Monday, 10 June 2019

The process of accessing aged care services

Accessing Aged Care Services

Are you looking to access aged care services for yourself or a loved one? We have put together a simple step by step approach to getting the process started in this post. If you aren’t ready to walk through the process yet, then take a look at our recent post with downloadable resources.

Making an informed decision for Aged Care

The Two Step Process to accessing aged care

There are essentially 2 steps to start the process of accessing aged care services.

  1. A care needs assessment
  2. A financial assessment

The ACAT Assessment

The first step in the process is having your care needs assessed. In order to do this, you will need to be referred for an ACAT Assessment.

The team of people responsible for these assessments are known as the ACAT (Aged Care Assessment Team). The ACAT, made up of doctors, nurses, social workers and therapists, determine the care services that you are eligible to receive and provide this to you in writing. You should keep this record in a safe place as you will need it to access Home Care Packages (HCP’s), respite, as well as permanent entry to an aged care home. This record is valid on an ongoing basis unless your circumstances change.

The ACAT assessment is free of charge and can be carried out in your own home or at the ACAT offices.

Rest assured the ACAT interview process is a relatively easy one and the team’s objective is to help you. Be aware that in some cases you could be waiting several weeks to get an appointment for the assessment to be carried out so it’s best to book in advance.

Many people are referred to ACAT by their doctor but you can contact ACAT yourself.

Your family, GP or specialist are able to refer you online for an assessment at

Alternatively, you can call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

In the next few days, a member of ACAT will organise a phone interview followed by an assessment in your home.

The Financial Assessment

Once the ACAT assessment has been completed and the required level of care is established, the Department of Social Services (DSS) or Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) will assess your ability to pay fees for aged care accommodation and services.

While your first priority is obviously to find the best possible level of service, it’s also important to consider the financial aspects so you make the right choices for you and your family. Making the wrong decision, without the right advice, could result in a loss of age pension, increased aged care costs and a reduced estate to be passed onto the next generation.

The Government partly funds the cost of care, the fees you pay depend on:

  • The level of care required
  • The accommodation payment
  • Your assets and income – a financial assessment (assets test and income test) will determine the level of fees you need to pay.

What do you need to provide for the financial assessment?

For the best possible result, You will need

  1. to provide asset and income information and
  2. complete and lodge a Permanent residential aged care request for combined assets and income assessment form (Centrelink SA457 form) which outlines your current financial position.

As the financial assessment will take into account the amount of your income and assets, it’s important to note that failure to complete this form may result in you being charged higher fees across the different categories.

This record is valid for 120 days. If you have not entered care within 120 days, a review will be required.

Would you like more information on Kalyra Communities Aged Care Services? Look at our current service locations including:

Kalyra Communities | Here for you - Residential Aged Care, Retirement Living and Help at Home. Accessing aged care services.

For a complete guide to making an informed decision for aged care, simply complete the form below for the free resource.

The Costs of Aged Care

The costs vary depending on the type of resident you are;

  1. a permanent resident staying in an aged care home or
  2. a respite resident on a more temporary basis.

If you enter and receive respite care in a Government-funded aged care home, you will be asked to pay the standard basic daily fee. A booking fee may also apply. Unlike permanent residents, as a respite resident, you do not need to pay any accommodation payments or additional means-tested care fees.

Costs for permanent residents in aged care

There are three fees that apply to permanent residents including:

  1. A basic daily fee.
  2. A means-tested care fee.
  3. An accommodation payment.

A basic daily fee

You will pay a basic daily fee as a contribution towards care costs and living expenses such as meals, cleaning laundry, heating and cooling. The basic daily fee, set at 85% of the single age pension, is paid by all residents of an aged care home, including those on respite. The basic daily fee is indexed twice per year in line with increases in the age pension.

A means-tested care fee

Assets and income will be assessed by the Government to determine your capacity to financially contribute further towards residential aged care. Income is assessed under the same rules that Centrelink applies for pension entitlement. Assets, both within Australia and overseas, are assessed at market value.

If you are a member of a couple, your income and assets will be assessed on a 50/50 basis. Your former home will be assessed up to the capped value, unless a protected person is living there, in which case it is exempt from the assessment. A protected person is

  • a spouse or dependent child
  • A carer, who is eligible to receive an Australian Income Support Payment and has been living there for at least two years
  • A close relative, who is eligible to receive an Australian Income Support payment and has been living there for at least five years.

The Means Tested fee is a daily fee, which is capped annually, and has a lifetime cap across all forms of care.

The Department of Social Services notifies the resident/representative and the aged care home of the maximum daily fees payable. The means-tested fee is payable from the day of admission. If the means-tested fee has not been calculated upon the day of admission, the fees will default to a rate set by Kalyra until a determination has been made by the Department of Human Services.

An Accommodation Payment

On entry to the aged care home, a resident will be required to pay an Accommodation Payment. The payment amount is assessed on an individual basis. The amount you can be asked to pay will be based on your income and assets, and will be one of the following:

  • No accommodation costs: If your income and assets are below a certain amount, the Australian Government will pay your accommodation costs.
  • An Accommodation Contribution: If you are required to pay part of the cost of your accommodation, the Australian Government will pay the rest. The Department of Social Services will advise this amount.
  • An accommodation Payment: If you are required to pay for the full cost of your accommodation.

The Department of Social Services will advise which applies to you based on your assessed income and assets. When establishing the amount you pay towards your accommodation, the Government will set the minimum amount of assets that must be retained so that, when you pay an upfront accommodation payment, you would not be left with an amount that is less than the minimum asset amount.

The accommodation prices for Kalyra Communities are published on our website, the MyAgedCare website and in our brochures.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us. We are Here for you.

Phone: (08) 8278 5444