Feb 19, 2024

Govt rules out house means testing changes, aged care funding speculations remain unanswered

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“There is no change to the treatment of the family home in any of the documents that have been before the Government,” said Mr Albanese. [The Canberra Times / Sitthixay Ditthavong]

Increases to means testing thresholds on the family home when determining a resident’s aged care fees have been shut down by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese despite some experts calling for more ambitious reforms. 

While the Aged Care Taskforce still finalises their delayed final recommendation report on a sustainable funding model for the aged care sector, Mr Albanese addressed Federal Parliament last week and confirmed the consideration of the family home in the aged care asset test will remain unchanged.

After Federal Aged Care Minister Anika Wells refused to confirm or deny whether the testing threshold would be increased during Parliament, the Prime Minister then revealed during Question Time, “There is no change to the treatment of the family home in any of the documents that have been before the Government.” 

Instead, reports have suggested the Government is likely to strengthen the means test on assets other than the family home.

The means test threshold for the family home – which determines how much a resident can afford to pay for their aged care along with an income test – is capped at $197,735, the same as it has been for ten years despite soaring house prices and aged care commentators advocating for it to be raised. 

But only 4% of residential aged care costs are paid by residents through means testing, the remaining 96% is funded by taxpayers. 

It is also understood the Federal Government and Taskforce has no plans to introduce a new tax or increase the Medicare Levy to pay for aged care, as recommended by the Aged Care Royal Commission. 

During the Royal Commission, one Commissioner called for a 1% levy on high-income earners, while another recommended a broader aged care levy on all taxpayers.

As our ageing population grows, the cost of aged care is predicted to climb quickly and the Taskforce has suggested wealthier older people may pay more for their aged care to keep the industry afloat and sustainable.

Tom Symondson from the Aged and Community Care Providers Association – who is also a member of the Taskforce – said many providers are, “Struggling to pay the bills.”

“We cap at 85% of the Government pension the amount anybody, no matter their wealth, can be asked to contribute towards the daily services they receive […] Even if you had a billion dollars in the bank, you would be asked to pay about $60 a day,” He told ABC Radio.

National Seniors Chief Executive Officer Chris Grice welcomed the news confirming that means testing regarding the family home would remain untouched but he did back changes to consumer contributions which would see wealthier older people contribute more to their care. 

National Seniors provided a submission to the Taskforce to represent older Australians which can be read here.

The Aged Care Taskforce final report was due to be released in December but is now predicted to be released closer to the time of the Federal Budget in May.

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  1. I would love to be involved in matters concerning Age Care.

    Being an CEO of the same business for over 30 years and having been responsible for many areas that also relate to the way in which money is used to fund different departments could be an asset for input to the Age Care Industry.

    I was recently forced to retire at 77 years of age.

    Have had to access Age Care is the past 12 months due to by becoming ill and having to retire … the process of obtaining the Old Age Pension and dealing with age care providers has been interesting and most times difficult.

    Kind Regards
    Ms P Nagle

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