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What is the difference between a Home Care Package and the Commonwealth Home Support Programme?

It is likely that you have heard of either the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) or the Home Care Package (HCP) if you live in Australia. Both of which, provide benefits that will allow you or your loved ones to remain in the place you love to call home.

But how well do you know both? And how might you and your current situation benefit from it?

What exactly is a Home Care Package?

Now, what exactly is a Home Care Package, and what’s included?

As part of the Home Care Packages, older Australians can receive financial assistance to fund the support and services they need to remain at home safely and happily.

You must be 65 years of age or older to qualify for a Home Care Package. Or, if you are 50 years or older and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

A Home Care Package has four levels of support.

The level of care varies from minimal to extensive. To learn more about the different levels of funding associated with Home Care Packages, click here.

At the end of the day, it is up to YOU to decide what works best for your situation and how to spend your funds with a Home Care Package.

What’s included?

Home Care Packages (HCP) are designed to support clients with their care needs, lifestyles, or living arrangements.

You can access a variety of services based on your care needs, including:

  • Medication prompting.
  • Respite Care.
  • Cleaning.
  • Companionship
  • Meal preparation.
  • Social Outings and Support.
  • Personal assistance.
  • Laundry.
  • Nursing.
  • Gardening.

At Better Living Homecare, our mission is to ensure that our clients can maximise the value of their government funding. We do this by charging a combined 26% fee and allocating a dedicated Care Manager as your main point of contact who will oversee the delivery of your support services on a day-to-day basis.

What is the cost?

An asset and income assessment may be required when applying for a Home Care Package. Depending on this, you may be required to pay what is called an income-tested fee.

An income assessment is only required if you:

  • Are a self-funded retiree.
  • A pension that is not means-tested.
  • Are paid a part pension.

An income assessment is not required if you:

  • Applying for short-term care.
  • Applying for the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.
  • Wanting to access private home care services, not a HCP.

The cost of a Home Care Package depends on the individual’s circumstances and needs. If you would like to learn more about Better Living Homecare’s price variations, you may click here.

In terms of cost and structure, the HCP will include:

  • Your contribution, if you are required to pay the income-tested fee.
  • Government contribution (the subsidy).

What services are not available with a HCP?

The Department of Health has provided guidance on items that Home Care Packages cannot cover, including:

  • Groceries.
  • Household furniture.
  • Household bills.
  • Personal toiletries.
  • Purchases already subsidised by the Government.
  • Clothing.
  • Gifts.
  • Cleaning products.
  • Over-the-counter medication.
  • Garden supplies.
  • Car expenses.

Knowing what applies to you and your situation can be challenging. So, if you would like to learn more, please get in touch with us on 1300 996 896 to speak to one of our Better Living Homecare experts.

How do I know which provider to pick?

To access and manage the services they require, package recipients must select a provider to host their package. It is up to the Home Care Package holder to select the provider to host their package. After selecting a provider, you will work together to develop a care plan that fits your budget.

Using Better Living Homecare as an example, we offer a combined 26% fee. If you are interested in learning more about the different levels of funding from BLHC, you can click here.

It is likely that different providers will have different package management options and charge different fees.

When weighing your options, it’s important to choose the provider that best fits your preferences and circumstances. Providers may charge additional costs, so you should consider your needs, your budget, and your location when choosing one.

What exactly is the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP)?

As with the HCP, the Commonwealth Home Support Programme supports older people with tasks that are difficult to manage. It is generally considered a step before the Home Care Package. Individuals who are independent but need help with certain aspects of their lives can benefit from this program.

You can avail of services such as:

  • Personal Care.
  • Domestic Assistance.
  • Social Support Groups.
  • Social Support.

CHSP gives you access to specific services based on your care needs, rather than a pool of funds to spend on services. People who are no longer fully independent but don’t require extensive care in their homes can benefit from the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.

As part of the CHSP, a subprogram called Assistance with Care and Housing provides support to those who are at risk of homelessness.

The CHSP may refer you to the ACAT if your needs change while you are receiving support from them.

What is the cost?

Among other factors, the cost depends on the hourly rate. Since it is heavily decreased by the government, it is an affordable option for many people.

Using the CHSP, you will receive a service at a specific rate from a specific worker. It is quite different from a HCP, where you can choose the types of services you receive and who delivers them. With the ACAT team’s approval, you are still able to receive some assistance at home.

Again, you may not know whether the CHSP is right for you. If you need assistance figuring this out, you can call the Better Living Homecare team on 1300 307 344.

How long does it to receive either the CHSP or HSP?

The wait time vary’s depending on which Home Care Package level you are approved for.

Upon approval, you will be placed in the Government’s national queue until your package is ready.

When you receive a letter confirming you have been allocated a package, you have 56 days to choose a provider. Make sure you research your provider in advance as they may have a waiting list.

Your assessor will provide you with a referral code once approved for a CHSP. After receiving your allocation, you will be able to contact providers and arrange the services you need.

How do the CHSPs and the HCPs differ?

Having established what they both are, what exactly makes them different?

The main difference between the two is the level of service you require. If you are looking for:

  • A more tailored structure to your specific needs.
  • A service that can cater up to 24 hours a day if needed.
  • A service that puts YOU in the driver’s seat and allows you to have control.

You may want to consider a Home Care Package.

If you are fully independent, over the age of 65 or 50 years old (Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island person) looking for:

  • Short-term help.
  • Light support.
  • Access to specific services eg: Domestic Assistance.

You may want to consider the Commonwealth Home Support Program.

A few similarities exist between the Home Care Package and the Commonwealth Home Support Programme. Such as assisting you with your daily tasks and providing additional support while you remain at home.

How can I apply?

Your eligibility is the first thing to consider. As mentioned previously, if you wish to apply for the HCP or the CHSP you must be of the eligible age.

The application process can be started online or by phone through My Aged Care. Following the conversation, you will receive a follow-up assessment, such as:

  • When you have higher, more complex needs (HSP and CHSP), the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) will assess you in your home.
  • For those with low-level needs, the Regional Assessment Service (RAS) will conduct a face-to-face assessment in their homes (CHSP).

The most important thing in life is to keep doing the things you love no matter how old you are. Whether you are seeking help through a Home Care Package or the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, your care needs can be met.

Still researching? Here's the perfect guide for you.

In this free e-book you’ll discover some of the ways to better maximise the value of your Home Care Package. Whether you have a package and are thinking of switching providers, have a new Home Care Package, are waiting or are thinking of applying, this guide will help you on your journey.

Better Living Home Care