Home care services can make a big difference in the lives of you or your loved one, but there are some financial considerations – namely, how much do in-home care services cost, and can I get government funding help to pay for them? We have put together this guide to the main funding options and the costs involved.
Everyone’s circumstances are a little bit different, so how the money works will vary depending on your particular situation.
There are three main ways to fund your in-home care services, and they will provide varying levels of care, ranging from basic help with cleaning and grocery shopping to in-home support for dementia and other complex medical conditions. The federal government funding you receive depends on the level of support you require, which is assessed through My Aged Care. This is explained more in our step-by-step guide to receiving home care services. The main funding options are:
This is an entry-level program for older people who need some help with daily tasks. It is often used by people recovering from an illness or changes in a health condition, who just need some help in shopping for groceries or cleaning the house. You may be eligible if you are 65 or older; 50 or older and identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person; or 50 or older and on a low income, homeless or at risk of homelessness.
My Aged Care (MAC) will arrange an assessment of you or your loved one’s needs, then refer you to an approved home care service provider of your choice. MAC effectively gives a grant to providers, which covers your required in-home care services up to the value of about $8,000 a year, depending on your circumstances.
CHSP services are not means-tested by the government but you are expected to make a small contribution (depending on your financial circumstances) towards the cost of the service, as outlined in the client contribution schedule. Financial assistance in the form of a monthly cap of client contributions may be available.
As the government covers most of the hourly rate of home care services under CHSP, we show only your out-of-pocket costs for each of our services in the client contribution schedule.
Home Care Packages (HCPs) provide more comprehensive help at home, with more flexibility and choice of services. There are four levels of HCPs, which provide subsidies towards a package of tailored care, services and care management (or case management). My Aged Care will arrange an assessment of you or your loved one’s needs and allocate a funding package that you can use quite broadly to achieve your goals – and you decide how to spend your funds.
The same types of home care services are available at each level but the amount of funding – and thus the hours and level of care you can buy – is different at each level. Services might include personal care, support services, nursing, allied health and clinical care. Levels 3 and 4 have a greater emphasis on delivering complex care in the home, including more medical care when needed.
You may be eligible if you are 65 or older; 50 or older and identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person; or 50 or older and on a low income, homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Home Care Package Level 1
Home Care Package 1 supports people with basic home care needs.
Approximate hours a week: 2*
Maximum funding available: $8,750 a year (single, full age pensioner)
Home Care Package Level 2
This package is for people with low-level care needs who prefer to live independently and need services to help them live well.
Approximate hours a week: 3-4*
Maximum funding available: $15,250 a year (single, full age pensioner)
Home Care Package Level 3
Home Care Package 3 supports people with intermediate care needs. It allows for situations that are more complicated than Level 2, moving into the realm of more complex and clinical care when needed.
Approximate hours a week: 7-9*
Maximum funding available: $33,500 a year (single, full age pensioner)
Home Care Package Level 4
This package provides for people with high-level care needs, who want to stay at home but need a comprehensive package of services tailored to their personal and medical needs. It allows for complex care in the home, including more clinical care such as nursing and allied health services.
Approximate hours a week: 10-13*
Maximum funding available: $50,750 a year (single, full age pensioner)
*This is a guide only. Be aware that hours can vary considerably depending on how you choose to spend your funds and on what services.
HCP funding is income-tested, which determines if the government will provide the full subsidy amount or reduce it for you to contribute the rest toward the cost of your services (the value of your family home is not included in the assessment). This contribution, if required, is called an Income-Tested Fee (ITF). Full Age Pensioners, for example, would usually not be required to pay an ITF; while for those who are assessed by Centrelink to pay an ITF, you can be asked to contribute up to $35.25 a day. The government covers the rest.
You also may have to pay a Basic Daily Fee (BDF), which will add dollars to the subsidy pool to spend. It is currently $10.54 (pegged to 17.5% of the age pension) but can be reduced to the amount you can afford to pay.
Once you have been assigned an HCP it is up to you how to spend it. You get to choose a provider and choose which services would be best suited to your individual care needs. Find out more in our How to choose the right home care services provider guide.
Home care services are generally charged at an hourly rate but remember, these rates are paid from the total pool of money contained in your Home Care Package. Other charges paid by your HCP include:
View rates for all our home care services available under Home Care Packages.
Under the fee-for-service option, you or your loved one can privately fund your home care services. This might be an option if you:
Privately funded home care services are not subsidised by the government.
You will need to pay the full cost of the home care service.
Call us on 1300 258 322 to discuss your needs and costs.