Aged care

Planning for aged care

17 December 2019

Hank Jongen

Hank Jongen is General Manager at the Department of Human Services.

The decision to enter aged care can be difficult, but a new range of tools and services helps to simplify the process.

The decision to enter aged care is not often an easy one to make. It’s a major life change and can understandably be a highly emotional time for clients and their families.

The reality for many people is that aged care may be just around the corner, whether it’s helping a partner or parent to enter aged care, or considering your own plans for the future.

Aged care can be an overwhelming and complex process to navigate, but early planning can help to take the stress and uncertainty out of it when the time comes to make the transition.

The best place to start is at the My Aged Care website. Here, your client can learn about the different types of aged care, get assessed for aged care services, and find an aged care provider in their local area. There’s even a handy fee estimator tool on the website, so your client can find out what they may need to pay towards an aged care home or for a home care package.

The Department of Human Services’ Financial Information Service can also help your client to understand the financial aspects of aged care. Your client could speak to a Financial Information Service Officer or attend one of the Department’s free seminars on aged care to learn more about aged care fees and charges, and different options to fund aged care depending on your client’s circumstances. For more information, click here.

If your client is thinking of entering an aged care facility or getting help with living at home, the Department of Human Services may be able to help with the costs. We can offset some of the cost of your care based on your client’s income, assets and type of care they need. Once they have been assessed as suitable to enter aged care by an Aged Care Assessment Team, we’ll then do a means assessment to determine how we can help with their fees.

The Department will use your client’s financial details to assess if they have to pay a means-tested fee towards the cost of their care and what this fee will be.

Improvements made

The Department of Human Services has made vast improvements to the aged care forms this year. These forms have been significantly trimmed back in size and the front page now makes it clearer who needs to complete them. For instance, people entering residential care don’t need to fill in a form if they get a means-tested income support payment from Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), and don’t own their own home.

People commencing a Home Care Package don’t need to fill in a form if they get a means-tested income support payment from Centrelink or the DVA.

This is because the Department of Human Services will use the information we already hold about their income and assets to calculate their means-tested fees for aged care, saving them from filling out a form.

It is important your clients make sure their income and assets are up to date when they enter into aged care to ensure their assessment can be completed automatically. They can do this by accessing their Centrelink online account or by calling Centrelink on 13 23 00 or DVA on 1800 555 254.

There’s even a digital form which tailors questions to a person’s circumstances, and your client can lodge this using their Centrelink online account on myGov or by printing and returning the form to the Department of Human Services. These forms are available to print from the Department’s website or your client can request a copy by calling the Department or visiting a service centre.

To find out more about options, services and support for people considering aged care, click here.