Navigating Aged Care: Home Support in Australia

Navigating Aged Care: Home Support in Australia

Navigating the aged care system in Australia can be a complex journey, especially when it comes to understanding home care packages and funding . This guide aims to demystify the process, helping you to maximise government subsidies and choose the right services for your needs.

Understanding Home Care Packages

Aged care at home is supported by the Australian Government through the Home Care Packages program. This initiative allows for a range of care and services to assist older Australians who wish to stay in their homes as they age. However, recent changes in policy and a shortage of support workers have introduced new challenges in accessing these funds.

Levels of Home Care Packages

If you are approved for a Home Care Package, you will be assessed at one of four levels, each designed to cater to varying care needs:

  • Level 1: Basic care needs
  • Level 2: Low-level care
  • Level 3: Intermediate care
  • Level 4: High-level care

A health professional from the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) will determine your level following an assessment.

Funding and Fees

The current annual funding for Home Care Packages ranges from $10,271.10i for basic care needs to $59,593.55i for high-level care. It's important to note that it can take up to six months for a package to be assigned after the initial assessment. Once assigned, you must choose a provider to design a care plan within the package guidelines.

Providers now have a cap on care and package management fees, recently set at a maximum of 35% of the package funds. Additionally, income tests determine the fees, with part pensioners and self-funded retirees paying capped annual fees, while full pensioners are exempt from income-tested fees.

Applying for a Package

Older Australians can apply for a package directly or through their GP via the government’s My Aged Care gateway. Due to high demand, you may initially receive a lower-level package or access to the Commonwealth Home Support Program for interim support.

Maximising Your Package

To ensure approval, it's adviced to communicate all daily challenges to the assessor. The initial care plan is key, outlining your care needs, goals, and preferences.

A revised manualii by the Department of Health details what the Home Care Package can cover, which is essential for maximising the benefits. Services must meet "ageing related functional decline care needs" and include:

  • Nursing, personal care, and food services for wellbeing
  • Home maintenance for safety
  • Transport and social support for community connection

Exclusions and Inclusions

Understanding what is excluded from your package is just as important as knowing what's included. For instance, gardening services have been restricted, and other exclusions like certain appliances and home modifications can affect how you plan your care.

The Workorce Challenge

With an ageing population, the shortage of support workers is a significant concern. Government initiatives are in place to address this, but having a backup plan for care continuity is advisable.


Remaining independent at home is a common preference for many. If you're looking to discuss your options and need professional advice, we're here to assist. We offer a free half-hour consultation aimed at understanding your needs and exploring how we can assist you. Feel free to get in touch; we'd love to help.

i Home Care Packages Program
ii Home Care Packages Program Inclusions and Exclusions

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.