Aged care means tests
How we assess your income and assets to see if you can get help to pay for aged care.
You need to know
To be able to get help paying for aged care you need:
- an assessment from an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT), and
- an aged care means test from us
This is where a team of aged care experts:
- works out your needs
- advises on the best kind of aged care for you
- decides if your choice of aged care is suitable
Find your nearest ACAT team on the My Aged Care website.
This is where we check your income and assets to work out how much of your aged care fees the government can pay.
You can choose not to have a means test. But if you don’t have one you won’t be able to get help with aged care fees.
You can apply for a means test at any time. You don’t have to wait till you’ve had an ACAT test.
We review your aged care fees every 3 months. This means we:
- look at changes to your care needs or financial position
- set your fees for the next 3 months
- work out if you should get any refunds
Your new fees start each year on:
- 1 January
- 20 March
- 1 July
- 20 September
You can ask us to review your aged care fees if you have a change of circumstances. This could be a change of income or in the value of your assets.
When we’ve done the review we send letters to:
- you and your nominee to let you know if your fees will change
- your aged care provider
If the fee changes, we’ll start your new rate from the date of the review.
Most people keep getting the same amount of pension after they move into an aged care home.
You can choose someone to deal with us for you if you’re:
- in residential aged care
- getting a home care package
This person is your nominee.
What they can do
Your nominee can:
- get details from us about your care costs
- give us details of your income and assets
- get letters from us – you’ll get these letters as well unless your nominee is your power of attorney
How to appoint one
Fill in the:
- Aged Care Appointment of a Nominee form, and
- Authorising a person or organisation to enquire or act on your behalf form
If you change your mind
You can cancel or change your nominee at any time.
To cancel, just write to us and say you don’t want them to be your nominee anymore. The address is on the form.
To appoint a new one, fill in the Aged Care Appointment of a Nominee form.
Home care is where you get aged care services in your own home.
Read more about help at home on the My Aged Care website.
We assess your income to work out if you can get help with home aged care.
You may be able to get help from us if you’re having trouble paying your home care fees.
How it works
If we agree you’re in hardship we can:
- ask the aged care service to reduce or pause your fees for a short time, or
- pay some or all of your fees for a short time
You can’t apply if:
- you started a Home Care Package before 1 July 2014
- you’ve gifted more than:
- $10,000 in the last 12 months
- $30,000 in the last 5 years, or
- the assets you can sell or borrow against are worth more than $34,643.70
How to apply
You should apply as soon as you start having problems paying your fees. We can sometimes backdate help if you have special circumstances.
1. Fill in the form
2. Get written proof
With your form you need to send documents that prove:
- your aged care costs
- your other essential costs
- any assets you can’t sell or borrow against
You’ll also need to give full details of your assets if:
- you get a means tested income support payment for home care, or
- you’re a self-funded retiree and don’t get a means tested income support payment
If you don’t send these documents when you apply, we’ll ask you for more details. If you don’t send them within 28 days we’ll cancel your claim.
3. Send us your form and documents
Post them to the address on the form.
4. Wait for us to decide
When we’ve decided we’ll write to you and your care provider saying:
- if we agree to give you hardship assistance
- how long it’ll last
When it starts and ends
If we agree to give you financial assistance, it starts from the day we get your application.
Normally we agree to help for up to 12 months.
How long you can get help for depends on your situation. We decide this when you apply.
If you still need help you can apply again. It’s best if you do this before your current financial assistance ends. If not, you’ll have to pay your fees while we’re checking your application.
Find out more
Read about financial hardship assistance on the My Aged Care website.
Residential Care is where you live in an aged care home.
Read more about residential care on the My Aged Care website.
We assess your income and assets to work out if you can get help with residential aged care accommodation.
You may be able to get help from us if you’re having trouble paying your fees for residential aged care.