Understanding Aged Care

  • 4 mins

Whether for yourself or for a loved one, the aged care space can be overwhelming, especially when trying to understand the different types of aged care programs available.

This article aims to provide information about the different Aged Care programs: Home Care Package (HCP), Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP), and Veterans’ Home Care (VHC).

Please note: My Aged Care is your starting point for accessing government-funded aged care services. They will assess your situation, specific needs, and background to work out what services you are eligible for. You can find out more information about My Aged Care on their website here.

Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP)

Who is it for?

CHSP is for individuals who may have trouble with everyday tasks and believe a little support could improve their health and well-being. CHSP works with older Australians to maintain their independence and support them in living at home safely.

Am I eligible?

To be eligible for a CHSP assessment, you must be:

  • 65+ years old (50+ for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people), or
  • 50+ years old (45+ for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people), if you are on a low income and homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Once you have determined that you are eligible for a CHSP assessment, you can apply for one online. A trained assessor will then visit you at home to discuss your circumstances and work with you to identify what services may best suit you.

What is the cost?

Individuals will contribute a small amount if they can afford it; the government covers the rest.

Home Care Packages (HCP)

Who is it for?

HCP is for individuals with higher or more complex care needs than CHSP can support. This program has four levels of support, ranging from basic (1) to high care needs (4).

Am I eligible?

As there are different levels of support, the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) will need to complete an assessment to determine eligibility. If located in Victoria, assessments are completed by the Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS).

There may be a waiting list for HCP, but depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible to use CHSP funding while awaiting the HCP assessment outcome.

What is the cost?

An individual’s financial situation affects how much they may need to pay, but the government will subsidise some of the cost. An income assessment might be required to determine the contribution amount.

What is an Income Assessment?

An income assessment is needed if you are a self-funded retiree or have a pension that is not means-tested. An income assessment is not needed if you are applying for short-term care, applying for CHSP or want to access private home care services.

Other Programs

If you are receiving services through HCP, you may also be eligible to access other programs simultaneously – such as DVA Programs, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), CHSP, etc. To learn more, please read section 6.2 of the Home Care Package Manual for Care Recipients.

Veterans’ Home Care (VHC)

Who is it for?

VHC is for eligible veterans and their families who require assistance at home to support independent living. Possible services include domestic help, personal care, respite care, and home and garden maintenance.

However, it is important to note that it is not designed for those requiring more complex levels of care.

Am I eligible?

To be eligible for a VHC assessment, you must have a:

  • Veteran Gold Card or
  • Veteran White Card for an accepted service-related injury or condition

Carers and family members of Gold Card and White Card holders with an accepted service-related condition may be eligible for an assessment.

A VHC Assessment Agency Assessor will complete an assessment to confirm if an individual qualifies for VHC. The Assessor will discuss the situation at home and identify services the individual may need, and if eligible, will create a VHC care plan.

We understand that these programs may be confusing, so we have created an Aged Care Guide to assist those who may be feeling overwhelmed. To access the guide, please fill in the online form here.

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