Home Care Packages: aids and equipment may be harder to get

Article published 1 September 2021

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BACK in July, we published an article about how your Home Care Package could pay for big (capital) items, such as an electric wheelchair or a walker.

You do this by saving up from your monthly payment until there is enough to cover such a one-off expense.

A recommendation by the Aged Care Royal Commission will mean that there will be a separate program to make aids and equipment and services available to Home Care Package recipients.

The recommended start date is 1 July 2022.

However, until such time as an aids and equipment program is implemented, you will have to make do with the old way of saving up.

This has become a little bit more complicated by a change in the way your Home Care Package provider is paid.

Until recently, the provider would be paid an amount towards your Home Care Package each month at the start of the month.

This changed on 1 September 2021. Providers are now being paid at the end of the month, after they have delivered services to you. They will only be paid for the services they have provided.

This measure is aimed at reducing the vast amounts of cash providers are holding for clients who don’t fully spend their monthly allowance for three main reasons.

One is that their allowance is too big. They simply don’t spend all of it.

Another is that they are saving up for contingencies, when they will all of a sudden have to spend much more than they usually do.

Then there is the group who are saving up for aids and equipment.

The change is that your Home Care Package account previously being held by the provider is now being held by the Department.

It is reasonable that the Department is doing this because it means they make more effective use of the cash that pays for Packages. It means they can fund more Packages than previously.

However, this change also means that once your account balance has reached the point where you are able to fund a one-off purchase of an aid or piece of equipment, your provider would need to advance the money and be paid later: in arrears.

Here’s the Catch-22. Providers may not have the cash on hand to make the purchase on your behalf, but until they have made the purchase they won’t be paid by the Department.

If you currently have a Home Care Package or are in the process of choosing a Home Care Package provider, it is a good idea to ask individual providers how the purchase of capital items is handled by them.

For more information please email our media contact at media@cpsa.org.au

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