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Your questions answered on Home Care Packages in Australia

In this guide:

As an older Australian, accessing support through government funding can be confusing. We’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions and their answers to help make things a bit clearer for you.

In Australia, what home care services are funded by the government?

The Australian Federal Government provides funding to older Australia via two programs.

1. Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP)
2. Home Care Packages (HCP)

Each has its own eligibility criteria and operates differently.

The Commonwealth Home Support Program is ideal for those who are coping well at home but have entry-level requirements. This could include needing someone to deliver meals, drive them to outings or appointments, perform light housekeeping duties or provide social companionship. It’s also useful for people who need short-term support such as if they are recovering from surgery or an illness.

Home Care Packages are designed for longer-term home-based support, to aid older Australians to remain living independently in their home. Depending on individual cases, four levels of government funding are available, and an assessment of needs is required.

What are the four levels of a Home Care Package worth?

Each level of funding is different according to needs and if an individual’s needs change, a HCP assessment can be carried out to see if they are eligible for a higher-level package. These figures are correct as at November 2021.

To view the current subsidy amounts per package level click here

How can I apply for a Home Care Package?

Firstly, your eligibility has to be determined so you’ll need to be assessed through My Aged Care. You can visit their website at www.myagedcare.gov.au to familiarise yourself with the program and then you must call them directly on 1800 200 422.

You’ll be asked about your health status, whether you are currently receiving any support and from whom, how you’re managing in your day-to-day life and what problems you’re experiencing. My Aged Care will then decide if your needs are more suited to the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) or a Home Care Package and will refer you to the appropriate one.

For the latter, you will be booked for an in-person assessment in your own home. This is conducted by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) and you are most welcome to have a family member, friend, carer, partner or other support person there too. If you need an interpreter, this can be arranged. There is no cost to you for the assessment.

How will I find out if I’m approved for a Home Care Package?

Once you’ve had your ACAT assessment, My Aged Care will write to you to advise you of the outcome. If you’ve been approved for a Home Care Package, you will be placed on the national waiting list until it is assigned.

After you receive the letter, you will have 56 days to sign an agreement with a Home Care Package provider of your choosing. In the letter from My Aged Care, you’ll find a unique Referral Code which you will give to your provider so they can formally accept your HCP and your funding will be activated.

How long is the wait for a Home Care Package?

Waiting times for a HCP can be from three to nine months before you start receiving funding, depending on the level approved. An interim package – one that is of a lower level than the one for which you’ve been approved – could help you access services sooner while you wait for your level to become available.

There is a long waitlist for Home Care Packages so it’s best to act quickly to get yourself in line.

Can I still get access to support services while waiting for my Home Care Package to be funded?

Yes, you can access supports at any time by paying privately, that is, without being subsidised by your Home Care Package until it comes through. If you choose Mable to connect with independent support workers, you will simply continue with those relationships and when your HCP is approved, you will start paying less.

Will I receive the money directly from my Home Care Package?

No, the funding you receive for your Home Care Package will be sent to and administered by your chosen Home Care Package Provider.

How do I choose a Home Care Package Provider?

Firstly, it’s important to know that there are two types of HCPP.

1. Traditional Providers – In addition to hosting your Home Care Package and managing your plan, a traditional provider will also choose your support workers for you. They have a workforce of support staff who get paid an hourly rate as set by your HCPP.

2. Self-Management – You can choose to manage your own home care, which puts you in control of your own support needs and who supports you. You choose a HCCP that offers self-management, they will host your package and care plan but you will choose the services you receive and who delivers them. HomeMade is a Home Care Package Provider that offers self-management, empowering you to be in control.

In addition to the benefits you receive in being able to manage your own support needs, self-managing with HomeMade and Mable can be much more affordable. In fact, you could receive double the hours of support for the funding you receive.

To learn more about self-managing, book a free call with the team at Homemade today.

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