Under a Home Care Package, each package holder has an individual budget which they have to manage so that what they spend can be met by what they receive as income. If you are a package holder, from February, 2017 you will be able to nominate an agency to hold your funds on your behalf and the funds are then held by them. Funds are not deposited into your bank account. You can change agencies if you are not satisfied with the way they are helping you. Balancing a budget will not be a new experience for most people. As always, there are two components to a budget.
How much government subsidy you receive will depend on your assessed level of need and the package you receive. You will be required to complete a form which details your income, expenses and assets. This information is taken into account when the subsidy level is determined and if you are able to pay a higher contribution to the cost of services the government subsidy will be reduced. The Government determines the subsidy level for each level of package. At September, 2016 the daily subsidy rates for people assessed as being on the basic aged care pension without additional income which would impact on the subsidy rate were as follows:
Home Care Package Level Subsidy Rate
Level 1 $22.04
Level 2 $40.09
Level 3 $88.14
Level 4 $133.99
There are additional supplements which you may be able to claim which would increase these amounts, for example a diagnosis of Dementia.
You will also be required to contribute to the cost of services by paying a client fee. This is determined by the Government and is 17.5% of the pension. At September, 2016 this was the equivalent of $9.90 per day, although many agencies charge a fee for each occasion of service rather than a daily rate which is similar to the way fees are charged through the Home and Community Care (HACC) Program. You will need to complete an Income and Assets form and submit this to Centrelink, depending on the assets you have you may be required to pay an additional fee on top of the $9.90 daily rate.
Services you purchase
You determine what goods or services you want to purchase and then the cost of those goods or services are payed for out of your Government allocated funds. Different agencies may charge different rates for the services they provide, and you are not restricted to purchasing services from any one provider. There are restrictions on what you may purchase from your package.
In all likelihood, agencies will charge an administration fee for holding your funds as well as a case management fee if you want them to help you to manage your services and your budget. Again, different agencies may have different fees for these services. An amount may be held as a “Contingency” which is taken from the money you receive each month and kept in reserve in case you need something additional later. This is not a fee as such but is a way of saving up for a rainy day. The money belongs to you.
Balancing a Home Care budget is no different to every other type of budgeting that people do each day and in the end you will decide if the services you receive represents value for money.