Image of elderly couple looking at a laptop computer inside their home.

Home Care Packages enable elderly people to remain at home for longer while still receiving the necessary care services. However, they can be difficult to understand and navigate.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people wish to remain at home with their families and communities in their later years. The Government subsidised services that are available through the home care packages make it possible for elderly people to receive affordable essential services without going into an aged care home. This means that they can remain living independently for longer, aligning with the desire to stay with their families and communities in later life.

The four home care package levels

Level 1 - $8,750 each year*

The first home care package level is for people with basic care needs, such as help with cleaning the house, preparing meals, transport and shopping assistance.

Level 2 - $15,250 each year*

The second home care package level is for people with low care needs, similar to that of level 1 but for those who require assistance more frequently.

Also, funding for basic equipment/aids that are required for services may also be a part of this package level.

Level 3 - $33,500 each year*

The third home care package level is for people with intermediate care needs that may need regular support with their personal care on most days of the week. This can include funding for nursing and specific health services and a greater range of equipment/aids may also be included in this home care package level.

This home care package can also include support and services that is specific for people with dementia, which is a condition that affects many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Level 4 - $50,750 each year*

The final home care package level is for people that need a high level of care on a regular basis. This can include a greater amount of funding for nursing and health services, equipment/aids and personal care.

The services mentioned above in each level are only examples and the actual services you may receive with your home care package will reflect your individual circumstances and care needs.

Video: Aunty Shirley discusses how Natai, a support worker from a home care package service provider, helps her around the house, takes her shopping and provides assistance anywhere else she is needed. 

Who is eligible?

According to My Aged Care, a face to face assessment is required to find out if you are eligible or not for a home care package. However, the first requirement is that you must be an elderly person who needs services (assistance) at home if you are to remain living there.

Financially speaking, your situation does not hinder your eligibility for a home care package, but the amount that you may be asked to contribute will vary depending on your individual financial situation.

How to Apply

The first step in applying for a home care package is to call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422. On this phone call, they may ask you about your health, the care you are currently receiving and also your living conditions. They may then also organise a face to face assessment with you to determine what level of care you need to remain living at home.

Face to face assessments are completed in your own home, saving you the hassle of having to meet someone somewhere. If you feel anxious about having a face to face assessment, it is perfectly fine to have a family member, carer or friend there with you during the assessment.

The assessor will determine if a home care package is right for you and what level best suits your needs. If your care needs are lower than what the first home care package level covers, it may instead be determined that the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (or other care program) is sufficient for helping you remain at home.

After your assessment is complete, you should receive a letter which will tell you if you have been approved for a home care package or not, the level you are approved for and the services that you are approved for.

How much will it cost me?

Your contributions to the home care package will depend on your individual financial situation. The costs associated with a home care package are split into three groups, being the basic daily fee, the income-tested care fee and additional fees respectively.

If you believe that you are not able to afford the fees associated with a home care package, you can apply for financial hardship assistance.

Basic daily fee

The Government sets the basic daily fee for home care packages. As at 1 July 2019, the basic daily fee for each level of home care package are as follows:

Level 1: $9.44

Level 2: $9.99

Level 3: $10.27

Level 4: $10.54

This fee is calculated as a percentage of the single person fortnightly basic age pension rate. It starts at 15.68 per cent at Level 1 and incrementally increases to reach 17.50 per cent at Level 4. This is why the basic daily fee increases incrementally at each level.

The income-tested care fee

This is an additional contribution on top of the basic daily fee which only applies to people with higher incomes that earn over a set threshold. You may need to complete an Income Assessment Form to determine if you need to pay this extra fee or not.

If you are a full time pensioner (e.g. age pension), you will not be asked to pay this additional fee and are not required to complete an income assessment, as the Government already knows your level of income.

If you are unsure if this fee applies to you, talk to My Aged Care about your financial situation when you call them to apply for a home care package and they will tell you if you need to complete an income assessment or not.

Additional fees

Aside from the basic daily fee and the income-tested care fee, you will need to contribute any other amount that you have agreed upon for any extra services/care that fall outside of what is included in your home care package.

If you only use approved services that are included in your home care package, there will be no additional fees that you need to pay.

When will I receive my home care package?

Once you are deemed eligible and have received your letter from My Aged Care, you will (generally) not receive the home care package straight away. You will be placed on a national wait list and will be contacted when you reach the top of the list. Once you have been contacted, you can then start to formally organise your home care services.

My Aged Care states the following approximate wait times before a home care package becomes available:

Level 1: 3-6 months

Levels 2 to 4: More than 12 months

The amount of time it takes for you to receive your home care package will depend on the number of people that are on the national wait list and your priority level.

Summary of the Process 

  1. Contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to talk about your care needs and organise a face to face assessment.
  2. An assessor will meet you at your home to determine your eligibility for a home care package.
  3. Complete an income assessment (if applicable) and learn the costs involved with a home care package.
  4. If you are deemed eligible, you will be placed on a national wait list. The waiting period can range from 3 to 12+ months.
  5. Once you are at the top of the list, My Aged Care will contact you to let you know so that you can begin formally organising your home care services.

Useful resources:

Home Care Package Fee Estimator  
Find a Provider Tool

Information sourced from:

Aged Care Guide             
The Conversation       
My Aged Care                             
Aged Care - Gov
Alwyndor
Aged Care 101

*These are rounded approximate figures sourced from My Aged Care and are current as at 09/08/2019. The amount the Government contributes increases on a yearly basis.


 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people please be advised that there may be images, videos or names of people on this website that are deceased, which may cause feelings of sorrow or sadness.