Home care fees for existing home care package consumers before 1 July 2014

Page last updated: 23 October 2017

Home care fees

Consumers may be asked to pay a basic daily fee and providers can also charge consumers an income tested fee under the arrangements that existed for income tested fees pre-1 July 2014.  

Providers may ask these consumers to pay:

  • a basic daily fee and 
  • an income tested fee (if their income is over the maximum income for a full pensioner).

These amounts must be included in the consumer’s individualised budget and monthly statement. 

Basic daily fee

Providers can ask everyone taking up a home care package to pay the basic daily fee, irrespective of the consumer’s income and whether or not they are a member of a couple.

The basic daily fee is up to 17.5 per cent of the basic rate of the single age pension. The rate is readjusted on 20 March and 20 September each year in line with changes to the age pension.

Find out more about the current basic daily fee rate on the Schedule of Residential and Home Care fees and charges.

Income tested fee

If the consumer’s income is more than the basic rate of the single age pension, the maximum fee is 17.5 per cent of the basic rate of the single age pension (basic daily fee) plus up to 50 per cent of the income above the basic rate of the single age pension (income tested fee).

It is the provider’s responsibility to calculate the income tested fee. There is also no reduction to subsidy or primary supplements when a person pays an income tested fee.

Income test assessment

Income is defined as net income, which is after income tax and the Medicare levy. When calculating income for the purpose of determining ongoing fees, the following are excluded:

  • any pharmaceutical allowance, rent assistance or telephone allowance;
  • the pension supplement;
  • the energy supplement; and
  • in the case of a pension payable under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (except a Service Pension), an amount equal to 4 per cent of the amount of the pension.

Review of fees

A provider must conduct a review of fees periodically (or whenever the consumer requests a review). The consumer should be encouraged to seek a review if their financial circumstances change.

The maximum fees may need to be varied when new rates for the age pension are announced each March and September. Providers should discuss the impact of these changes on fees with the consumer and update their individual budget accordingly.

The basic daily fee increases on 20 March and 20 September each year in line with age pension increases and is published on the Department of Health website. It is a provider’s responsibility to update the amount of basic daily fee payable and advise the consumer. 

Fees payable while a consumer is on leave

While a consumer’s home care package has been suspended because they are on leave, they can continue to be asked to pay fees for some leave types. This amount must be no more than the usual fee agreed between the consumer and the provider.

Leave type

Basic daily fee

Income tested fee

Hospital leave

Can be charged

Can be charged

Transition care

Cannot be charged

Cannot be charged

Residential Respite care

Cannot be charged

Cannot be charged

Social leave

(all other suspension types)

Can be charged

Can be charged

Any subsidy, relevant supplements or home care fees paid to the provider while the consumer is on leave must be included in the consumer’s monthly statement.

Read more about the consumer’s monthly statement.

Financial hardship assistance

Home care consumers who commenced a home care package before 1 July 2014 are not eligible for the hardship supplement. Rather, these home care consumers are able to negotiate lower fees with their provider as set out in the Aged Care (Transitional Provisions) Act 1997. These provisions allow providers to consider the home care consumers other expenses such as high pharmaceutical bills, utilities and other living expenses when setting fees.

Consumers intending to move to a new service provider

If a consumer was receiving a home care package on or before 30 June 2014 and they move to a new home care service (and do not spend more than 28 days outside of care, other than on approved leave), they can opt into the fee arrangements that started on 1 July 2014. 

To make this choice, the consumer will need to complete and sign the Continuing Care Recipient opting into the New Aged Care Arrangements from 1 July 2014 (AC022) form and submit this form to the new provider before they transfer to the new service. This completed and signed form is submitted with the Aged Care Entry Record (ACER) to the Department of Human Services by the new provider.

The new provider will also need to give the consumer the New Arrangements for Aged Care from 1 July 2014 – Home Care publication.

If the consumer does not complete and submit this form to the new service provider before they transfer, they will automatically be classed as a ‘continuing care recipient’ and will remain on their pre-1 July 2014 fee arrangements. This is not a reviewable decision and must be done correctly in order for the consumer to opt in to the post-1 July 2014 fee arrangements.

For more information on the new home care service requirements to provide information to a continuing care recipient see section 21 of the User Rights Principles 2014.