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The Importance of Financial Assessments in Aged Care
1 January 2019
For Australians there is a high possibility they will need to access some sort of care assistance over their lifetime. Whether it is help around the house, moderate care in the home, or residential aged care. These options can look pricey on the surface, whether it is a $550,000 Deposit for a residential care room or $490 per week for nursing assistance, however, government funding is generally available to those who wish to access it. The key to maximising your funding is structuring your assets and income in a way that results in a fair assessment.
What most people aren’t aware of is that government funding is available for almost everyone. It’s very important to consider what options are available to you and work out how to best complete the Department of Human Services (DHS) assessment. This is the key to unlocking government subsidies. A good place to start is by not submitting any assessments to the DHS before you know exactly how to optimise your financial position. Quite often we will see clients who have sold assets or made incorrect declarations before we are able to properly assess their options. By sending in an assessment prematurely, you have committed yourself to an outcome which can be very difficult and sometimes impossible to undo.
It is also important not to rely on other people’s experiences when working out the best way forward. Everyone’s circumstances are different. Legislation for aged care is constantly evolving resulting in grandfathering conditions for those already receiving help. But new sets of rules for those trying to access the same benefits for the first time. For example, in January 2015 changes were made to the way superannuation is assessed for both the Age Pension and aged care fees, so any withdrawal from super could be less favourable for government funding. In January 2016 the family home lost rental income exemptions as well as the indefinite exemption from aged care assessment. These changes have had a considerable effect on how one should consider what to do with the home and in turn how the Assets and Income Assessment should be completed.
Aged care can be a daunting and emotional experience, however it’s designed to be affordable for everyone. If you plan ahead you can make sure you access the best and most appropriate care that doesn’t break the bank. You may even be lucky enough to find yourself in a position to access an Age Pension or Seniors Health Care Card that you were previously not entitled to.
The biggest tip provided by Luke Robson Financial advisor at HLB Mann Judd is to seek advice. If you would like more information the importance of Financial Assessments in Aged Care as discussed in the article contact Luke Robson on 0426 171 427.
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