Australia is a country with a lot of support programs and options, including the welfare programs for the elderly. Welfares for people who are elderly or have a disability are abundant. This creates a complex and comprehensive welfare system with inevitable repetitions, such as:
- Benefit Category A: can support you.
- Benefit Category B: can also provide support.
However, if we enjoy a benefit, then the same item cannot be reimbursed with a second benefit.
While, Double dipping is getting compensation from two divisions of the same item. This act is not recognised by the Australian government.
Here’s a case study to better understand when double dipping happened.
Grandma Zhang was unwell. After being diagnosed by the doctor, she was issued a prescription. Grandma Zhang bought the medicine for $5. After that, she went to Centrelink and asked if the $5 medicine could be reimbursed.
The answer was no. This medicine has been purchased through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the price of the medicine has been subsidised. For example, from $100 to $5. Therefore, Grandma Zhang cannot reimburse the $5 gap fee through other welfare programs. If she did receive a reimbursement frin Centrelink, then Double Dipping happended.
This example will help you understand the concept of double dipping. if you have received a subsidy from the government’s welfare once, then you cannot receive a further subsidy for the same item again.
Overlapping items between Home Care Package and other welfare programs:
- HCP and Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS).
Home Care Package (HCP) and Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS) are both for seniors who are qualified for a Home Care Package and have continence issues. CAPS directly pay $635.10 per year. This subsidy program can be used to purchase continence products, such as Pads and pants, sheath drainage for men, bed pads, bed sheets, chair pads, catheters and more.
Many HCP recipients have certain nursing needs for incontinence management. Therefore, an ACAT assessor may automatically help the elderly to apply for an additional CAPS subsidy. This will allow the elderly to use the additional funding to manage personal hygiene while waiting for their HCP to be issued.
Therefore, after you are officially approved for a HCP, the elderly need to choose one of the two to avoid the problem of double dipping.
- HCP and Transport Support Scheme (Transport).
When seniors cannot travel independently, the Australian government and the state governments will provide transportation support. Different states have similar transportation support plans or concessions.
Let’s take Victoria as an example. In Victoria, a transport support program called the Multi-Purpose Taxi Program (MPTP) is offered to people with a disability and seniors who meet the age and application requirements. MPTP members can enjoy half-price discounts on standard fares, of up to $60 per trip.
While in Sydney, the New South Wales state government has a similar program called Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme (TTSS).
As a HCP recipient, if the senior takes a taxi to see a doctor, or take public transportation to participate in community activities, such costs can be reimbursed through a HCP. In Happy Living, if the elderly has transportation and social needs, we will provide a taxi card called fast card to pay for the elderly to travel by taxi.
In many cases, seniors may use the taxi scheme MPTP before receiving the HCP. For example, when a senior went to see a doctor, and spent $40 for a taxi using MPTP to reimburse $20, then paid the remaining $20 out of pocket. After receiving HCP, he/she has to choose to give up the MPTP plan and directly use HCP to pay for the $40 of transportation expenses to avoid double dipping.
- Social Support Group.
Community support groups, such as day care centres are generally operated by providers of the CHSP. Therefore, in many cases, after the elderly are assessed, the assessor will recommend the services of a day centre or support group.
Many support groups have already been subsidised by the Australian Government, so most seniors only need to pay the gap fee of $9-$12 to participate in the activity. However, when a HCP for a senior is approved, it cannot be used to pay the same activity fee of $9 – $12. This is also to avoid double dipping.
The elderly can still participate in a day centre, however they will have to use their HCP to pay.
- Assistive Equipment Program (AEP) or State-wide Equipment Program (SWEP).
In Victoria, this program is called State-wide Equipment Program (SWEP), and the Assistive Equipment Program (AEP) in New South Wales. The two programs are very similar in that they provide support for equipment used by individuals with long-term disabilities or frail elderly people. This gives them access to equipment such as bathing/toilet equipment, patient transfer equipment, walking and standing aids, wheelchairs and more.
A HCP will also provide walking equipment and support for home environment improvements.
In the same way, both a HCP and Equipment Program cannot be reimbursed concurrently, meaning you can only use one or the other. Otherwise, double dipping occurs and that’s not we want to have.
Why are there so many types of welfare programs?
Reason 1: More benefits cover more groups.
The Australian Welfare Fund wants to help everyone who needs it. From newborn babies to the elderly. From office workers to those who lost their jobs due to the epidemic. Therefore, the types of welfare benefits are comprehensive. And hence, double dipping is very likely to occur if you are not aware of it.
Reason 2: Fair distribution of social resources.
For the concepts that we have repeatedly emphasised today, government benefits can only be enjoyed once and cannot be used in conjunction with other programs. Since we have already enjoyed the benefits once, we should leave the next opportunity to others, so that more people can enjoy the benefits fairly. This is why we need to avoid douple dipping.
Reason 3: More options.
A variety of welfare payments are available, allowing users to have more choices.
For example, a senior holds a Level 2 HCP. Recently, incontinence also became a problem.
If there are continence products available in his/her care plan, this client can choose to use HCP to pay for diapers, toilet chairs, urination tubes and more.
But if his/her HCP is not enough, he/she can also consider applying for CAPS to receive additional support.
A variety of welfare funds give the elderly flexible choices where each individual can be cared for.
You are welcome to contact Happy Living if you have any questions or need more support. We are here to help you to avoid double dipping. Give us a call at 1300 911 728 (Mandarin, Cantonese, English).
You are welcome to explore more about our services at here: https://happyliving.com.au/home-care-services-2/.