Aged care means tests

Financial hardship assistance if you're in residential aged care

You may be able to get help from us if you’re having trouble paying your fees for residential aged care.

How it works

If we agree you’re in hardship we can:

  • ask the aged care service to reduce or suspend your fees for a short time, or
  • pay some or all of your fees for a short time

Who can apply

You can apply if:

  • you didn’t start care in an extra service place before 1 July 2014
  • you haven’t gifted more than:
    • $10,000 in the last 12 months
    • $30,000 in the last 5 years
  • the assets you can sell or borrow against are worth $34,643.70 from March 2017 or less, and
  • you’ve had a means test assessment for aged care from:
    • us if you receive an income support payment
    • us if you don’t receive any income support payment
    • the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) if you receive a DVA payment

Who can’t apply

You can’t apply if you have:

  • not completed and submitted an income and assets assessment form
  • gifted more than $10,000 in the last 12 months or more than $30,000 in the last 5 years   
  • assets, unless you are unable to sell them or it is unreasonable for you to sell them, valued at more than $34,643.70 from March 2017

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.

You can’t apply unless you’ve had a means test.

1. Fill in the form

Fill in the Financial hardship assistance for Residential Aged Care form.

It asks for details of your assets and income.

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’re a self-funded retiree
  • you don’t get a means tested income support payment

If you don’t send the documents we need 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 can help for up to 12 months.

How long you can get help for depends on how bad your money problems are. We decide this when you apply.

If you still need help you can apply again. It’s best if you do this before the current financial assistance ends. If not you’ll have to pay your fees while we’re checking your application.

How to find out more

Read about financial hardship assistance on the My Aged Care website.

This information was printed Saturday 25 May 2019 from It may not include all of the relevant information on this topic. Please consider any relevant site notices at when using this material.

Page last updated: 6 December 2018