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Residential aged care cost, fees and government assistance

Moving to an aged care home is a big decision. It’s a new way of living, you’ll need to think about finance when you plan for your move. Let’s take a look at the fees, costs and government assistance available to help you transition to an aged care home of your choice.

Everyone’s care requirements and financial situation are different, so what you end up paying may be different to what others are paying.

The cost of living in a residential aged care home

Each aged care home sets their own prices up to a maximum limit set by the Commonwealth Government, so costs will vary between homes. How much you will have to pay depends on the aged care home that you choose, and a means test that will look at your income and assets.

The cost is divided into three fees:

  • Basic daily fee – living expenses such as meals, cleaning, facilities management and laundry
  • Accommodation charge – the cost for your room
  • Means-tested care fee – the cost to meet your healthcare needs

Basic daily fee

When you are a resident in an aged care home, you are asked to pay a daily fee as a contribution towards the cost of care and living expenses. This includes meals, cleaning, facilities management and laundry.

The daily fee also contributes to the cost of personal care support for assistance with things like dressing and toileting, therapy, some medical services, care and medical consumables and mobility aids.

This fee is equivalent to 85% of the annual single basic Age Pension (currently $52.25 per day), and is adjusted each March and September at the same time as the Age Pension.

Depending on your income and level of care, you may be required to pay an income tested fee as part of the daily fees.

Accommodation charge

The accommodation charge for your room is based on a means assessment, and depends on the value of your assets and income when you enter care.

As a general guide:

  • if you have income below $27,840 and assets below $50,500, the Australian Government will pay your accommodation costs
  • if you have income above $70,320 or assets above $171,535.20, you will need to pay for the full cost of your accommodation, negotiated and agreed to with your chosen aged care home
  • if you need to pay for part of your accommodation, the Australian Government will pay the remaining costs.

Whether you have to pay towards your accommodation or not, everyone entering an aged care home needs to agree on a room price in writing with their aged care home.

Means-tested care fee

Depending on your financial situation, you may be required to pay the costs of your individual care needs. The cost for the care you receive will depend on a means assessment.

You can get an idea of what you may have to pay by using the My Aged Care residential care fee estimator.

There are annual and lifetime caps on means-tested care fees. These are set by the Commonwealth Government.

Optional services that incur a fee

Aged care homes may also offer additional services that incur an additional service fee. These may include things like hairdressing or access to paid TV. You only need to pay for the services that you use and it is up to you to decide what additional services you would like. Some aged care homes may also offer extra services such as special room furnishings or specialised menu options. If you opt for extra services you will need to pay an ongoing extra service fee.

Additional services and extra services are offered by some aged care homes. The fees for these services are optional and are not covered by a government subsidy. If you agree to pay these optional fees, you will need to pay this amount yourself.

Financial advice

Whatever you decide, the Commonwealth Government recommends you seek financial advice before you pay for your aged care.

The Financial Information Service (FIS) is a free service available to everyone. FIS officers can help you to understand the options available to pay for your aged care costs, so you can make an informed decision about your aged care home options.

For more information on funding your aged care home, visit myagedcare.gov.au

We are here to help you

As one of Queensland’s most experienced and trusted not-for-profit organisations, Anglicare Southern Queensland has a proven reputation for delivering an exceptional standard of service to senior members of our Queensland community and their families.

We understand there are many things to consider when it’s time to consider joining an aged care community. To learn more about the costs and fees that apply to Anglicare Southern Queensland’s residential aged care homes, or to arrange a tour of an Anglicare Southern Queensland home near you, call our team today on 1300 610 610.

*Information correct as of August 2020.

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