Recently, Happy Living has received many calls from seniors, hoping that we can help them obtain a Home Care Package (HCP) subsidy. And we found that many of them have made mistakes during the HCP assessment, which lead to not being eligible for a HCP.
In this article, we will introduce the key points about a HCP assessment to you. This includes:
- Who will conduct a HCP assessment?
- Family member’s support.
- What questions will the assessment team ask.
- Avoiding common mistakes.
First of all, you should check your eligibility:
- Over 65 years of age.
- Long-term residence in Australia.
- Needs additional services to remain at home.
In addition to meeting all the above conditions, you will also need to go through a comprehensive HCP assessment by the assessment team to be eligible for the subsidy. Total amout is up to $52,000 AUD per year.
HCP assessments by ACAT:
Home Care Package assessments are done by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT), or ACAS in Victoria. An ACAT professional visits you in your home to find out about your needs. They assess whether you are eligible for a Home Care Package (or other assistance) and what level of help you may require.
An assessment team have a comprehensive understanding of your physical condition, home environment, and family support, to decide what kind of subsidies or levels of HCP you will be granted.
For more information, you can visit: https://www.health.gov.au/our-work/aged-care-assessment-programs.
Following are the process to apply for HCP subsidy, and we will offer you some tips as well to help you accelerate your application process.
Arranging a HCP assessment:
To arrange an HCP assessment by ACAT, call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422. You can ask for an interpreter if you need one. We recommend you:
- Have relevant supporting documents ready, including your Medicare card, other healthcare cards, your pension card, etc.
- Have a complete Health Record, including your detailed diagnosis of medical conditions and records of hospitalisations.
- Have friends and family to support you at your assessment.
- Have your GP or other healthcare specialist contact details.
- Ask for an interpreter if you need one.
Tip: Get your family member’s support.
The HCP assessment is a face-to-face communication.
For seniors with limited English language skills or communication issues, we recommend to have your trusted relatives or friends to support you when an assessor comes to your place.
Whether it is face-to-face or online, the assessment process takes about 1 hour to 1.5 hours, and it is recommended to have someone beside you to assist.
During the HCP assessment:
The ACAT member (usually a nurse, social worker or other health care professional) will ask questions about：
- Your cultural background, community background and level of communication skills.
- What services do you need to help you achieve your care goals?
- ADLs (activities of daily living), Cognition (cognitive abilities), and medical history. The most important parts are your mobility, your memory, and the level of care you need.
- Family situation, and the role of your children or spouse in your care.
- Complexity questions, including whether there is a safe residence environment; whether you have any bad habits (such as smoking); whether there is discrimination from the outside world or whether there is domestic violence and other complex social problems.
Tips: We recommend writing your questions on paper before meeting the ACAT team.
After the HCP assessment is completed:
Generally, the ACAT team will tell you directly whether you are getting a CHSP or HCP, and will tell you what level of HCP you are getting.
If it is a CHSP, the assessor will immediately provide information about the service provider, and the elder can start using their CHSP service soon.
However, in some cases, you need to wait about 3 to 8 weeks for the results, and you will receive a letter from the government telling you the outcome and explaining what level of Home Care Package you are eligible for. If the government thinks your care needs are low, it will put you on the CHSP first.
If you disagree with your assessment, you can appeal the decision. Alternatively, you can discuss your concerns with an advocate by calling the National Aged Care Advocacy Line on 1800 700 600.
Frequently Asked Questions
- I have submitted the application, after a long time, no one contacted me.
- 8 weeks have passed since the assessment, and I have not received a letter from My Aged Care.
- I obviously have health issues, but the approved HCP level is very low.
- I have been approved for a level 3 HCP, but I missed the 56 days to start my package and the subsidy is now gone.
As My Aged Care receives thousands of applications every year. We must be rigorous and careful with each step, to avoid missing your HCP subsidy. We have summarised some common mistakes, and we hope that you can avoid these:
Mistake 1: Did not update your address, resulting in failure to receive letters on time.
Mistake 2: Did not answer calls from My Aged Care, as it shows“unknown number”.
Mistake 3: Did not call back My Aged Care to confirm your identity.
Mistake 4: The letter from the My Aged Care was mistakenly discarded as junk mail.
Mistake 5: In the assessment, concealing your real situation. This kind of situation is very common. Many elders want to show their healthy and strong side in the assessment and tell the assessor that they can do many things (in fact, they do need support). As a result, the approved HCP level is lower than the actual demand, or HCP is not approved.
Mistake 6: When you receive the third letter from My Aged Care, Congratulations! This means you can sign up with a provider and start your Home Care Package. But there is a time limit, if you don’t start the package within 56 days, you will lose your funding. You can ask for an extension of 28 days to complete your choice, however after the 56 days + 28 days (that is 84 days in total) if you have not made your choice, your application will be withdrawn, and you will lose your funding.
If you are eligible for a HCP application, or have already submitted the application, and have any questions during the process, you are welcome to contact Happy Living. Our customer service number is 1300 911 728 (Mandarin, Cantonese, English). We are just a phone call away!
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