CENTRELINK has started offering face-to-face aged care information services by employing seventy so-called Aged Care Specialist Officers. At the time of writing, fifteen had been appointed with the remainder coming online by the end of 2022.
It may seem odd for Centrelink to run Aged Care Specialist Officers, but it isn’t really. Centrelink has always carried out means testing for residential aged care and the Home Care Package program. So, Centrelink is not a babe in the woods when it comes to aged care.
However, the new Aged Care Specialist Officers can do more than just help you with the devilishly complex aged care means tests.
They can explain to you about the different types of aged care services. They can help you get an aged care assessment done, and they can connect you to local support services.
This is a very good initiative, especially since it’s face-to-face contact that’s on offer. At the same time, you wonder if seventy officers are really enough to cover the whole of Australia. Time will tell.
Right now, face-to-face contact is available at Coffs Harbour, Hurstville, Orange and Wallsend in NSW and in Woden in the ACT. Maroochydore, Nerang, and Townsville are the locations in Queensland, while Airport West, Glen Waverly, Hamilton and Shepparton are available in Victoria. The other states and territory make do with one location each: Norwood in South Australia, Darwin in the Northern Territory, Launceston in Tasmania and Fremantle in Western Australia.
If you live close enough to one of these Centrelink locations, you can book a face-to-face appointment with an Aged Care Specialist by calling 1800 227 475, which is the same number as for aged care means testing inquiries.