If you are an Australian resident, you may have heard of either a Home Care Package (HCP) or the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP). Both of which, provide benefits to help you or your loved ones live at home for as long as possible.
But how familiar are you with both? And what might be best for you and your current situation?
What is a Home Care Package?
So, what exactly is a Home Care Package and what does it entail?
Home Care Packages provide funding to older Australians to use for support and services they require to continue living safely and happily at home.
To be eligible for a Home Care Package, you must be 65 years or older. Or for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people, 50 years or older.
When it comes to a Home Care Package, there are four levels of support. They range from minimal to extensive care.
Each level of funding has a different subsidy amount depending on the client’s individual needs. They range from level 1, through to level 4. For more on the Home Care Package levels of funding click here: https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/help-at-home/home-care-packages
The benefits of a Home Care Package are that YOU can decide what works best for your situation and how you want to spend your funds.
What is included in a Home Care Package?
A Home Care Package (HCP) includes a range of services that are provided to clients seeking support with their care needs, lifestyle, or living arrangements.
Depending on your care requirements, you have access to a variety of services such as:
- Medication prompting.
- Meal preparation.
- Personal assistance.
- Social Outings and Support.
- Respite Care.
At Just Home Care Packages, our mission is to ensure that our clients can maximise the value of their government funding. We do this by charging a flat fee and giving our clients a dedicated Care Manager to set up their packages and offer support when they need it.
Our amazing Care Managers help our clients to understand what’s involved while also helping them create an individualised care plan that details the services and supports that will address their care needs. The services they select together with the client will be included in this plan and budget.
How much does it cost?
When applying for a Home Care Package, you may need to undergo an asset and income assessment. This will then determine whether or not you will need to pay something called the income-tested fee.
You will only need to lodge an income assessment if you:
- Are paid a part pension.
- Are paid a pension that is not means-tested.
- Are a self-funded retiree.
You don’t need to undergo an income test if you are:
- Wanting to access private home care services, not a HCP.
- Applying for the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.
- Applying for short-term care.
The cost of a Home Care Package differs on the circumstances and the individual’s needs. If you would like to see further details on price variations you may click here to view Just Home Care Package price variations.
When it comes to the HCP, the cost and structure will include:
- Government contribution (the subsidy).
- Your contribution, if you are required to pay the income-tested fee or the basic daily fee (fees and possible additional costs).
Additional costs may include a basic daily fee, an income-tested fee, and additional services.
What services can I not receive with a HCP?
Please note that the Department of Health has provided guidance on items that Home Care Packages cannot pay for which are as follows:
- Personal toiletries.
- Household furniture.
- Cleaning products.
- Purchases already subsidised by the Government.
- Household bills.
- Over-the-counter medication.
- Car expenses.
- Garden supplies.
We know it can be a struggle to know what applies to you and your situation. So if you would like to learn more, please get in touch with us on 1300 992 639 to speak to one of our care experts.
How do I pick a provider?
Every package recipient must choose a Provider to host their package and work with them to access and manage the services they need. It is up to the Home Care Package holder to decide on the provider to host their package. Once the provider is chosen, you will then work together to develop a care plan based on the budget.
Looking at Just Home Care Packages as an example, we offer a 22% combined fee for a part-managed service. To learn more about the different levels of funding, you can click here: https://justhomecarepackages.com.au/pricing/
When weighing up your options, it’s important to select the right provider for your unique preferences and situation. Each provider provides different services and may charge additional costs, therefore it is important to take your needs, budget, and location into account.
What is the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) and what exactly does it entail?
Similarly to the HCP, the Commonwealth Home Support Programme supports older people with tasks that have become more difficult to manage. However, it is often considered a step before the Home Care Package. It provides light support to independent individuals who may sometimes need help with certain aspects of their lives.
Similarly, to the Home Care Package, you can avail of a variety of services such as:
- Social Support Groups
- Personal Care
- Social Support
- Domestic Assistance
With CHSP, instead of receiving a pool of funding to spend on services, you will be allocated access to specific services based on your care needs. The Commonwealth Home Support Programme is deemed very beneficial to those who don’t require extensive care in the home but are no longer fully independent.
The CHSP provides a subprogram called Assistance with Care and Housing, which provides support to those that may be at risk of becoming homeless.
If your needs change while receiving support from the CHSP, you may be referred to the ACAT and they will assess you for an HCP.
How much does it cost?
The cost depends on an hourly rate and other factors. It is heavily subsidised by the government, making it an affordable option for many if they need only a low level of assistance.
With the CHSP, a provider will offer you a specific service at a specific rate with a specific worker who delivers this service. Unlike with a HCP, where you can be quite flexible with the types of services you receive and who delivers them. However, you are still able to receive some assistance at home with the services the ACAT team has approved you for.
Again, it may be difficult to know whether the CHSP is the route you want to go down. If you need assistance figuring out how to apply, you can call the Just Home Care Packages team on 1300 992 839.
How long does it take to receive a HCP or CHSP?
With a Home Care Package, depending on the level of package you are approved for, the wait time will vary.
When you’re approved, you will be placed in the Government’s national queue until your package is ready.
Remember, when you receive a letter confirming that you have been allocated a package, you have 56 days to choose a provider. It is important to do your research in advance as your provider may have a waitlist for accessing HCP or CHSP services.
When your assessor approves you for a CHSP, you will be provided with a referral code. You will then be able to contact providers and organise the services you have been allocated.
What is the difference between the two?
Now, that we know what they both are, what exactly is the difference between them?
The main differences come down to the level of service you require. If you are someone who is looking for:
- A service that can cater up to 24 hours a day if needed.
- A more tailored structure to your specific needs.
- A service that puts YOU in the driver’s seat and allows you to have control.
A Home Care Package may be the best option for you.
If you are fully independent, over the age of 65 or 50 years old (Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island person) living at home who is looking for:
- Light support.
- Short-term help.
- Access to specific services such as Domestic Assistance.
Then, the Commonwealth Home Support Program may be suited for you.
There are many similarities between the Home Care Package and the Commonwealth Home Support Programme. With their services, you can carry out daily tasks with the additional support you need, while remaining in the comfort of your own home.
How to Apply.
The first thing to take note of is your eligibility. As mentioned above, if you wish to apply for the HCP or the CHSP you must be of the eligible age.
Applications start online or over the phone through My Aged Care. After your conversation, a follow-up assessment will take place, such as the following:
- For those with low-level needs, the Regional Assessment Service (RAS) will conduct a face-to-face assessment in their homes (CHSP).
- When you have higher, more complex needs (HSP and CHSP), the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) will assess you in your home.
Overall, age shouldn’t hold you back from doing things you love. Rest assured, when seeking aid through a Home Care Package or the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, your care needs can be supported.