Aged care seems expensive, and comes at a time when your finances may be dwindling. This might make you worry about whether you can afford to pay for care.
In Australia, we are lucky that government subsidies can help with the costs, but you will have to jump through hoops to be approved. And you may have long waiting times before the government money becomes available (particularly home care).
This article takes a quick look at the three steps for approval.
Step 1 – Register with MyAgedCare
You first need to register with MyAgedCare. You can lodge an application online at myagedcare.gov.au or you can call on 1800 200422. MyAgedCare complete a quick eligibility check by asking basic questions about your health and how you are coping.
It is a good idea to have a family member (or friend) with you to help with the answers. You can also nominate this person to be the MyAgedCare contact point for the rest of the process.
Step 2 – Referral to ACAT
If you pass this first assessment, MyAgedCare pass on your contact details and the information collected to an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). If it is determined that your needs are quite simple, a different pathway may be taken with a referral to a Regional Assessment Service (RAS) to talk about home services through the Commonwealth Home Support Program.
You should expect a call from the assessor to arrange a face-to-face assessment, usually in the home, but it might also be done while you are in hospital. Through the COVID period, these may be done via teleconferencing.
Assessors prefer to do the assessment in your home so they can see what the home environment is like and how well you are coping. This can help with the discussion around whether home care or residential care might be more appropriate.
If the ACAT teams are busy, you may find several weeks delay between your first contact with MyAgedCare and your assessment appointment.
Step 3 – Assessment results
After the assessment, you will receive a letter in the mail detailing the results. If approved, it will indicate approval for a Home Care Package – at Level 1, 2, 3 or 4 – and/or respite residential care and/or permanent residential care.
You can be approved for more than one care option, which may give you flexibility to adapt as circumstances change. For example, if you want home care, but find the wait is too long you can switch and start looking at residential care, if approval for residential care was also given. If not, a new assessment would be required.
Ask us for help
Government support to help cover costs is good news, but be aware that subsidised services may not be enough to cover all your needs, or may not be available where and when you want.
Helping older people and families to understand the options available and strategies for funding your costs, while protecting your estate values, is a large part of what we do. Whatever stage of retirement you are in, whether planning ahead for your frailty years or approaching that time, we have the expertise and experience to help you. Or you might be the child of an older parent who is approaching frailty.
Getting financial advice early and good decision-making are the keys to getting the care you need at a price you can afford. If you find yourself (or your parents) in this situation, call us on 02 6583 2211.