A step-by-step guide to accessing government funded in-home care

Absolute Care & Health on 20 December 2018

In-home care offers a great deal of benefits if you want to stay in the comfort of your own home while receiving extra assistance with day-to-day activities. It’s an ideal way to maintain your independence and the enjoy the lifestyle you want to have.

You may also be eligible for government funded in-home care services through the Home Care Package programme. Here’s an in-depth look at how to Home Care Packages.

For advice on your situation, talk to our friendly team.

Government funded in-home care: How it works

The federal government funds Home Care Packages for senior Australians who need support to continue living independently in their own homes. To receive a Home Care Package, you need to apply and have your eligibility assessed.

For those who aren’t eligible for a government funded Home Care Package, you may still be able to get help under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, which offers a more basic level of care.

How to access Home Care Packages: a step-by-step guide

We’ve simplified the process for accessing Home Care Packages, by breaking it down into a few key steps which we’re happy to talk you through.

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Eligibility

Step 1. Apply for a Home Care Package through myagedcare.gov.au

After deciding home care is the right choice for you, the first step is to apply for a Home Care Package through My Aged Care, a federal government body. To do this, you can simply call them on 1300 200 422 or visit their website www.myagedcare.gov.au.

Once you’re set up with My Aged Care they’ll organise an assessment of your needs which will be carried out by an Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) nurse who’ll visit you at home.

This assesses your level of need. You receive a letter from My Aged Care saying you have been "approved" for a Home Care Package and whether it's a level 1 or 2 or 3 or 4.

Step 2. Receive your assessment outcome

After your assessment has been carried out to determine the level of your needs, you’ll then receive a formal letter from My Aged Care.

There are several parts to this process:

A. After your ACAS, you then go on a waiting list

There is no immediate access to an interim package, however some people may be allocated a package at a lower level than their assessed need. This might be offered straight away, or after you have been on the waiting list for some time.

If you accept a lower level of Package you still remain in your place on the waiting list for the higher level you have been approved for. Some people may alternatively be offered a Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) services whilst they wait but, but this is not guaranteed.

B. Your contribution is assessed

If you are a self-funded retiree or a part pensioner, you will be asked to contribute some of the value of your Home Care Package - the government will pay the rest). This is called an Income Tested Fee. Full pensioners are not asked to pay this contribution.

The amount you contribute is determined via an income assessment carried out through the DHHS. eg if you are a self funded retiree and have been approved for a level 3 package and your income test shows that you will need to contribute $5,000 a year to your Package, then the Government will pay the remaining $28,076.

C. When you get to the top of the waiting list, you will receive another letter from My Aged Care.

This letter will say that you have been allocated a Package and give you a "Unique Referral Code" which enables your provider to activate your package.

D. You then have 56 days to choose a care provider and activate this package.

If you need more time you can request a 28 day extension from My Aged Care. If you do not choose a provider and activate the package within that time you will lose it and go back on the waiting list.

What are the different levels of care?
Funding LevelCare needsApproximate government funding
Level 1 Basic care needs $8,270
Level 2 Low-level care needs $15,045
Level 3 Intermediate care needs $33,076
Level 4 High-level care needs $50,286
Step 3. Research home care providers and their fees

Everyone offered a government funded Home Care Package will be placed in a national queue to receive their approved package, with their position determined by personal circumstances and needs. This gives you time to research different providers and the fees they charge.

You need to choose a provider you feel comfortable with, and always make sure you ask about their fees.

How long will I wait to receive my approved government funded Home Care Package?
Funding LevelCare needsExpected waiting time
Level 1 Basic care needs 1-3 months
Level 2 Low-level care needs 9-12 months
Level 3 Intermediate care needs 12 months+
Level 4 High-level care needs 12 months+
Step 4. Be assigned a Home Care Package

Once you reach the top of the queue, My Aged Care will send you a letter of notification. From this date onwards, your government funded Home Care Package at the approved level will be ready to go. You just need to select your preferred provider within 56 days (8 weeks) and enter into an agreement with them. If you need more time, you can request a 28 day (4 week) extension with My Aged Care.

Step 5. Select a provider and enter into a home care agreement

Congratulations! You’ve reached the final step. Once you select a provider to manage your Home Care Package and enter into an official home care agreement with them, covering your care plan and an agreed budget, the government will allocate funding directly to that provider. All you need to do is continue your day-to-day life as normal. Our caregivers will be there to assist you as required and we’ll take care of all other administrative duties.

how to access home care packages

Get in touch about in-home care today

Keen to find out more? Contact our friendly team members and we’ll get back to you within one business day. We’d love to hear from you and we’re always happy to help!

Find out how we can help you with Home Care Packages. Have a chat with our friendly team on 03 9827 8899.