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Assessments and government subsidies

Residential aged care costs are pretty complicated. There are forms and assessments and jargon and bureaucracy, but there are also people who can help, and – in the end – most people qualify for government financial support to pay some or all of the costs of care.

So it’s a drag. But it’s usually worth it.

If your finances are complicated, now is as good a time as any to seek advice from a financial advisor or counsellor. The government’s MoneySmart website has advice on choosing a financial advisor.

Aged Care Assessment

To qualify for any government care subsidy (including residential aged care and post-hospital transitional care), you’ll first need an Aged Care Assessment. This is a simple process where health professionals ask you about your health needs.

You also need an assessment before you can put your name down on residential care waiting lists.

Your free assessment will be carried out by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT); usually a nurse, social worker, or another health professional. During the conversation, you will be told about home-based and residential aged care options.

It’s not a scary or invasive process, and your needs, opinions and preferences are central to the assessment. You are welcome to have a family member or friend with you.

You might need to wait around 12 weeks for your assessment, so the sooner you get onto it, the better.

Call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to arrange your Aged Care Assessment.

Income and Assets Assessment – Centrelink

This epic form allows the government to work out what government assistance – if any – you are entitled to. Take a deep breath, and be prepared to ask for help filling it in.

The form: Permanent Residential Aged Care Request for a Combined Income and Assets Assessment

Good to know

If you want a friend or family member to talk to Medicare or Centrelink on your behalf, you need to make them a ‘nominee’. You can do this online here, or by printing out and sending in this form.


Following the assessments, you will be sent a letter outlining the results and what – if any – funded residential care is available to you. You may qualify for a subsidy to cover residential accommodation costs, or more.

The letter will also explain what to do if you disagree with the assessment. If you feel that you would face financial hardship as a result of the assessment you can apply for financial hardship assistance.

Call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to arrange your Aged Care Assessment.

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