How the income-tested care fee for home care is calculated

Posted on Monday, November 16, 2020

Depending on your financial circumstances, you may be asked to pay an ‘income-tested care fee’, in addition to the basic daily fee.

If you are asked to pay an income-tested care fee, the government subsidy is reduced by the amount of the income-tested care fee you have been assessed as eligible to pay.

The home care provider you choose must deliver services reflecting the full value of your home care package. The only thing that changes is the source of funds.

For example, if your Home Care Package is valued at $30,000, and you have been assessed by Services Australia as being able to pay $10,000 as your income-tested care fee, then the government subsidy to your chosen provider will be $20,000 ($30,000 - $10,000 = $20,000).

How do I work out my fees?

If you’re already receiving an income tested payment, such as an Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Service Pension or Income Support Supplement, you do not need to do anything as the Services Australia already have your income details.

If you are a self-funded retiree, or a part-pensioner and you do not receive a means tested income support payment, you will need to complete a formal income assessment form.

How do I complete an income assessment?

You can complete your income assessment by:

  • Printing the full form
    Go to
    Download, print and complete the Home Care Package, Calculation of your cost of care (SA456) form, and post it to: Department of Human Services, Home Care, PO Box 7821, Canberra BC ACT 2610
  • Using the guided digital form
    Go to 
    Download the Aged Care Calculation of your cost of care (SA486) form and open it on your laptop, tablet or desktop computer.
    This form is dynamic and will present different questions based on the answers you give.
    Once completed, print the form and post it to: Department of Human Services, Home Care, PO Box 7821, Canberra BC ACT 2610

The forms will ask for details about you (and/or your partner’s) home and any other properties, including any rental income.

You will also be asked for details of your assets and income, including:

  • Accounts, including banks, building societies or credit unions
  • Shares or other securities
  • Managed investments
  • Money invested in superannuation or income stream products
  • Bonds or debentures
  • Funeral bonds (not funeral insurance), funeral investments or contracts to have funeral services
  • Life insurance policies
  • Money on loan to another person or organisation
  • Any cash, assets, property or income you have given away, sold for less than their market value, or surrendered a right to
  • Payments from outside Australia
  • Any interests in a business partnership, a farm or from operating as a sole trader
  • Any involvement in a private trust
  • Any involvement in a private company
  • Any other income not yet mentioned

How will I be advised of the fees?

It may take up to six weeks after the Department of Human Services have received your income assessment and relevant information, for you to receive a letter about your fees.

The Department of Human Services will work out your maximum income-tested care fee (if any), and will send you and your provider a letter showing an amount you may have to contribute to your Home Care Package.

If you choose to start your package straight away with Brightwater as your provider, we will charge you the highest rate of the income-tested care fee ($34.84 per day), until the letter from the Department of Human Services has been received.

Once the letter from the Department of Human Services has been received, Brightwater will refund you any difference in the contribution that the Department of Human Services has calculated for you and what you have already paid.  We recommend you follow up the Department of Human Services to ensure your assessment is processed in a timely manner.

If you submit your income assessment before you have started your package, only you will receive the letter, and the advice will be valid for 120 days. After this time you will be required to complete the assessment again.

The Brightwater At Home team can help you navigate the home care application process, including answering any questions you may have about the income assessment application. Get in touch on 1300 223 968.