Residential Aged Care means assessment

We collect financial details of care recipients to complete a Residential Aged Care means assessment. We then work out how much a care recipient pays for their care services.

Your clients can now complete their aged care means assessments using a digital form. Please tell your clients to fill out the Aged Care Calculation of your cost of care form online and print, sign and send it.

We use the Aged Care Calculation of your cost of care (SA486) form to collect details of the care recipient’s income and assets. We can then work out how much you’ll get, as an aged care provider, to provide aged care services.

People who get a means tested payment such as Age Pension or a Disability Support Pension from us or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), and don’t own a home, don’t need to complete a form. We’ll use the details we have about their income and assets to work out the cost of their care.

It’s important people make sure their income and assets details are always up to date. Your clients can check the details they’ve provided to us using their Centrelink online account or they can call Centrelink or DVA.

Starting aged care

When the care recipient starts care, you need to enter their details into the online Aged Care Entry Record. This is for means assessment data matching.

You can also use the Aged Care Entry Record form – AC021 form to tell us if they:

  • have entered permanent residential care
  • are receiving a Home Care Package on or after 1 July 2014.

Income for aged care purposes

We use the following income details for aged care purposes:

  • income from work
  • income support payments from Centrelink or DVA. Payments like the Age Pension, a Service Pension or an Income Support Supplement
  • value of financial investments
  • net rental income
  • a War Widow(er)’s Pension and some disability pensions
  • superannuation and overseas pensions
  • income from income stream products such as annuities and allocated pensions
  • family trust distributions or dividends from private company shares
  • money from outside the Australian Government
  • gifting over the allowable amounts.

Rental income

The rental income from a care recipient’s former principal home isn’t counted in the assessment if they both:

  • entered care before 1 January 2016
  • make regular payments or a mix of regular and lump sum payments for accommodation.

If they leave residential care for more than 28 days, but then re-enter care, the rental income from their former home will become part of the assessment.


An asset is any property or item of value the care recipient or their partner own or have an interest in. This includes assets held outside Australia. This could be:

  • financial investments
  • real estate
  • shares
  • household contents
  • personal effects.

If the care recipient is part of a couple, we consider them to own half of the total combined assets. It doesn’t matter whose name is listed for the asset.

If they enter residential aged care on or after 1 July 2014, and a protected person isn’t occupying their home, their home counts as an asset. A protected person can be a care recipient’s:

  • partner or dependent child
  • carer, who’s eligible to get an Australian Government income support payment and has lived in the person’s home with them for the past 2 years
  • close relative, who’s eligible to get an Australian Government income support payment and has lived in the person’s home with them for the past 5 years.

There’s a cap on the value of the home included in the assessment.

If their home counts as an asset, it doesn’t need to be valued by a professional, we just need an estimate. We verify the estimated value of their home at no cost to them.

Any gifts they made in the past 5 years may count as income if the gift value is over the allowable amount. For a single person or a couple, the combined gifting allowable amount is:

  • $10,000 in 1 financial year
  • $30,000 in 5 financial years - this can’t include more than $10,000 in any year.

We also use deeming rules to calculate income from financial assets. This is also included in the assessed income. 

Care recipients who don’t provide their income and asset details

Care recipients don’t have to have their income and assets assessed. This means they’ll pay:

  • the maximum basic daily fee
  • the maximum means tested care fee
  • accommodation costs subject to annual and lifetime caps.

Incomplete assessment

We’ll call the care recipient or their nominee if their assessment form is incomplete. We’ll write them if we can’t contact them over the phone.

Assessments not submitted

If the care recipient has started care, but they haven’t done an assessment, we’ll send them a reminder letter.

We’ll explain they may get some assistance for the cost of their aged care if they do the assessment. We’ll send you and the care recipient letters with this advice.

If the care recipient hasn’t sent a request for an assessment we’ll explain they will need to pay the maximum fees for their care and the agreed accommodation price if they don’t complete the assessment form. We’ll send you and the care recipient letters with this advice.

Assessment outcome

We’ll send the care recipient a letter with the outcome of their means assessment. Our letter shows the fees they need to pay.

Our initial fee advice is valid for 120 days, unless they tell us of a change in their circumstances.

Sometimes the fee advice isn’t what the care recipient expected. This is because sometimes we or DVA hold further details about the care recipient.

Page last updated: 1 November 2019