Explained: Home Care Packages
Whether you’re caring for your elderly parents or you just want a helping hand in your twilight years, it’s worth looking into a Home Care Package. This federally funded program provides much-needed financial assistance to older Australians who wish to continue living in their own home.
Applicants may receive up to $52,000 per year—the precise figure depends on their financial situation and specific needs. Allocated funds can be spent on domestic services, personal hygiene, social support, home maintenance, transport, grocery shopping, healthcare, and many other things.
The program is a lifeline for older Australians who’d rather not rely on help from their family or move into an Aged Care home. However, as with all government welfare initiatives, there’s quite a lot of red tape involved, not to mention lengthy wait times.
This post will explain the application process, define realistic timeframes, and offer expert advice on picking an appropriate Home Care Package provider.
Starting the Application
Every Australian aged 65 and over (or Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders over 50) is eligible to apply.
To begin, visit the official My Aged Care website and fill in the relevant assessment form. While registration is quick and easy, it can take up to 12 months to receive funding, so it’s best to get started as soon as possible.
If you’d prefer to apply over the phone, you can ring My Aged Care on 1800 200 422. When calling on behalf of someone else (i.e., your elderly parents), ensure they’re present to provide verbal consent. You’ll also need the applicant’s Medicare card.
The Funding Timeline
About three weeks after the assessment, a clinician will visit the applicant’s home to evaluate needs and develop an appropriate support plan. Write down a detailed list of all your key requirements so you don’t forget anything on the day.
Around two months after the assessment, you’ll receive an approval letter from My Aged Care that outlines your funding entitlements. Now you know how much money you’ll receive, it’s time to start searching for a suitable Home Care Package provider (see below).
Then finally, approximately 12 months after the assessment, My Aged Care will send you an official letter of allocation, which indicates your funds have been released. You must select and activate a suitable Home Care Package within 56 days of the date stamped on that letter—otherwise, your funding may get allocated to someone else.
Twelve months is a long time to wait. If you require help in the interim, the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) offers essential, entry-level support in a relatively short timeframe. While the CHSP doesn’t compete with a Home Care Package in terms of its services, customisation, and support, the program is both functional and fast.
Another option, if your budget permits, is to pay for your home care support out of pocket while you wait for your funds to clear.
Choosing a Provider
The ideal time to start searching for a provider is after receiving your approval letter but long before getting your allocation notice. That way, you can take full advantage of a suitable Home Care Package from the earliest possible opportunity.When sifting through potential providers, look for one that aligns with your needs. If you’re at risk of a fall, then seek someone who can help with home modifications—for example, grab rails and non-slip flooring. Likewise, if you need help with cooking or cleaning at home, find a provider that offers the relevant domestic services as part of their repertoire.
How our partners CareAbout Can Help
As there are over 800 competing Home Care providers in Australia, it can be challenging to identify the perfect plan for you. CareAbout can evaluate your specific needs and help you pinpoint a suitable provider.
We have a vast network of partnerships with pre-vetted, high-quality providers who offer Home Care services throughout Australia at a reasonable price. What’s more, working with us is 100% risk-free—our services won’t cost you a cent.
And CareAbout doesn’t just help you find a provider: we can offer impartial, expert advice to guide you through the entire application process. If you’d like more detailed information on the application process, then start by downloading our Guide to Home Care.