Assessing Your Assets and Income
The Department of Human Services (DHS) determines your financial situation by evaluating your income and assets through the 'Combined Income and Assets Assessment form (SA457)'. This comprehensive form includes over 140 questions about you and your partner/spouse's earnings and possessions. Regardless of who legally owns the assets, if you have a partner/spouse, you are assumed to own half.
The family home is excluded from the asset assessment if:
- You have a spouse, partner, or dependent child still living in the family home at the time of the assessment or at the time you enter into care (whichever date is earlier).
- A close family member has lived in the family home for at least 5 years and is eligible for an income support payment (such as a government pension or allowance).
- A carer has lived in the family home for at least 2 years and is eligible for an income support payment (such as a government pension or allowance).
- For further details on the assessment process, please contact DHS on 1800 227 475.
Residential Aged Care Costs
1. Accommodation Charge
This fee is determined by the individual Care Communities and may vary based on the room's standard and type. The Aged Care Pricing Commissioner approves any room price over $550,000. After your combined income and assets assessment, DHS will inform you of the accommodation fees you'll be asked to pay.
Your assessment will place you in one of these categories:
- Supported: the government will pay for your accommodation.
- Partially Supported: the government will contribute to some of your accommodation costs and you will be asked to pay the balance.
- Financial or self-funded: you will be required to pay your full accommodation costs.
If you pay for your accommodation, you have three options:
- Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD): a lump sum amount that is completely refundable to you when you leave our Care Community. Those who are partially supported by the government have the option to pay a refundable accommodation contribution (RAC). The refundable amount is 100% government guaranteed.
- Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP): a rental style equivalent, which is a daily interest payment on the full room price. The maximum permissible interest rate (MPIR) is set by the government. Those who are partially supported by the government will be asked to pay a daily accommodation contribution (DAC). Since this is a monthly interest-only payment, it is not refundable in any part.
- Combination of both (RAD/DAP) or (RAC/DAC): a combination of the two types of payment above whereby you can pay a partial lump sum amount and the remainder as a daily accommodation interest payment. Only the partial lump sum payment is refundable when you leave the home.
You have 28 days from the day you move into a Care Community to decide which payment method best suits your financial situation. The rental style (DAP) must be paid until you decide on your preferred method of payment.
2. Basic Daily Care Fee
This fee, set by the Australian Government, covers daily living costs like meals, laundry, and heating, and is the same across all Residential Aged Care. It's calculated at 85% of the basic age pension's single-person rate and is indexed with the age pension (it increases when the aged pension increases) and is adjusted every March and September. Please check the My Aged Care website for current fees.
3. Means-Tested Care Fee
If required, this fee will be mentioned in your DHS determination letter after completing your income and assets assessment. It covers overall residential aged care costs like nursing and personal care, with a capped maximum amount per year and a lifetime limit.
You may find out that you are eligible to pay an MTF after you have already moved into care so to avoid any unexpected fees, we recommend that you seek independent financial advice before you move into care.
4. Additional/Extra Services Fees
Individual Care Communities set these optional fees for higher-end services and accommodation. The services enhance daily living experiences or may be attached to a specific bed as part of a government agreement.
Independent financial advice
Before committing to residential aged care, we strongly advise seeking independent financial advice. This step can help you unlock any eligible government assistance and provide an informed estimate of your likely care costs. If you need help finding an independent advisor, our team at your local Opal HealthCare Community is always ready to assist, or you can contact the Department of Human Services (DHS) for a referral.
Checklist to help you navigate fees and charges
- Do you understand the costs and resident agreements associated with moving into care?
- How does the home charge for the room you are interested in?
- Can you see a copy of the home’s latest Prudential Compliance Statement showing that they have met their obligations to repay lump sum accommodation balances?
- Are the fees reasonable and what do they cover?
- If the home has Additional Services and/or Extra Services, are these services and offerings that you value and can afford?
- Which services are considered ‘standard’ and which are considered ‘additional’?
Select a Care Community
Using your own values
5 Steps into Residential Aged Care
Commonly asked questions about aged care costs
Aged care costs are determined by the Department of Human Services (DHS) who will assess your financial situation. To do this, DHS conducts a Combined Income and Assets Assessment, which is a form that you need to complete and submit to the government.
The Combined Income and Assets Assessment form (SA457) is an extensive questionnaire with over 140 questions about what you and your partner/spouse own and earn. It’s important to understand that you are considered to own half your assets with your partner/spouse regardless of who holds the title to the assets. As part of your assessment, you will be asked to provide details of all assets owned by both of you.
Government subsidy eligibility and amount depends on an individual’s situation and needs. If you are eligible, this will minimise some of your aged care costs. For more information about government subsidy for residential aged care please visit MyAgedCare
When choosing a residential aged care provider, it is important to understand aged care costs and fees. These include:
• Accommodation Charge (the cost of your room) - These are set by individual Care Communities and varies between them.
• Basic Daily Care Fee (meals, laundry, cleaning and other day-to-day costs) – These are set by the Australian Government and is the same across every Care Community in Australia.
• Means-Tested Care Fee (to supplement the cost of your overall care) - These are set by the Australian Government based on an assessment of your personal financial situation.
• Additional Services Fee or Extra Services Fee - (higher-end services and accommodation) These are set by individual Care Communities and varies between them. In some, Additional Services or Extra Services are optional and in others, residents are required to purchase these services as a condition of entry
For further information download our 5 step guide.
To find an estimate of your aged care costs and fees, use the fee estimator that will consider:
• The basic daily fee
• Your means-test
• If you are eligible for financial assistance
You can also use our find a Care Community search tool to see prices from different rooms at each of our Care Communities.
Aged care costs will vary depending on an individual’s needs. Some additional service fees you should consider include, but not limited to:
- Wellness centres and physical therapy
- Facilities such as gym and pool
- Beauty services such as onsite hairdresser and beautician
- Recreational/entertainment activities
There are three ways to pay:
1. Refundable accommodation deposit (RAD) which is a lump sum payment
2. Daily accommodation payments (DAP) which is recurring rental type payments
3. Combination of RAD and DAP.