What Happens to Unspent Home Care Package Funds?

Unused home care funds can build up over time. Read this article to find out what happens to unspent Home Care Package funds in different scenarios.

Haisey Home Care
April 5, 2024
x min read

It's not uncommon for unspent Home Care Package funds to build up. This can happen for several reasons. 

Unspent funds can build up due to unexpected events, such as hospitalisation or changes in family circumstances. It can also happen because some care services become limited. Sometimes, the needs of the elderly person can change. 

But the question is - What happens to unspent Home Care Package funds?

If the care recipient changes providers, leaves the home care scheme, or passes away, what happens to the funds they didn't spend? Read this article to find out.

What Happens to Unspent Home Care Package Funds?

As a Home Care Package care recipient, you are allocated a specific government subsidy every month. This subsidy is based on the level of care you need, and it's spent on home care service costs and fees.

At the end of the month, the money that remains from these expenses counts as unspent funds.

Your unspent Home Care Package funds can accumulate over time. 

What happens to those amounts depends on your circumstances. To be more precise, My Aged Care considers the following:

  1. Does the care recipient want to change their Home Care Package provider?
  2. Does the care recipient want to stop using their Home Care Package?
  3. Did the care recipient pass away?

If none of the above applies, and you are just entering the new year with unspent funds, the funds may be allowed to roll over into the next financial year. 

You can discuss this with your home care provider.

Changing Home Care Package Providers

If you change your service provider, any unspent funds will be transferred to your new provider. This allows you to continue accessing care services with the remaining funds without interruption.

But, before transferring the unspent funds, your care needs might be reassessed by your new provider. This ensures that the level of funding aligns with what you currently need. 

You need to notify your old provider where you are moving. Within 56 days of ceasing service, they must provide you with a written notification of your unspent amount (minus any applicable exit fees).

Within 70 days of the cessation day, they must transfer these funds to your new provider.

Once this is done, your new Home Care Package provider can begin delivering the necessary services with the allocated funds.

Leaving the Home Care System

If you leave the home care scheme or move into private care, your Home Care Package will be closed. 

The unspent funds will be transferred back to the government.

If you had to contribute your own money to the package, the unspent percentage that you contributed will be returned to you. In the event of death, the money goes to the care recipient's estate.

These contributions may include:

  • A basic care fee
  • An income-tested care fee
  • A top-up contribution

You may also be entitled to reimbursement for any unspent funds. The amount reimbursed would depend on the policies in place. If you owe any outstanding expenses to your care provider, the unspent amount may be deducted.

In some cases, unspent funds can be transferred to a private care provider chosen by the recipient.

If there are no provisions for reimbursement, the unspent funds will probably be returned to the government.

Passing Away

If a care recipient with unspent Home Care Package funds passes away, what happens to those funds typically depends on policies and regulations. 

Here are some common scenarios:

  • Estate Reimbursement. In some cases, unspent funds may be deducted from the deceased individual's estate to cover any outstanding expenses.
  • Redistribution. Depending on the policies in place, the unspent funds may be redistributed to others on waiting lists for Home Care Packages. 
  • Return to the Government. If there are no estate reimbursement or redistribution provisions, the unspent funds may need to be returned to the government.
  • Family Consultation. Family members or legal representatives may be consulted about the unspent funds. They can provide input or make decisions about how the funds should be handled.

How Are Unspent Home Care Package Funds Incurred?

Here are some of the reasons you might have unspent Home Care Package funds:

  • Your personal situation may have improved, and you no longer use the level of services you did before.
  • You may have left the aged care system (either temporarily or permanently).
  • You may be saving some for future events or purchases.
  • You may have been moved onto an upgraded package but have not yet utilised these extra funds.
  • You started receiving more support from family and friends for daily activities, so you don't need to rely on home care services as much.
  • You decided to self-manage your Home Care Package. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an unspent fund?

Unspent funds are amounts left from your Home Care Package budget from the month (or previous months) that have not been spent on services or fees.

What can I spend my HCP budget on?

Home Care Packages are designed to fund services that: 

  1. Are directly related to your care needs
  2. Will improve your health and well-being
  3. Are necessary to enable you to continue living safely in your own home
  4. Are considered an acceptable use of government funds
  5. Are not supports that fall under the responsibility of another government agency or scheme

They include personal care and nursing care, selected household tasks (including meal preparation) and transport to appointments and community events.

They do not include services unrelated to your disability or something that you would normally pay for yourself. For example, your rent or groceries.

Can I manage my own Home Care Package?

Yes, you have the choice of a self-managed Home Care Package or a provider-managed package.

Providers charge a fee to cover all the administration of managing your package. This includes hiring suitable support workers and scheduling.

Under a self-managed package, you can save some money by doing it yourself. This is a good idea if you are good at budgeting and organisation.

How do you calculate unspent funds?

Unspent funds are your allocated monthly subsidy minus your care services and fees for that month.

They will automatically be calculated by your provider. And any unspent fees will be rolled over for your next month.

Can I leave my unspent funds to my children when I die?

Government contributions not used for your care with your Home Care Package will be returned to help pay for the care of another older person.

If you paid an income-tested care fee, a portion of the unspent funds will go back to your estate.

How do I know how much unspent funds I have?

You will receive a monthly home care statement at the beginning of each month. You can also call your care manager to find out what your unspent funds are. 

The statement includes information on unspent funds, opening balance, and closing balance from the previous month.

Understanding What Happens to Your Unspent Funds 

Haisey Home Care is an approved provider of home care services with years of experience.

If you have any more questions about your care needs or your care package, don't hesitate to contact us. One of our experts would be happy to help!