My options whilst on waitlist

I’m eligible for funding. How long do I have to wait to receive it?

Once you’ve received your letter from ACAT approving your eligibility for home care support (visit our page on getting your assessment?), it means you’ve joined a national queue for home care established to prioritise access to home care packages.

The government funds a limited number of home care packages and introduced the national waitlist in 2017 to allocate these more fairly.

Your place in the queue is determined by the date you were approved for care and how urgent your needs were as reviewed in the comprehensive assessment (hyperlink – Don’t have your assessment? See our helpful guide here) of your relative needs and circumstances.

You must wait to be assigned a home care package from the national queue before you can start to receive services.

Not surprisingly, expected wait times change as the number of individuals seeking services changes. Wait times are displayed in monthly configurations, 1­3 months, 3­6 months, 6­9 months, 9­12 months or 12+ months.

Your ACAT assessor will be able to keep you and your family up to date with how your wait and your position in the queue is proceeding.

You can also call My Aged Care who will be able to help you with wait time information 1800 200 422.

Can I get any interim help now while I’m waiting for funding?

Quite often, people need assistance while waiting for their funding to begin. Thankfully there are a few options to help you should you need it.

Firstly if you are in a position to pay for Private Services during this period, then you have a wide selection of services available to suit your situation and of course your budget. Some providers offer discounted package hours to tide you over on the waitlist.

However if you’re not in a position to fund any Private Services, you can always speak to your assessor about accepting an interim arrangement where you receive a package that is lower than your approved package level to get you through. The good news is your wait time won’t be affected by accepting an early interim arrangement.

Another option you have is to access other Commonwealth, state/territory, or privately funded aged care services such as under the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP). This program is one of the quickest ways to start receiving care, with a short wait time of a few weeks once assessed and approved. Your assessor will be able to help you with this or speak with your provider of choice for advice in your area.

There are also options to access support if you are planning a visit to hospital or just coming out of hospital such as Transition Care Services or the Interim Hospital Package program.

What about some help for my carer?

While you’re waiting for home care, it’s quite likely there’s someone like a family member or loved one or friend who is already giving you extra support as a carer.

Support for your carer is important to your overall health by enabling your carer to take a break from their care duties and ensuring your relationship takes a break too to give you both some breathing space.

You can access respite care through government subsidised programs such as home care packages, the Commonwealth Home Support Program and the Home and Community Care program.

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My package assignment letter has arrived. What do I do next?

Once you have got to the top of the national waiting list queue you will receive a letter which assigns you a home care package.

This letter will include your individual referral code which allows to take up your package with the service provider of your choice.

As part of the letter, you have a package ‘take­up’ deadline. Essentially you have 56 days from the date your package is assigned to enter into a Home Care  Agreement. If you need extra time to make a decision, call My Aged Care   and ask for an extension of a further 28 days. That would give you 84 days.

You need to be aware that if you haven’t entered into an agreement within your take­up deadline, your package will be withdrawn. This means that your eligibility for funding will expire and your service provider will not be able to claim a subsidy for your care.

A good home care provider can guide you through the whole process and offer good advice to avoid some of the pitfalls of the home aged care process. It’s also good to get as much family support as possible during this process and talk to your GP about all your options.

You also might find our 7 Steps Guide to Finding Home Care handy, download for free here.