Assets and income assessments pending while transitioning from respite to permanent care

Hi, my father is currently in respite care in a new recently developed complex, while my mother remains at home. Both parents receive full pension. An ACAT assessment has deemed my father suitable for high level care and we are still waiting for the assets and income test to be completed. They have a fixed term deposit that will be subject them to a small additional means tested daily payment according to the Aged Care estimator (about $15) in addition to the usual basic daily fee of approx $51 (80% of pension) which I expect. My questions are:

  1. Can they be asked to pay an additional accommodation fee if my mother still resides at home or are the two fees above the absolute maximum required to pay?
  2. Can they be forced to pay full fees for permanent residency now, pending completion of the assets and income assessment? If so, how do we know what the out of pocket costs will be long term before we commit by signing a contract today?
    Thanks in advance,

Hi Latham,AgedCare101 cannot give individual financial advice and we strongly recommend that people seek specialised aged care financial advice to assist with the often confusing area of aged care fees. Firstly though you can call Department Human Services (DHS) Income and Assets division on 1800 227 475 regarding your concerns. It is my understanding that when your father moves permanently into an aged care home ,prior to receiving his Income and Assets assessment, he will be required to pay the basic daily fee ($51.21 - 85% of single person rate of the basic age pension ) and an accommodation fee. His means tested fee will be determined through the income and assets assessment and can vary from $0 up to $270.48 per day. Depending on the outcome from the assessment from DHS your father may be eligible for a refund on his accommodation fees already paid to date. With accommodation costs, the amount you pay depends on the room your father is in and your eligibility for government assistance, an income below $27,000 and assets below $49,500 the Australian government will pay your accommodation costs. If you have assets above $168,000 or an income above $68,000 you will have to pay for the full cost of accommodation fees. You and the aged care home can negotiate and agree to a lower price but you can’t be charged more than the maximum published price. With regards to future fees the basic daily fee is indexed to the age pension and the price is set by the government on 20 March and 20 September each year. The means tested fee and accommodation fees can change if there is a change to your combined income and assets and your means tested fee can increase if your care needs increase and a new assessment indicates that you can afford to contribute more. There are annual and lifetime caps on mean tested care fees which currently are $27,532.59/year/per person or $66,078.27 per person in a lifetime. If you agree to additional services or the “extra service” fees these fees are not covered by a government subsidy. If you agree to an extra service room you will have to pay this fee regardless of whether you use the full extra services. Ask the home to provide you with the full list of services, their costs and if they are mandatory. As mentioned above I would call DHS to clarify your father’s situation.