Most Australians want to be in charge of decisions about how they live their lives, all their lives, even if they have to deal with health and mobility challenges.
If you need a little extra support in your daily life, you can access aged care support services. With these support services, you can live independently, wherever and however you want to.
My Aged Care is the starting point for accessing Australian Government-funded aged care services.
Who is eligible for My Aged Care?
Generally speaking, My Aged Care is available for people over 65 years of age (or Indigenous Australians aged 50+) who need extra support to continue living well.
You might be eligible if you meet certain criteria, including
- Having experienced a recent fall, reduced mobility or changes in your memory capacity
- Being diagnosed with a medical condition
- Having changes in your existing care arrangements.
Depending on your eligibility, the government might fund your needs partially or entirely.
What are the steps involved in applying for and commencing My Aged Care?
There are four basic steps involved in your journey to receiving My Aged Care benefits.
STEP 1: Explore what kind of care is available
Aged care support and services fall into three categories:
- Care in your own home – this aims to help you stay independent at home as you age. It includes services such as transport, personal and health care, housework, social support and modifications to your home. Help at home can be accessed through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) or a Home Care Package (HCP). Find out more about Home Care Packages
- Care in an residential aged care facility – if you’re unable to manage in your own home, and need ongoing help with everyday tasks or health care. Learn more about the differences between home care and residential aged care.
- Short-term care (in your home or elsewhere) – if you need more intensive care following a hospital stay, or your loved ones need a short break from caring for you, short-term care could include support for a few hours, days or up to 12 weeks.
All of these types of care are acceptable as reasons to apply for My Aged Care.
STEP 2: Get assessed for your aged care needs
To access My Aged Care funding, you’ll need to complete an assessment.
Next, an assessor will visit your home to determine which aged care services you could benefit from.
STEP 3: Find a support provider
When your HCP is approved, you don’t receive the funds directly. A HCP provider ‘hosts’ your funding and pays invoices for services arranged through your HCP on your behalf. They may also be called a ‘Home Care Package fund manager’.
You can start looking for a HCP provider any time you like, even before you are approved for a HCP. That way, you have plenty of time to learn about how they operate and compare the costs. When your package is approved, you’ll be ready to sign up and begin receiving support.
You have the option to:
- Ask your assessor to refer you to a provider
- Use the Find a provider tool to search for local providers yourself
- Call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 for guidance.
STEP 4: Manage your services
To have more control over how you spend your funding and choosing the people who support you, what they do and when, you can self-manage your HCP through Mable.
If you want to explore self-managing your HCP, look for a provider that offers you genuine self-management. Explore the options available, compare the costs involved, and have some conversations with the providers. You might want to involve family members or friends as you decide which one works best for you. As soon as your existing provider says you can self-manage, you can start connecting with support workers through Mable or call 1300 736 573.
Self-managing your Home Care Package means paying lower administration fees, resulting in more of your funding available to spend on you. Self-management also gives you total control over how your home care funding is spent, meaning you have the final say, rather than a provider or agency.
Who runs My Aged Care?
My Aged Care is a federal government initiative. The Australian Department of Health administers various aspects of the scheme.
How can I contact My Aged Care?
You can call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422. It’s a free call and you’ll reach someone Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm and on Saturday from 10am to 2pm. For translating and interpreting services, call 131 450 and ask for 1800 200 422. If you have a hearing or speech impairment, you can reach My Aged Care via the National Relay Service on 1800 555 660.
Will my Home Care Package affect my pension?
No, HCP funding doesn’t affect the pension because it doesn’t count as income.
Will I have to pay anything towards my home care services?
It is important to understand the costs of your HCP before you choose your home care provider, so that you can make the right decision regarding your support and care management needs.
When you receive a HCP, you have a budget to pay for the support services you need. The budget depends on the level of care you need, which is determined by your HCP level.
Your home care package budget includes:
- The Australian government’s contribution – This can include supplements for specific care needs for eligible recipients
- Basic daily fees – Everyone who receives a package has to pay these
- Income-tested care fees – People who earn income over a certain amount are required to pay income-tested care fees
- Sums for additional care and services – These are payable by the individual if they require additional services that the package funding would not otherwise cover.
For comprehensive information about what contributions you will make, visit the My Aged Care website.
Can I use funding from My Aged Care for social and domestic tasks?
Yes, you can. When it comes to accessing home care services with your package funds, understanding what supports these can be spent on is important.
My Aged Care provides a good overview of services:
- Personal care (such as bathing, maintaining personal hygiene)
- Nursing care
- Therapies to maintain movement and mobility
- Meal preparation
- Chores around the house such as cleaning, laundry, etc.
- Support with social activities to help the person stay engaged with their community
- Transport support
- Home or garden maintenance
- Support managing particular conditions to help the person live independently at home.
The full list of home care services is provided in the Quality of Care Principles 2014 on the Federal Register of Legislation website, Schedule 3 – Care and services for home care services.
Can I pay out of pocket for support if my Home Care Package isn’t enough?
You certainly can. If you’d like to book more hours of support than your funding covers, you can pay privately for them.
Can I start using aged care services if I’m not approved for a Home Care Package yet?
While you wait for your HCP to be approved, you may be eligible for entry-level support services to live independently and safely at home, through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP). Alternatively, you can connect with Independent Support Workers through Mable and pay privately until you receive your allocated HCP funding.
What if my spouse also needs aged care services?
If you are a couple who lives at the same address, you can still access aged care services for each of you. You will each need to be assessed independently and wait for your packages to come through. Everything is evaluated on an individual basis.
Explore your My Aged Care eligibility as soon as possible
As an older Australian, you may very well be entitled to My Aged Care funding to go towards support services that help keep you healthy, independent and connected to your community. Keep in mind there could be long wait times between your assessment, approval and commencement. Apply for an assessment online here.
In the meantime, if you are looking for aged care, you can directly engage with a variety of independent support workers on Mable.
The community of support workers on Mable provides a variety of support services . They are thoroughly checked and are only able to provide support once they are approved under the strict processes. You can find out more about the approval process.
Privately paying for your support means you can access the independence that some service providers may not offer. If you’re looking for an alternative support option while you wait for a HCP or are considering a different support system, Mable can help you maintain that independence.