Aged Care Services
How to apply

We’re here to help.

If you’re just starting out on your aged care journey, then this section is for you.

Here we aim to answer all your questions and help guide you through the government aged care process.

If you would prefer to meet in person, get in touch to request an appointment. 

How to apply for government funding and aged care.

Before you can receive a Home Care Package, move into a Residential Aged Care community or access Respite Care, you’ll need to apply for what’s known as an ACAT assessment.

This is arranged by My Aged Care, an online and phone information service run by the Australian Government.

  • Step 1: Register with My Aged Care

    The first step to access government-funded aged care services is to call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422. The My Aged Care team will talk with you about your needs and circumstances. The call takes at least 10 minutes, so make sure you have a little time to spare.

    What happens on the call?

    You will be asked about:

    • your Medicare details (so have your card handy)
    • your health
    • how you’re managing at home
    • any support you’re currently receiving

    What happens after the call?

    If they think My Aged Care services can help, they’ll refer you for a face-to-face assessment. The assessor will contact you within three weeks to arrange a time.

    Who can support me?

    A family member, friend, or carer can be with you during the call. With your permission, they can also talk on your behalf.

  • Step 2: Prepare for your assessment

    After your call to My Aged Care, you may be referred for a face-to-face assessment to better understand your needs. Assessments are done in person, at your own home. The assessor will call you to arrange a time to visit.

    What kind of assessment will I get?

    There are two types of assessments that work out a persons’s needs and the types of care they are eligible for.

    A home support assessment with a Regional Assessment Service (RAS)

    If it sounds like you need basic support to stay independent at home, you may be referred for a home support assessment with your local Regional Assessment Service. This type of support is provided through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.

    A comprehensive assessment with an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT)

    If it sounds like you have higher care needs, a comprehensive assessment with an ACAT assessor will be recommended. The types of care an ACAT can assess you for include Home Care Packages, short-term Respite Care and Residential Aged Care.

    How should I prepare for my assessment?

    For any face-to-face assessment, you should:

    • have your Medicare card and one other form of ID proof – such as DVA card, driver’s license, healthcare card, or passport
    • have a copy of any referrals from your doctor
    • consider if you would like a support person present
    • have any information you already have about aged care services that you may want to discuss
    • have contact details for your GP or other health professionals
    • consider if you need special assistance to communicate, such as a translator, Auslan interpreter or guide dog
    • have information on any support you receive.
  • Step 3: Attend your assessment

    What will happen at the assessment?

    Before starting, your assessor will ask if you agree to have the assessment. They may also ask for your permission to talk to people who support you, such as family or your carer. The assessor will have a copy of the information you gave to My Aged Care. This gives them an idea of what support you might need to help you return to, or keep the level of independence needed to manage your day-to-day life.

    They’ll also ask about:

    • what support you already have, and if it will continue
    • your health, lifestyle and any health concerns
    • how you’re going with completing daily tasks and activities around the home
    • if you have problems with your memory
    • any issues relating to home and personal safety
    • family and community activities
    • speaking to your GP or other health professionals.

    The assessment also provides a good opportunity for you to ask the ACAT assessor about aged care services in your local area – including what services are available to support you and your carer, who provides them, and how much they cost.

    It’s a good idea to have a family member, carer or friend with you during your assessment, so they can support you and clarify things you may not understand.

  • Step 4: Receive the outcome

    My Aged Care will write to you after your ACAT assessment to let you know the outcome. What happens next will depend on the type of aged care support you need.

    Residential Aged Care

    If your assessment shows you need Residential Aged Care, you’ll receive an approval letter and support plan outlining the care you’re eligible to receive. Your support plan will include a unique referral code that you’ll need to give to your Residential Aged Care home.

    If you’re not approved for Residential Aged Care, your letter will explain why and outline what other aged care services you’re eligible to receive.

    Home Care Package

    If you’re eligible for Home Care services, your letter will outline what funding you’re approved to receive. This will depend on your Home Care package level:

    • Level 1 is for people with basic care needs, such as help around the home.
    • Level 2 is for people with low-level care needs, which can include help around the home, grocery shopping, social outings or visits, home podiatry or gardening assistance.
    • Level 3 is for people with intermediate care needs, which can include all of the above plus services such as personal care, meal preparation, and help with medication.
    • Level 4 is for people who need high-level support, such as personal or nursing care once or twice daily.

    If you’re approved, you’ll join the national queue or waitlist. It can take three to 12+ months for a Home Care package to become available. When this happens, My Aged Care will write to you with your unique referral code. You’ll then have 56 days to choose your aged care service provider and enter a Home Care Agreement.

    How can I get care sooner?

    There are a few options you can explore to get help earlier.

    Interim packages

    You may be able to get help sooner by choosing to receive an interim package. An interim package is a Home Care Package of a lower level than the one you’re approved to receive. Wait times can be shorter for lower package levels. Agreeing to an interim package means you’ll be able to access care services sooner while you wait for your approved Home Care Package to be allocated.

    Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP)

    Another option is to seek help through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme. If you need Home Care services while you’re on the waitlist, you can use the CHSP to pay for them. The CHSP is designed to give you immediate access to basic services, such as:

    • Help around the house
    • Home modifications and maintenance
    • Social support, such as visits, outings or support groups
    • Seniors gyms
    • Respite care
  • Step 5: Make a time to meet with us

    If you haven’t already, contact us to discuss your aged care needs and find out how we can help.

    If you’re interested in choosing us for some or all of your aged care services, we’ll work with you to find the right Residential Aged Care community or Home Care services for your needs.

Aged Care services to support you at every stage.

Here at UnitingSA, we offer lifestyle choices, companionship and care for every stage of your ageing journey. Explore our services below.

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