Aged Care

What is aged care?

Aged care is the support provided to older people in their own homes or in an aged care (nursing) home. It can include help with everyday living, health care, accommodation, and equipment such as walking frames or ramps.

As you get older, it can become harder to do things on your own. You may need help with cleaning, health problems or moving about.

Aged care can help you to:

  • stay connected to your community
  • be more independent
  • take care of your health and safety
  • meet your cultural and social needs

Knowing what to do and what your options are when you or your loved ones can no longer live independently can be confusing. Getting the right information and advice now will help you make the best choices for your future care, security and happiness. Plan ahead to give yourself and your family time to make the best decision.

Aged care financial advice is specific, complex and the following issues require consideration:

Home care

  • Outline of Home Care Package subsidies provided by the Federal Government
  • Explanation on how the basic daily fee and income-tested fees are calculated – can impact hours of care received and cashflow
  • Options to assist in payment of fees and managing cashflow
  • How to get an ACAT assessment

Residential care

  • Options to pay the accommodation payment (room cost) – Refundable Accommodation Deposits (RAD), Daily Accommodation Payments (DAP), RAD + DAP, DAP from RAD
  • How to qualify as a low-means resident and not pay an accommodation payment but instead an accommodation contribution, subsidised by the Federal Government
  • Explanation on how the basic daily fee and means-tested fees are calculated and impact on Age Pension benefits and cashflow
  • Options to pay for initial costs and ongoing fees
  • Options for the family home

You may be eligible for government-funded aged care services if you:

  • Are 65 years of age or older (50 years or older if you identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person)
  • Need help to do things you used to do

Some people may be eligible at a younger age.

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How can we help you?

Contact us at Smart Wealth Financial Solutions office or submit an inquiry online.

I am exceptionally happy with the quality of the advice and service that I continue to receive from Chris. Over the years I have been impressed with his breadth of knowledge and expertise, and his ability to deliver it in a simple to understand manner.

Tony Marshall
Long term client

How we can help...

Personalised 60 Minute Consultation

Chris Leishman, who is an accredited Aged Care Specialist Adviser will clarify the aged care rules, regulations, and fees in a personalised appointment at our office or if preferred, in a secure online meeting. At the end of this, we can let you know if we can be of service or if you are already on track. Our fee for services is fixed and agreed on prior to our engagement. We can project manage as little or as much of the process as you require.

Issue Discussion Paper

Focused discussion paper highlighting common impacts and options under current aged care legislation and funding structures. Does not include recommendations.

Professional Support

We can provide ongoing support should circumstances change after entering care; and we will work with your accountant and/or liaise with your solicitor when required to ensure everyone caring for you understands your wishes, aged care options, and agreed plan.

1. We will liaise directly with your residential care provider on your behalf, negotiating fees and providing them with the information they need to offer you a place in their facility and to prepare agreements. If you are employing a placement service to help find a residential care provider, we are happy to work closely with them as well.

2. Services Australia recalculates Means Tested Fees and Daily Accommodation Contributions every three months, so it is essential that this information is kept up to date on their records. We also understand that work and family commitments can make this difficult. Don't want to deal with Centrelink on an ongoing basis? To help with this, we also offer an optional service to remain as Services Australia/DVA nominees for the person in care. This means that, with your help, we can keep Services Australia up to date with your loved one’s assets and income and assist with any requests you receive from these government departments.

3. Acting as an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) for a parent, spouse, or family member can be an overwhelming experience. Smart Wealth Financial Solutions can provide support to allow you to make the right financial decisions for your loved one. Our service provides transparency by providing available funding options to support your decision-making.

Asset and Income Assessment Forms

We can help you complete your Centrelink Forms to ensure they’re correct, for faster and easier processing.

As part of our aged care advice process, we become Services Australia/DVA nominees for a period of six months. This includes checking that your fees have been calculated correctly by Department of Human Services (you might be surprised) and also providing quarterly updates to them regularly during this initial entry period. In addition, we will also help you to complete the forms that Services Australia require, including a new age pension application if you are not already claiming.

Full Written Statements of Advice

We will examine your financial situation and compare funding options to help you decide the payment strategy that suits you best. This will include considering:

·         The impact of selling, keeping or renting the family home on age pensions and aged care fees.

·         The affordability of care in your chosen facility.

·         The best way to pay for your aged care.

·         How your choices affect the resident’s estate. If the person entering care no longer has the capacity to update their Will, it is important to make sure that the decisions you make will still see their estate planning wishes met.

We’ll provide you with a complete customised written plan that includes expert advice and recommendations. It contains full analysis, detailed recommendations, and cash-flow projections in a compliant professionally prepared document.

What does care cost?

The Australian Government pays for some of the services provided in aged care homes by way of subsidies for each resident, paid directly to the aged care home, but you will also contribute to the cost of your care. The Federal Government spends over $13 billion a year on aged care.  This is in addition to costs incurred by care providers for building and maintaining the facilities and the fees paid by residents.

With the percentage of Australia’s population over age 85 set to triple over the next thirty years the pressure on finances is increasing and the rules for fees changed on 1 July 2014.

What are the rules for fees?

How much do you pay (in addition to the standard Daily Care Fee that everyone pays), is means tested. And there could also be Additional or Extra Services Fees if you are intending to enter a home with those options.

The Australian Government regulates the maximum costs you’ll pay, and homes are required to publish fees on the government’s website, on their own website, and in their promotional materials. The range of fees and calculation methods may appear complex but fees can be divided into four categories. The diagram provides a quick overview of the fee structure for residential aged care.

The important things to know about the current rules are:

  • There is no distinction between low care and high care so the accommodation payment rules apply to all subsidised residential care places.
  • The accommodation payment is quoted as a lump sum (called a refundable accommodation deposit – RAD) and an equivalent daily fee (called the daily accommodation payment – DAP). You can check the rates at https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/service-finder?tab=help-at-home.
  • Once you have accepted a place and signed the Resident Agreement you will have 28 days to decide which fee option to pay.
  • If you pay the lump sum RAD it is fully refundable when you leave care and repayment is guaranteed by the Federal Government provided you have paid the RAD to an approved service provider.
  • Depending on your income and assets you may be asked to pay a means-tested daily care fee. This increases how much you pay and reduces how much the government pays for your care. This fee is capped over a year and over your lifetime (both indexed).

If you moved into care before 1 July 2014, the rules are different. The previous rules continue to apply unless you move from one service provider to another (without a gap of 28 days or more) and choose to have the new rules apply.

Fees