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.

Care recipients can complete the Aged Care Calculation of your cost of care (SA486) form online. They then need to print, sign and return it to us. We use this form to collect their financial details. We can then work out how much you’ll get, as an aged care provider, to provide aged care services.

Your client won’t need to complete a form if they don’t own a home and get either a:

  • means tested payment from us such as Age Pension or Disability Support Pension
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) payment.

We’ll use their income and assets details to work out the cost of their care. It’s important people make sure their income and assets details are always up to date to avoid a debt.

Your client can check the details they’ve provided to us by either:

How to provide the client’s details for 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.

What income details we need

We use the following income details to work out the cost of their aged care:

  • income from work and net rental income
  • income support payments from us or DVA
  • value of financial investments
  • superannuation, overseas pensions and money from outside the Australian Government
  • income from income stream products such as annuities and allocated pensions
  • family trust distributions or dividends from private company shares
  • gifting over the allowable amounts.

What rental income we include

We don’t count the rental income from a care recipient’s former principal home if they both:

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

The rental income from their former home will become part of the assessment if both of the following apply:

  • they leave residential care for more than 28 days
  • they re-enter care.

What assets we include

An asset is any property or item of value the client 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 the asset is under.

Their home counts as an asset if both of the following apply:

  • they enter residential aged care on or after 1 July 2014
  • a protected person isn’t occupying their home.

A protected person can either be a care recipient’s:

  • partner
  • dependent child
  • carer
  • close relative.

The carer or close relative must:

  • be eligible to get an Australian Government income support payment
  • have lived in the person’s home with them for the past 2 years.

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

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

We may count gifts as income if both of the following apply:

  • gifting was in the past 5 years
  • the gift’s 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. We include this in the assessed income.

When care recipients don’t provide their financial details

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

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

When there is an 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.

If the care recipient has started care, but they haven’t completed an assessment form, 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 they don’t complete the assessment form, we’ll explain they’ll need to pay both the:

  • maximum fees for their care
  • agreed accommodation price.

We’ll send you and the care recipient letters with this advice.

How we provide the 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.

How to manage income and assets details

Care recipients must tell us about changes to their income and assets within 14 days. Care recipients who’ve already had a means assessment can update their income and assets details online. They can do this using their Centrelink online account through myGov.

If they don’t have a myGov account, they can read help information on the myGov website to learn how to create one and link Centrelink.

They can also call us on the Older Australians line or visit us if they can’t update their details online.

Page last updated: 26 September 2022.
QC 33336

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