In Australia, aged care services like those from Sydney Aged Care Financial Advisers are heavily subsidised and covered by the federal government. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t have to make some financial contributions towards your nursing home costs (or for a loved one). Basically, how much you will have to pay for your aged care assistance and other services is heavily dependent on the kind of care you want and your current financial situation. So, if you are somewhat confused about your nursing home costs, read this quick, yet comprehensive guide that will easily clarify any lingering concerns you may have!
The government’s role
Firstly, the Australian Government’s Department of Human Services will assess your income and the value of assets you hold. From this, they will evaluate how much financial assistance you will need to receive adequate aged care services.
How are the expenses divided?
Your nursing home costs can be divided into four basic areas, which are as follows:
- Daily fees
- Means-tested care fees
- Accommodation payments
- Extra services payments
Basic daily fee
Your basic daily fee covers your day-to-day living expenses. This includes things like cleaning, laundry and heating, meals and other utilities. For a new resident, the maximum fee that can be applied is 85% of the Age Pension (single person rate). The maximum rate for the Age Pension for a single person is $826.20, as of March 2018.
Means-tested care fee
If it is financially feasible, you will be required to contribute towards your nursing home costs. Basically, a “means test” infers that the government will assess your income level and the value of your assets before working how much you should be contributing. Naturally, if you have an extensive asset portfolio and an enviable income stream, you can expect to be paying a higher fee for your means-tested fee.
What happens if my situation changes?
Naturally, your income levels can change after you have organised your nursing home costs with the Australian government. If this does occur, make sure you get in contact with the Department of Human Services to update your records, so changes can be made. The department will complete a new assessment of your financial situation and rework your payment – it could be higher or lower, depending on how your situation has changed.
Extra services payments
Your experiences in an aged care facility don’t have to be boring and monotonous. In fact, most facilities offer a range of additional services and choices to their residents. It could be things like social activities and entertainment options, like manicures.
It is important to note that the prices attached to these services will differ from facility to facility. Make sure you speak to the staff about specific nursing home costs before you sign up for anything.
Your accommodation payments are also means-tested in accordance with the government’s standards. Following your assessment, the Australian Government will decide whether you will be required to fulfil your accommodation payments or whether your payments will be covered by the government (financial assistance). There are three likely outcomes:
- You pay the full amount of your accommodation payments
- You pay none of your accommodation payments
- You pay a determined portion of your accommodation payments (while the government covers the rest)
How can I get an estimate of my projected nursing home costs?
To work out how much your nursing home costs will be, you have several options. You can get in touch with a firm that specialises in financial advice for those in need of aged care. Likewise, you can head to the My Aged Care website and use the residential care fee estimator to get an approximate idea on how much you will be paying.