Commonwealth Home Support Program vs. Home Care Packages

What is the difference between Home Care Packages and the Commonwealth Home Support Program? Read this article to find out and make an informed decision.

Haisey Home Care
April 9, 2024
x min read

The types of services available through the Commonwealth Home Support Program and Home Care Packages are similar.

Their aim is the same - to enable elderly people to live a comfortable and independent life at home. 

But these two programs differ in many aspects. This includes eligibility requirements, the level of care provided, funding and costs, and the assessment process. 

The Commonwealth Home Support Program is an entry-level support program for low-level needs. Home Care Packages are more appropriate for elderly people with complex care needs.

This article will give you a comprehensive rundown of both programs, their eligibility criteria, and what they include.

After reading this article, you will be able to determine which aged care program is better suited for your needs. 

What Is the Commonwealth Home Support Program?

The Commonwealth Home Support Program is designed to provide basic care services for older Australians. The CHSP is funded by the Australian Government. 

It offers entry-level services to help those with basic care needs. It allows those individuals to remain in their homes for as long as possible. The CHSP thus delays or avoids the need for more intensive forms of care, such as residential aged care.

The services provided depend on your specific needs and challenges. Most participants only need one or two services to help them stay independent at home.

CHSP services may include:

  • Help with household tasks
  • Transport to and from appointments
  • Meal preparation
  • Personal and hygiene care
  • Home modifications
  • Nursing 
  • Allied Health Services
  • Planned respite care

If you're having trouble with day-to-day tasks and feel that some support could improve your health and well-being, the Commonwealth Home Support Program could be the best option for you.

What Are Home Care Packages?

The Australian Government also funds the Home Care Package program. 

HCP are designed to support older people with more complex care needs than those the CHSP can accommodate.

There are four levels of Home Care packages, according to the level of support needed: 

  1. Level 1 for basic care needs 
  2. Level 2 for low-care needs 
  3. Level 3 for intermediate care needs 
  4. Level 4 for high-care needs

The Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) determines which level is appropriate based on a face-to-face assessment.

Home Care Packages can be used for a wide variety of supports, including (but not limited to):

  • Home modifications
  • Nursing
  • Respite care
  • Meal preparation
  • Help with household tasks
  • Personal care
  • Grocery shopping
  • Occupational therapy
  • Companionship care
  • Allied Health Services

Commonwealth Home Support Program vs. Home Care Packages - Which Program Is Better for You?

When choosing between these two government-funded programs, it's important to know the main differences. They include:

  1. Eligibility
  2. The level of care provided
  3. Funding and costs
  4. Assessment 


Your eligibility for the CHSP depends on your age and support level.

Applicants must be:

  • Aged 65 years or older (50 and over for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people).
  • Prematurely aged (50 years or older and 45 years or older for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples) and on a low income, homeless, or at risk of being homeless due to housing stress or not having secure accommodation.

Once your CHSP application has been accepted, you will need to choose a service provider. There are approximately 1,400 CHSP providers in Australia.

To be eligible for Home Care Packages, you must meet certain eligibility criteria. The criteria vary depending on your age and disability.

You can apply if:

  1. You are 65 years of age or older, even if you don't have any disabilities (50 and over for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people).
  2. You are between 16 and 64 years of age and have a physical or mental condition preventing you from performing everyday tasks.
  3. You are under 16 years of age and have a disability.

Level of Care

The Commonwealth Home Support Program provides a range of entry-level services. These can include domestic assistance, personal care, and social support. 

These are all services aimed to provide a basic level of care.

Home Care Packages offer a wider range of services compared to CHSP. These services can include palliative care, nursing, Allied Health Services, and occupational therapy. 

The level of support and services provided under a Home Care Package is determined by your care needs.

So, if you have basic or low-level care needs, you can apply for both programs. But, if you have more complex care needs, Home Care Packages are a better choice.

Funding and Costs

The Australian Government subsidy covers most of the CHSP funding. But you may be asked to contribute if you can afford to do so. 

How much you will be asked to contribute depends on your income and assets. 

Each Home Care Package level comes with a different subsidy, provided by the government. More funding goes to higher HCP levels, as they require more complex care services.

With Home Care Packages, you'll be expected to contribute to the cost of your care, too, if you can afford it. 

Your contribution consists of different types of fees. They are paid directly to your home care provider. This includes a basic daily fee and an income-tested care fee.


Eligibility for CHSP services is determined through a basic assessment process. It's usually conducted by the regional assessment service or a similar agency.

To access a Home Care Package, you must undergo a comprehensive assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). It can also be an Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS). 

This assessment determines your care needs and the level of funding required.

How to Choose?

Choosing between the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) and Home Care Packages (HCP) depends on your care needs, preferences, and financial situation

Here are some factors to consider when deciding between the two packages:

  • Your care needs
  • The level of support you need
  • Financial considerations
  • Waiting times
  • Flexibility and control 

If you've been able to care for yourself but have found certain tasks beyond your capabilities, you will likely qualify for CHSP support.

If you've recently been diagnosed with a medical condition affecting your ability to live on your own, you might qualify for a Home Care Package. 

If you have received CHSP before, but your needs are now too complex for the level of services it provides, Home Care Packages may be a better option.

How Will I Receive Services Through CHSP or HCP?

Once you've been approved for the CHSP, you'll be able to select a provider for each type of program you qualify for. 

You may only get one or two kinds of programs, but you can choose which ones you want to participate in. 

When you're ready to start scheduling appointments, you can call local providers directly and set up an appointment.

If you're eligible for a Home Care Package, you start by choosing a provider and then meeting with them to create your care plan. 

Your care plan will establish what care you need and how often you'll receive services. Your service provider will be responsible for managing the funds and arranging your care. 

Self-management options are also available for those who want more flexibility.

Can I Combine CHSP and HCP Services?

Normally they are two separate services, catering to two different levels of need. 

But there are exceptions. For example, if you have been approved for the higher-level Home Care Package, you might have a long waiting period. 

In this case, you may be able to access a lower-level package alongside CHSP in the meantime.

This combination of services is often referred to as a "blended care" approach.

This approach enables a more personalised and comprehensive approach to aged care. It's tailored to your unique circumstances and preferences.

Choosing Home Care Packages

While the CHSP might be a better option for many, Home Care Packages offer more comprehensive services for elderly people. 

With a reliable Home Care Package provider, like Haisey Home Care, you can relax at home, knowing all your care needs will be met. 

If you'd like any more information on Home Care Packages, don't hesitate to message our friendly customer care team. We'll get right back to you!