My mother needs to be moved to a nursing home in January and we need a lump sum to pay for the bed (plus then the ongoing costs which we believe will be covered by her pension). No bank will lend her money, and she only has $40,000 left in her bank account which won’t cover the nursing home cost. What are our options? My brother and I are in a tight financial situation ourselves and dont really want to take out a loan on her behalf.
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The first thing you need to do is have an ACAT assessment during which your mother will be assessed for her eligibility to enter aged care. The ACAT assessor will talk to you about your mum’s current situation and help you work out what her options are.
Secondly you will need to find an aged care home. The best way to find a place that suits you is to visit a few different homes. Each home is different, so visiting them will help you to find out what you can expect. You’ll also be able to see what the accommodation is like, and what types of care, services and activities they offer. Use the My Aged Care Aged Care Homes Finder to look for homes in the area you would like to live and contact them to arrange a time to visit.
Now to the nub of your question. What will it cost? The Australian Government pays for the bulk of aged care in Australia. But, as with all aged care services, it is expected you will contribute to the cost of your care if you can afford to do so. You will never be denied the care you need because you can’t afford it. How much you pay depends on your financial situation. There are strong protections in place to make sure that care is affordable for everyone. The Australian Government sets the maximum fees for care and daily living expenses, and there are also rules about how much you can be asked to pay for your accommodation.
Moving into an aged care home may require one-off payments or deposits, as well as ongoing fees for your care, accommodation and daily living expenses. If residents can’t afford to pay there are hardship provisions in place to ensure that they still receive the accommodation and care needed. For more information about applying for hardship assistance visit the Department of Social Services website www.dss.gov.au .
As a basic guideline for the accommodation payment your mum must be left with at least $46,500 of assets before she can be asked to make a payment. You haven’t disclosed if your mum owns her house or other investments, this will make a difference to what she pays.
For the daily fees if your mother receives the full aged pension then her daily fees will be 85% of the aged pension.
You do not need to provide any financial information to the aged care home. However, to apply to have your fees and charges subsidised by the Australian Government you will need to fill out the Permanent Residential Aged Care - Request for a Combined Assets and Income Assessment form (SA457) and submit it to Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) (this only applies if you are receiving an income support payment through DVA). You should apply for your income or asset assessment as soon as possible. This will help ensure easier and more timely access to entering residential aged care and give you a much better understanding of what the costs will be. The assessment is valid for 120 days.
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