of registering.
Once you’ve registered with My Aged Care, you will be assessed by one of the government’s ACAT team members. This will most likely be an assessment in your own home (pending any COVID restrictions) where the assessor will ask you a range of questions about your current state of health, your day to day activities and any of the things you are having difficulty with.
There are four different levels of Home Care Package and each will give you a different amount of funding.
The lowest level of Package is a Level 1 and this is aimed at providing basic level care and support for someone who is still quite independent. You will receive $10,271 per year.
A Level 2 Home Care Package is aimed at supporting people who have low-level care needs. The amount of funding is $18,064 per year.
A Level 3 Home Care Package supports people who have intermediate level care needs and is $39,311 per year.
The highest level of Home Care Package, a Level 4, is allocated to people who have complex and high care needs, such as people with Alzheimer’s disease. The value of a Level 4 Package is $59,594 per year.
If you can afford it, the government expects you to contribute to the costs of your care by paying an income tested fee. If you are a full pensioner, you DO NOT have to pay this.
For those who are not on a full pension, your income will be assessed by Centrelink and based on the amount you earn per annum, you will be charged an out-of-pocket fee. It is an income assessment only, any assets you have are not included.
Some providers also charge a Basic Daily Fee, which can be up to $11.22 per day. We believe that this fee is unnecessary and as such, none of the providers CareAbout partners with will charge a Basic Daily Fee.
At the moment, there is a significant waiting time for a Home Care Package. These wait times are getting shorter though, and interim (lower-level) Packages are being given to people so that they can receive some amount of care while they wait for their assigned Package.
Most people who have been approved for a Home Care Package are also being approved for the Commonwealth Home Support Program, so that care and support can be received straight away.
The current wait times for Home Care Packages are:
For people with a medium priority, the expected wait time for a Home Care Package (starting from the date on the letter of approval) is:
*Last revised 17 August 2023 (myagedcare.com.au)
Essentially, you can use your Home Care Package funding for anything that will help to keep you living safely in your home.
The most common things a Home Care Package is used for, are:
There are four different levels of Home Care Package. Each different level will give you a different amount of funding, and therefore a different level of support services.
Learn more about the 4 different levels of Home Care Packages.
Once you have received your Home Care Package funding, choosing a provider can be a difficult and overwhelming task. There are over 900 Home Care providers in Australia – how do you know which is the right one for you?
That’s where we come in. At CareAbout, we’ve vetted many Home Care providers for you and we’ll only work with the very best of them. Don’t get stuck with a provider who won’t treat you the way you deserve to be treated.
If you have chosen a provider who you’re not completely happy with, it’s easy to change to a new one.
If you’re not sure whether your current provider is delivering quality care and service, learn more about what a quality Home Care provider looks like.
If you’ve decided that you’d like to change your provider, it’s a 4-step process:
If your health has declined, or you think you’ve been approved for the wrong level of Home Care Package, you can apply for a higher level.
Ask your current Home Care provider (if you have one), or contact My Aged Care (if you don’t have a provider) to arrange another ACAT Assessment.
If your need of care is more suited to a higher level Package than what you current have, then you will be approved and will go back into the National Queue to wait for your new Home Care Package. Don’t worry, you’ll still get to keep your current Package while you’re waiting!
The providers we recommend have been carefully evaluated and selected so that you know the choice you make is one you can trust.
We are committed to fair fees and to finding providers who can offer you great care for your money.
Our team clearly explains to you how the system works and how to access the support you need.
Can I use my Home Care Package to pay my mortgage or rent?
No, a Home Care Package cannot be used for any accommodation payments.
Can I use Home Care Package funding to renovate my bathroom?
Yes, you can, if the modification is required to ensure you’re able to use your bathroom safely. Learn more about home modifications.
Can I pay for a carer to take me on a holiday?
Yes, you can pay for a carer to accompany you on holiday but this does depend on which provider you are with and the availability and flexibility of their care workers. Your Home Care Package cannot pay for any of your holiday travel or accommodation costs.
Can I buy a car with my Home Care Package?
No, you cannot use your Home Care Package to purchase a car or to pay for any ongoing upkeep or mechanical costs.
Can I pause my Home Care?
Yes! You can take a leave of absence from your Home Care Package. In order to do this, you must notify your provider with the specific dates of your leave and they will pause your services.
Even though your services are paused, you may still need to pay certain fees. Learn more.