What Can Home Care Package Funds Be Used for?

If you’re wondering what can Home Care Package funds be used for, this article will go into detail about what types of expenses are and aren’t covered by HCP funding.

Haisey Home Care
July 11, 2023
x min read

Home Care Packages are government-funded aged care services aimed to provide ongoing support to older Australians so they can remain living comfortably at home. Instead of having to visit health practitioners, elderly individuals will be able to receive the personal assistance they need in their own home.

When you sign up for a Home Care Package, you're actually applying for Home Care Package funding, which will be directly allocated to your provider. But what can Home Care Package funds be used for?

"Can I buy a fridge with my Home Care Package?"

"Can a Home Care Package pay for medication?"

"Can I buy a TV with my Home Care Package?"

If you've been asking yourself what a Home Care Package can and can't be used for, this article is for you. We’ll also talk about the process of applying for a Home Care Package, including the associated costs and eligibility. 

Applying for Home Care Package Funds

Home Care Packages (HCP) are aged care programs intended for elderly individuals who need personal assistance with day-to-day activities so they can continue to live in the comfort of their own home.

As opposed to the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP), which is better suited for care recipients with short-term care needs, Home Care Packages are designed for older Australians who need help to remain living independently so they won’t have to move to a medical institution or a nursing home.

If you want to apply for a Home Care Package, this is what you have to do:

  1. Contact My Aged Care.
  2. Set up a formal income assessment.
  3. Get assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).
  4. Wait for someone to contact you after you've been placed on a waiting list.
  5. Browse Home Care Package providers to find one that meets all your needs.
  6. Create a care plan with your chosen provider.

The application process may seem daunting, but it will pay off once you start receiving the care you need.

If My Aged Care decides you are eligible for HCP funding, you will receive a confirmation letter that determines what Home Care Package level you've been assigned to, as well as your level of urgency, which outlines how long you'll have to wait before you start receiving the funding.

During this time, you are free to find aged care services that can provide you with the care you require, which offer services in your area.

How Does Home Care Package Funding Work?

Home Care Packages are funded by the Australian Government. Once you receive confirmation that you're eligible for a Home Care Package, you'll be assigned to a Home Care Package level.

There are four Home Care Package levels:

  1. Level 1 (basic care needs)
  2. Level 2 (low care needs)
  3. Level 3 (intermediate care needs)
  4. Level 4 (high care needs)

The first two levels are for older Australians who need personal assistance with daily activities, such as meal preparation, personal laundry services, medication management, home maintenance, personal hygiene, and similar types of personal care.

The third level is for those with more demanding care needs, for example, if you need physical assistance with getting dressed and going to the bathroom.

The fourth and final level is for care recipients who have complex care needs and require therapy services, speech therapy, respite care, and other clinical services. Level 4 can also include 24-hour care services.

The funding you'll receive will mainly depend on your HCP level, as it should reflect the level of care you require on a daily basis.

How Much Funding Will You Receive for Your Home Care Package?

Your HCP funding is allocated based on your assessed care needs and the approved care plan. The funding is divided into different categories, including personal care, nursing care, domestic assistance, therapy services, and more.

Package funding is flexible, allowing you to choose specific services and providers that best meet your needs within the allocated budget.

The funding you will receive from the government depends on the Home Care Package level you've been assigned to. Naturally, the higher level of care you need, the more funding you will receive to cover the costs of those care services.

Here's the maximum funding you can receive per year based on your Home Care Package level:

  1. Level 1 - $10,271.10 a year
  2. Level 2 - $18,063.85 a year
  3. Level 3 - $39,310.50 a year
  4. Level 4 - $59,593.55 a year

As an HCP recipient, you will receive the funds in the form of monthly payments, not a lump sum payment. The funding will be directly allocated to your chosen service provider, who will then divide the monthly payment into separate funds for the different services you require.

Keep in mind that the funding will be predetermined. Depending on your income, you may be asked to contribute to the cost of your Home Care Package yourself. For more information about HCP funding, contact My Aged Care.

What Is Included in Home Care Package Funding?

Home Care Package services are intended for those who need assistance completing everyday tasks, so they can include different types of support services.

Care services covered by HCP funds usually include the following:

  • Personal care
  • Light housekeeping and home modifications
  • Specialised nursing services
  • Meal preparation
  • Physiotherapy services
  • Respite care
  • Recovery care and wound management
  • Medication management
  • Help with transportation and mobility
  • Companionship care
  • Social outings and support
  • 24-hour care
  • Allied Health Services

The good news is that these support services are flexible and can be adjusted to the care recipient's lifestyle. The services you need may not be listed, but you and your chosen provider can create a personalised care plan that meets all your recurring needs.

You can also use your Home Care Package funds to pay for aids that assist with mobility, which includes providing shower chairs, wheelchairs, walking frames, bed rails, and crutches. The items covered by HCP funding can also include aid batteries, pressure-relieving mattresses, and aids for using eating utensils.

Keep in mind that your Home Care Package doesn't replace any other existing health programs on your Medicare Benefits Schedule. You should continue to use these through your care worker and hospitals if and when you need them.

What Isn't Included in Home Care Package Funding?

While there are many different types of services that HCP funding can cover, certain expenses don't make the list.

All the expenses you would normally pay for with your income are not included in your Home Care Package funding. This can include:

  • Groceries and food
  • Rent
  • Mortgage payments
  • Utilities or bills
  • Medication and medical care expenses
  • Club memberships
  • Entertainment activities
  • Holidays cost

So, if you were hoping to buy a fridge or a TV with your HCP funding, this, unfortunately, won't be possible.

The cost of prescription medications, medical appointments, or other medical expenses is typically not covered by HCP funding. These expenses are generally managed through the Medicare system or private health insurance.

Most of these expenses come with an exception. For instance, you can't use your Home Care Package funds to pay for entertainment activities and club memberships. But, they may cover social and community activities that can help you stay connected to your community.

Similarly, you can't use them for rent and mortgage payments, but you can use them for necessary home modifications.

It's important to note that the specific inclusions and exclusions can vary based on the individual's care needs and HCP level. When you receive your HCP, your assigned provider should discuss the services and items that are covered and any additional costs or contributions you may need to make.

Costs Associated with Receiving Home Care Package Funds

When you apply for an HCP, you're technically applying for government funding for those care services. However, that doesn't mean that the application process won't cost anything.

If you apply for Home Care Package services, there are some fees you'll have to pay, including:

  • A basic daily fee
  • An income-tested care fee
  • Additional fees

The basic daily fee is set by the Australian Government and applies to all Home Care Package recipients. According to My Aged Care, as of 20 March 2023, this fee can go up to $12.14.

Depending on your income, you may be subsidised to pay an additional fee known as the income-tested care fee. This fee is determined by the Department of Human Services and is based on an assessment of your income and financial assets.

If you choose to access additional services or purchase specific products that are not covered by your Home Care Package, you may need to pay for them separately.

It's worth noting that there are provisions in place to ensure that Home Care Packages remain accessible to individuals with different financial circumstances. The Australian Government subsidises a significant portion of the cost. There are also income-tested fee caps and exemptions available for those who need financial assistance.

Are You Eligible for Home Care Package Funding?

To receive funding, you must be deemed eligible. You are likely to be considered eligible if you are:

  1. An older Australian over the age of 65 (50 for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people)
  2. A younger person over the age of 16 with diagnosed health conditions that prevent you from completing everyday activities
  3. An individual with reduced mobility
  4. An elderly person who has recently experienced a change in family care arrangements
  5. A patient who has experienced a recent fall or has been admitted to a hospital

As you can see, Home Care Packages aren't just for elderly individuals but younger people with disabilities and special needs as well.

If you aren't eligible for a Home Care Package, you have the option to apply for the CHSP and non-government-funded care programs.

Before you apply for a Home Care Package, you can use the eligibility checker on the My Aged Care website.

Understanding HCP Funding

Home Care Packages are comprehensive care services aimed to make life easier for older Australians. The funding for these services can encompass a wide variety of medical, therapy, and occupational services. They can even include basic help with everyday activities, like laundry services, meal preparation, and personal hygiene.

Haisey Home Care is a dedicated care partner that offers services for all four HCP levels. We don't require a basic daily charge or an exit fee for our services. 

We also offer more hours of care per year compared to other providers. We ensure that our patients receive the care they need and continue to live independently and comfortably in their homes.

If you would like to know more about our care services and how we help our patients with their day-to-day lives, feel free to reach out to us. You can also book a free in-home consultation if you want to talk about your specific needs.