Good Budget news for aged care

The good news is that this year's Budget did not increase how much we pay for the aged care services that we access, but an additional $17.7 billion spend – which will be fully paid for by the Government - was aimed at increasing access and improving quality.

This article takes a quick look at the specific Budget implications for aged care.

With an ageing population and baby boomers heading towards care years, aged care featured as a centrepiece of the 2021-22 Federal Budget handed down by Government on 11 May. The Government outlined a 5-year aged care reform plan, at a cost of $17.7 billion across all areas of aged care including home care, residential care, workforce and governance.

The proposed reforms are aimed at restoring consumer confidence and increasing the quality of care, with the Government accepting and putting into action most of the Royal Commission's 148 recommendations.

The Changes

Key changes proposed include a new Aged Care Act placing the older person at the centre and more transparent and independent governance structures, so we can work towards the Royal Commission directive of “care, dignity and respect.”

Home care

  • An additional 80,000 home care packages to reduce the waiting time.

  • Simpler access, with one assessment pathway and one program combining the current Commonwealth Home Support Program and Home Care Packages.

  • Red-tape and administration reductions so that less of the package money is spent on management fees and more can be spent on care.

Residential care

  • Additional $10 per day per resident to help providers cover costs and improve the standard of living services, with a major focus on nutrition.

  • Mandating a minimum average of 200 minutes of care time per resident per day, including at least 40 minutes with a registered nurse.

  • A star-rating system to help choose which aged care provider.

A number of measures also focus on training and attracting quality staff into aged care, with a particular focus on upskilling staff to support people living with dementia.

Other measures

Retirees may also benefit in the future from other changes proposed in the Budget which included:

  • Removing the $450 per month threshold for superannuation guarantee, to increase the number of eligible employees

  • Removing the work test for non-concessional superannuation contributions over age 65, to help boost superannuation savings

  • Reducing the age limit for downsizer contributions (if selling an eligible home) to 60.

  • Allowing limited lump sums to be accessed under the Pension Loan Scheme, which may help with funding home modifications or renovations to stay safely in the home or prepare it for sale if moving

  • A two-year window of opportunity to unwind some legacy income stream products without penalty.

We have helped many clients to navigate through the aged care system, providing our clients with peace of mind and a clearer direction on the potential options for structuring finances.

Call us today on 03 9801 8822 and arrange an appointment to discuss how we can help you and your family.

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