Home Care Packages FAQs
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To assist senior Australians with living independently in their own homes, the Australian Government has created the Home Care Packages Program. This program allows senior Australians to receive the care they need, from the services they choose, for as long as they choose to, in partnership with care providers.
The Australian Government will assess your eligibility for a Home Care Package through an ACAT assessment. If you are deemed eligible, you will be allocated a Home Care Package once one is available. You must then work in partnership with your chosen provider to choose the services that work for you with the yearly government funds you have been allocated.
You will be assigned a Home Care Package once one becomes available. After completion of your ACAT assessment, you will be placed into the National Priority System if you are deemed eligible for a Home Care Package. This priority system considers your need for care determined in your assessment, as well as the date you were approved for a Home Care Package.
For a level 1 Home Care Package, estimated wait times are 3-6 months, with higher level packages having estimated wait times of 9-12 months.* A more specific estimate of your wait time can be found through your My Aged Care Client Portal.
If you have been determined as eligible for a higher level package, you have the option to accept a lower level package as soon as one becomes available, as well as the option to access CHSP services. Acceptance or non-acceptance of a lower-level package or CHSP services will not impact your expected wait time – it simply allows you to access basic care services sooner.
See our guide on the National Priority System for more information on when you will get your home care package.
*These estimated wait times are not exact and are based off 2021 Australian Government Department of Health Data
Home care package providers receive a yearly subsidy from the government based on the Home Care Package level that you have been assigned, which is then used to budget your care plan.
|Basic care needs
|Once or twice a week
|Low care needs
|Three or four times a week
|Intermediate care needs
|Most days of the week
|High care needs
This subsidy is the same level for all providers – see Home Care Package Levels Explained for more information on the services you can receive at each level.
The exact number of care hours you receive will depend on your designated Home Care Package level and the types of services you require. The table below gives an estimate on the number of care hours you will receive for each level and your chosen package.
4 weekly hours
3 weekly hours
7 weekly hours
6 weekly hours
15 weekly hours
13 weekly hours
23 weekly hours
20 weekly hours
Your dedicated care manager will set out your specific weekly hours of care with you during your care plan meeting.
Each home care package has a different level of funding to meet different care needs. If your situation changes and you need additional services to meet your care needs, you should contact your provider. Your provider will review your care plan and review options for getting you more support, and will determine if a reassessment is required.
You can change Home Care Package provider at any time – simply call your current provider to cancel your service with them, then visit your My Aged Care Portal to reactivate your referral code and use it for your new provider. If you don’t want to speak to a provider, you can call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.
Switching providers shouldn’t have to be stressful – follow our 5 Steps to Switch Home Care Package Providers for a seamless transition.
A referral code is a unique code (starting with 1- ) that you will receive in your outcome letter if you are deemed eligible for a Home Care Package following your ACAT assessment. You can also call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 and ask for your referral code.
This code allows a provider to access the important ACAT assessment information that they will use to develop your personal care plan. Giving this referral code to a provider does not require you to sign up for their services. Without this code, a provider will not be able to assess your unique circumstances or access your Home Care Package funding on your behalf.
If you are changing providers your referral code will need to be reactivated before it can be used at your new provider. To reactivate your referral code, you must call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.
The National Priority System is the Australian Government system that allocates Home Care Packages to eligible Australians. This system considers your need for care determined in your ACAT assessment, as well as the date you were approved for a Home Care Package. This system will allocate you a Home Care Package when one becomes available. You can find an estimate of your wait time at your My Aged Care Client Portal.
If you need more information, check out our guide on the National Priority System.
According to My Aged Care, you must be ‘an older person who needs coordinated services to help them stay at home’ to be eligible for a home care package. Generally, you must be over 65 years old to be eligible (50 years or older for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people).
You can check whether you are eligible for a home care package using My Aged Care’s eligibility tool.
The Australian Government Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) will conduct a comprehensive assessment of your situation, lifestyle, and health, to identify where you need help with daily tasks, and to recommend the right services which meet your needs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, most ACAT assessments are conducted over the phone or through video.
This assessment is completed to understand whether you are suitable for short-term care options or a Home Care Package (and what level). You should receive the results of your ACAT assessment within 2-6 weeks. If you are deemed eligible for a Home Care Package, you will go into the National Priority System and will be assigned a Home Care Package when one becomes available.
If you need more help, check out our comprehensive guide on what happens during an ACAT assessment.
In most cases, you cannot access a Home Care Package and Commonwealth Home Support Programme services at the same time. This ensures that as many people as possible receive basic care services. There are a limited number of specific circumstances where you may be able to receive both CHSP services and a Home Care Package at the same time. Visit the CHSP Interaction with Home Care Packages Fact Sheet for more information.
Under specific circumstances, under 65s may be eligible for a home care package. If you are on a low income, are homeless or at risk of being homeless, and are aged 50 years or older (45 or older for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people), then you may be eligible. Call My Aged care on 1800 200 422 to discuss your specific circumstances.
Because it can often take a long time to receive a home care package, the best time to be assessed is as soon as you are eligible. Being allocated a home care package can sometimes take up to a year, so it’s best to get your foot in the door by being assessed as soon as possible. You can check if you are eligible using My Aged Care’s eligibility checker tool.
Check our guide on ACAT assessments for more information.
You will receive a referral code that you will need to give to a Home Care Package Provider before you can start receiving care services. We will use this referral code to examine the specific needs that have been identified in your ACAT assessment.
Once we receive your referral code, we will send you out a questionnaire to complete, so that we have all your details on file and can begin to plan how we will meet your care requirements.
Once this questionnaire has been completed, we will arrange with you an over the phone home care plan meeting, which fully outlines the needs that you have identified, and how they will be met through various care services, making best use of the Home Care Package budget that you have been allocated.
After this meeting, we will email you a Home Care Agreement to read and sign, which will specify the services you will receive, and the start date of your services. These services can usually start at minimum a week and a half from when you have provided your referral code.
While we are based in Brisbane, we operate entirely over the phone and through email to ensure that we can provide services Australia-wide. Once you have sent us your referral code, we will send you a questionnaire to complete. We can then organise with you an over the phone or in video care plan meeting in roughly a week’s time.
Your dedicated care manager will hold a care plan meeting with you over phone or video to identify your specific needs and create a care plan that addresses these needs within your Home Care Package budget. This care plan sets out the specific services that you will receive to meet your care needs.
An ‘approved provider’ is an organisation which has registered with the Australian Department of Health to host home care packages. They handle home care packages on behalf of customers. Consumers must go through an approved provider to access their home care package funds.
A ‘service provider’ is a company that delivers services to meet care needs, and are paid with home care package funds. These companies assist home care package holders in fulfilling their actual care needs, through services such as nursing, cleaning, gardening, and personal care.
If you choose to self-manage your Home Care Package, then you will be responsible for sourcing your own workers. If you have an email and can use a computer, then managing your own workforce is simple. Websites like Mable, Find a Carer, and Careseekers are all great marketplaces to connect you with available carers in your area. Like Family can also be used to find carers near you, with the simplicity of all carers charging a simple flat rate.
Check out our article on how to find your own home care workers if you need more help.
In a fully managed home care service, the provider handles the entirety of the package. They will schedule your services, source your workers, and handle your finances. While this is a very hands-off approach, it also means you will have to pay high fees, losing out on 35-50% of your package funds. You also have no control over your carer workforce, so have no flexibility in choosing the carers you want.
With self-managed home care, you take control of what services you receive and source your own workers, while your provider handles the finances and worker compliance for you. You can self-manage at Trilogy Care for an unbeatable flat rate of only 12% of your Home Care Package! By self-managing, you can double your care hours and make the most out of your Home Care Package.
Our detailed guide on the difference between self-managed and fully managed home care packages will help you choose the option that works best for you!
For those that want the flexibility and lower costs that come with self-management, but want some extra help with finding carers, Trilogy Care offers the Self-Management Plus package at a flat rate of only 23% per annum. This package comes with everything offered in the base package, but we will also assign you your own dedicated Care Coordinator to help you with choosing and managing carers in your area that suit you best.
For more information about our packages, visit our pricing information.
Yes, carers who care for someone under the home care package are eligible for carer’s allowance. The following criteria must be met:
- The carer and person receiving care are both Australian residents
- The carer is providing care in their home, the package holder’s home, or a hospital
- The package holders care needs score high enough on the Adult Disability Assessment Determination (ADAT)
- The package holder has had their care needs for at least 12 months
- The carer must meet an income test
- The carers income (combined with their partners) must be less than $250,000 per year
If you choose to self-manage your Home Care Package, then you will need to source your own carers. Websites like Mable, Find a Carer, and Careseekers are all great marketplaces to connect you with available carers in your area. Like Family is a great marketplace to find carers near you, with the simplicity of all carers charging a simple flat rate.
Check out our article on how to find your own home care workers if you need more help.
Your carers must not be family members, and have the qualifications and meet the requirements needed to provide aged care services in Australia.
This includes, at minimum:
- An ABN
- Up-to-date police check
- Public liability insurance
- Professional indemnity insurance
- Double vaccinated against COVID-19
- A Certificate III in Aged Care and Disability if providing personal care
At Trilogy Care, we recommend using carer marketplaces such as Mable, Find a Carer, CareSeekers, and Like Family. All available carers registered on these marketplaces meet the requirements required to provide recurring aged care services in the home. If a friend or neighbor is able to register as a carer on one of these services, then they will be able to provide care.
Some respite services can be covered through your Home Care Package, provided it is not already subsidised through other government programs. Eligibility for respite care is determined during your ACAT assessment. Using the Home Care Package budget for respite care is handled on a case by case basis, so it is best to get in contact with your Care Manager or call Trilogy Care on 1800 421 395.
The preparation and delivery component of meals can be covered by your Home Care Package. However, the raw food ingredient component of meals will not be covered, except in the case of enteral feeding.
For example, Trilogy Care calculates that 70% of the cost of Lite n’ Easy’s meal delivery service can be covered by your Home Care Package, with you having to pay for the remaining 30% for raw ingredients. Takeaway food, such as food from restaurants or food outlets is not covered under your Home Care Package
Care, services, and purchases that are already available through publicly funded programs cannot be covered through a Home Care Package. Hearing aids are already subsidised through the Australian Government Hearing Services Program, so cannot be covered through a Home Care Package.
Eligible care recipients can have their provider claim for supplements that will be added to their Home Care Package subsidy budget. Available supplements are:
All nationally registered Home Care Package Providers work under the same framework when determining if they are able to provide a specific service. The Australian Government regulates Home Care Package Providers to ensure their compliance with this framework.
While specific providers may offer certain incentives or deals, such as Trilogy Care’s 5% off allied health cover with Plena Healthcare, they will all cover the same services.
Check out our guide on what home care package funds can be used for to see how a home care package can help you!
Home care package funds can only be used to address a person’s care needs, to keep them safe, healthy, independent, and connected with their community inside their own home. Home care funds cannot be used to pay for the costs of a funeral as it does not meet these criteria.
Home care package funds can be used for minor home modifications, as long as they meet your genuine care needs. This usually involves modifications that help with limited mobility, such as grab rails or temporary ramps.
Home modifications must address your genuine care needs, and not add permanent value to the home. These modifications must not exceed what is essential for safety, and so are typically handled on a case by case basis.
For more information, see our guide on home care package inclusions and exclusions.
At Trilogy Care, we have no hidden costs, fees or surcharges. Your Home Care Package budget will be based on the level of needs you have been assigned in your ACAT assessment, with Trilogy Care charging only 12% of your Home Care Package subsidy – the lowest in the industry!
If you can afford it, you are also expected to contribute to the cost of your care through an income-tested care fee. Home Care Packages are means tested, and Trilogy Care is mandated by the Australian Government to collect this fee if it is deemed through an income assessment that you are capable of contributing to your care.
The Australian Government requires that those receiving a Home Care Package contribute to the cost of their care if they can afford it, known as an income-tested fee. Not everyone has to pay an income-tested care fee – the government will conduct an income assessment to determine how much you are required to contribute to your Home Care Package. You will receive a pre-commencement letter which advises you on the outcome of this assessment, which is valid for 120 days.
If your circumstances change before you enter a Home Care Package, you must contact Services Australia for a re-assessment. As long as a service is covered under your care plan, Trilogy Care will reimburse customers who have to pay for services at the time out of pocket. Invoices and reimbursement requests which are received before end of business Thursdays will be processed at Trilogy Care on Fridays, so you should receive your reimbursement payment the following week.
Either the person receiving the care, or the person giving the care, can send an invoice to Trilogy Care. Typically, the care giver should fill and submit a provider bill on the Trilogy Care website.
If you have paid for and received care out of your own pocket that meets the conditions in your care plan, you may fill and submit a reimbursement request on the Trilogy Care website.
As long as a service is covered under your care plan, Trilogy Care will reimburse customers who have to pay for services at the time out of pocket. Invoices and reimbursement requests received before end of business Thursdays will be processed at Trilogy Care on Fridays, so you should receive your reimbursement payment the following week.
Fill out a reimbursement form to submit a reimbursement request.
Trilogy Care operates over the phone and through email to ensure that we can provide services Australia-wide. We prefer to send any brochures, receipts, or documents over email to ensure that you get them as quickly as possible. While we can send select items over post, there will be a slight delay depending on your distance from Brisbane.
The Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) assists elderly Australians with small levels of support at their home. If you require various ongoing assistance to live independently, a Home Care Package will allow a provider to coordinate your care to meet your needs. In most cases, you cannot receive both a Home Care Package and Commonwealth Health Support Programme services at the same time.
Read our article on the difference between home care packages and the Commonwealth Home Support Programme for more information on eligibility, funding, and available services.
The Australian Government funds the Home Care Package program. Approved home care package providers receive a subsidy from the Australian Government which they use to budget home care package holder’s care plans.
Yes, Trilogy Care is available Australia-wide. We are based in Brisbane, but as you will be responsible for sourcing your own workers, we can service anywhere in Australia. Simply visit a website like Mable, Find a Carer, CareSeekers, or Like Family, enter your postcode, and see which carers and services are available in your area.