Recently, Happy Living has received many calls from seniors, hoping that we can help them obtain a Home Care Package (HCP) subsidy, because many seniors have made mistakes during the assessment, which lead to not being eligible for a HCP.
In this article we introduce you to the important things about a My Aged Care assessment. This includes:
- Why do you need an assessment for a HCP?
- Family member’s support.
- What questions will the assessment team ask.
- Avoiding common mistakes.
Checking 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 assessment by the assessment team to be eligible for a HCP, which is up to $52,000 AUD per year.
There is a process to apply for this subsidy, and we will offer you some tips in this article. Should should help avoid a longer and complicated application period.
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.
Arranging an assessment:
To arrange an ACAT assessment, 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 more detailed diagnosis of medical conditions and records of hospitalisations.
- Have friends and family there to support you at your assessment.
- Have your GP or other healthcare specialist contact details.
- Ask for an interpreter if you need one.
Family member’s support:
The traditional assessment is face-to-face communication, but during the pandemic, the assessment can be conducted online.
For seniors with limited English language skills and a shy personality, we recommend to have your trusted relatives or friends there to support you.
Whether it is face-to-face or online, the assessment process takes about 1 hour to 1.5 hours, and it is necessary to have someone beside you to assist.
During the assessment:
The ACAT member (usually a nurse, social worker or other health care professional) will ask questions about：
- Your cultural background, community background, level of communication skills.
- What services are available 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. For example, memory questions: At the beginning of the assessment, the assessor will say “Smith gave me three apples”. After 10 minutes, the assessor will ask , do you remember what items Smith gave me? Number of items? This type of question is used to judge the memory of the elderly.
- Family situation, and the role of your children or spouse in your care.
- Complexity, including whether there is a safe residence environment, whether there are bad habits (such as smoking), whether there is discrimination from the outside world, whether there is domestic violence and other complex social problems.
We recommend writing your questions on paper before meeting the ACAT team.
After the 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 common mistakes, and we hope that you can avoid these:
Mistake 1: Did not update their 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: The elder did not call back My Aged Care to confirm their 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 a 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 if you have not made your choice, your application will be withdrawn, and you will have still lost 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 have many years of industry experience and look forward to helping you!