How a financial advisor helps you get the most out of Home Care Packages
The importance of aged care financial planning
Worrying about finances can mean older people carry on in increasingly difficult circumstances at home, not seeking the help they need. They may be assuming home help will cost too much, feeling like My Aged Care is too complicated, or not even knowing there are home care services available to help with daily living. Regardless of whether an older person is a self-funded retiree or receives an aged pension, there are affordable home care options available and financial planning can assist – particularly when dealing with Home Care Packages. Getting financial advice early gives older people choice and control for healthy ageing.
Home care makes it possible to live well at home for longer
When people think about aged care, they often think about residential care and are concerned about needing to sell assets like the family home to pay for it.
The good news? Government-funded home care services are not asset-tested.
However, income-tested fees for Home Care Packages can be complex and we recommend seeking expert advice so you don’t miss out on vital services.
Deciding if government-funded home care is for you
Home care services can be paid for privately, or may be covered by government funding via the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) or a Home Care Package (HCP).
Private home care is charged on a ‘fee for service’ basis. It’s the most expensive option – you are paying full fee for what you use. It has the benefit of not needing any financial or government assessments and starts much quicker.
Government-funded services require an assessment of an older person's care needs to determine what level of care they can receive through CHSP or HCP funding. Even if approved to receive funding for home care services, an older person may be required to pay a contribution, depending on their income.
Services under CHSP do not require an exhaustive financial assessment and no contact with Centrelink is needed. Rather you will pay a contribution for the service which may be based on your general income.
Home Care Packages are more complex in terms of financial planning as they are income tested.
- For full or part pensioners, Services Australia can provide a ‘fee advice letter for home care’ which confirms the income-tested fee. It’s important that you maintain up-to-date financial information with Services Australia so they can calculate the correct fee.
- For self-funded retirees wishing to accept a Home Care Package, the financial matters are far more complex.
- Calculations are based on the Australian Government’s schedule of fees and charges for home care (and residential care).
- Self-funded retirees need to complete the Centrelink form ‘Home Care Package Calculation of your cost of care form’ and submit extensive financial documentation.
To help an older person get the most benefit from a Home Care Package, it’s advisable to seek financial advice.
A financial advisor experienced in retirement planning or aged care planning can:
- Explain the calculation of fees and income-tested contributions
- Help you understand your options for paying service fees and managing cashflow for daily living
- Provide the financial information you need to decide between government-funded or private home care services.
Waiting times for Home Care Packages are up to a year, so it’s best to start planning early!
Seeking home care through My Aged Care? Financial advice can help
Key points to note:
When accessing home care services through My Aged Care, an older person is required to supply information about their financial circumstances.
- Home Care Package costs are income-tested and it’s essential to prepare this information in advance.
- The forms are complicated and your financial advisor can provide expert guidance on calculating the income-tested fees.
- It’s important to get this right so you don’t miss out on valuable funding for home care services, which could be up to approx. $53,000 per year (Level 4 Home Care Package)
When you’re focused on your senior loved one’s health and wellbeing, it’s stressful, time-consuming and confusing to also be researching the costs of care.
A financial advisor can provide clarity about Home Care Package income-tested fees for an older person’s particular circumstances.
How Empower Aged Care helps you
As experienced home care advocates, we help older clients and their families to identify their health and wellbeing needs and to navigate My Aged Care to arrange the home care they need.
Assessment: We conduct a holistic assessment of physical and mental health and social support needs. Our experience means we can identify the wellbeing needs an older person or their family may not have even realised.
Advocacy: We become our clients’ My Aged Care representative to manage the whole process from start to finish.
⇒ Decision time. When it comes to Home Care Packages and needing income assessments, an aged care financial planner can help by providing financial advice and assisting in calculating fees.
Arrangements: We liaise with My Aged Care, assessors and providers to advocate for our clients’ needs and ensure our clients receive the services that are the best fit for their situation.
We can navigate My Aged Care on your behalf to find the best home care solution to support an older person’s needs and budget. Start with our Holistic Aged Care Assessment by calling 0404 444 985.