Aged care means test: what is it and how can it affect you?

Every Home Care Package is different and is designed to suit your individual needs and preferences. If you’re about to start the journey of applying for a Home Care Package, you should take the time to learn about an aged care means test.

Before you can begin receiving a home care package, you’ll need to complete an aged care means test that will determine your personal contribution to your package.

What is an aged care means test?
An aged care means test (also known as an income and assets test) is a formal assessment completed by the Department of Human Services (DHS) which determines whether you will need to pay an income-tested care fee.

What is an income-tested care fee?
An income-tested care fee is one of the four fees you may be asked to contribute towards your home care package. The income-tested fee differs for each person as it is completely based off of your individual income.

The income-tested care fee comes with annual and lifetime caps which ensure you do not exceed fee amounts in a year. Once you reach the annual cap, you will not be asked to pay fees until the next financial year. The current lifetime cap is around $65,000.

How does the test work?
An aged care means test will take into account your earnings including deemed income from assets and any gifted money or assets you’ve received over the past five years. With this information, the DHS can decide how much your income-tested care fee will cost.

The test is necessary for all people applying for a home care package, however, if you’re currently receiving a pension that is means tested, you won’t need to complete an aged care means test.

Who needs to apply for the test?
You will need to apply for an aged care means test if you are either:

  • a self-funded retiree,
  • receiving a Department of Veterans’ Affairs Disability Pension or War Widow’s Pension, and not receiving Income Support Supplement,
  • or receiving a non-income tested government payment such as an Age Pension, a Disability Support Pension, Carer Allowance or Mobility Allowance.

How do you apply for the test?
Once you have received the results from your ACAT assessment, your next step is to reach out to home care providers, find services that will suit you and determine the costs of receiving a home care package.

You can apply for a formal income assessment through the Department of Human Services or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA). The results of your means test may take up to six weeks to become available. My Aged Care recommends that ageing individuals apply for an assessment before they start receiving care.

You can download and print the Aged Care Fees Income Assessment here.

Are you waiting to be allocated a home care package? While you wait, you can pay privately for cost-effective in-home support via Mable. Once you have your package, you can double your hours of support and continue connecting with independent support workers in your local area.