Simpler means-testing forms from LifePath Financial Planning

Simplification in aged care rules is always a positive outcome. The government has just released new means-test forms for clients accessing residential or home care services which may make the process much quicker and simpler. The new forms are the outcome of a government taskforce which included a number of organisations, including Jacqui Hayes from Aged Care Steps. 

Details on the changes and the new forms are discussed below.

Home care packages

Home Care Package Calculation of your cost of care (SA456) form

Client contributions to home care packages are still only income-tested. Clients who receive a means-tested payment from Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) do not fill in the SA456 form, as Department of Human Services (DHS) will just use the details already held on file by Centrelink/DVA. It is important that these clients ensure their records held by Centrelink/DVA have been updated within the last two years and are currently up-to-date.

Self-funded clients or those who receive a non-means tested payment (eg war widow or blind pension) should submit the SA456 form, but they can choose to:

  • Disclose finances – tick YES at question 14 and complete the full SA456 form to have their income-tested fee calculated, or
  • Not disclose finances – tick NO at question 14 and pay the maximum income-tested fee up to the annual/lifetime caps.

What’s new

A summary of the forms required for various clients is shown in the table below.

Client category Assessment form to complete Additional details
Clients receiving a means-tested income payment from Centrelink/DVA No form Ensure Centrelink/DVA records are up-to-date
Self-funded or Centrelink/DVA payment is not means-tested SA456 form Can choose to disclose or not at Question 14

The income-tested fee for clients who receive a means-tested payment from Centrelink/DVA is calculated after the package commences. Clients who want a pre-commencement fee letter can make a request to Centrelink on 1800 227 475 or DVA on 1800 555 254.

The SA456 form is shorter and provides clearer explanations. Clients with complicated financial situations (for example private trusts or companies) may be required to complete additional forms. A checklist for any additional details to be provided is included at the end of the SA456 form.

A new online form can be completed instead of the paper forms – Aged care calculation of your cost of care (SA486) form. This is a dynamic form that will show the questions required based on circumstances input.

Residential aged care

Residential Aged Care Property details for Centrelink and DVA customers (SA485) form

Residential Aged Care Calculation of your cost of care (SA457) form

Client contributions for residential aged care are means-tested based on a combination of assessable income and assessable assets. Clients who receive a means-tested payment from Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) no longer need to fill in the SA457 form, instead:

  • Non-homeowners – no form is necessary as current Centrelink/DVA records are automatically used
  • Homeowners – the new shorter Residential Aged Care Property details for Centrelink and DVA customers (SA485) form should be completed to provide details on the home. The current Centrelink/DVA records are used to calculate the details.

It is important that these clients ensure their records held by Centrelink/DVA have been updated within the last two years and are currently up-to-date.

Self-funded clients or those who receive a non-means tested Centrelink/DVA payment (for example, war widow or blind pension) should submit the SA457 form, but they can choose to:

  • Disclose finances – tick YES at question 13 and complete the full SA457 form to have their means-tested fee calculated, or
  • Not disclose finances – tick NO at question 13 and pay the maximum means-tested fee up to the annual/lifetime caps.

What’s new

A summary of the forms required for various clients is shown in the table below.

Client category Assessment form to complete Additional details:
Non-homeowners receiving a means-tested income payment from Centrelink/DVA No form Ensure Centrelink/DVA records up to date
Homeowners receiving a means-tested income payment from Centrelink/DVA SA485 form to provide additional details on the home Ensure Centrelink/DVA records up to date
Self-funded or Centrelink/DVA payment is not means-tested SA457 form Can choose to disclose or not at Question 13

Clients receiving a means-tested income payment who want a pre-commencement fee letter can make a request to Centrelink on 1800 227 475 or DVA on 1800 555 254.

The SA457 form is much shorter and provides clearer explanations. Clients with complicated financial situations (for example private trusts or companies) may be required to complete additional forms. A checklist for any additional details to be provided is included at the end of the SA457 form.

A new online form can be completed instead of the paper forms – Aged care calculation of your cost of care (SA486) form. This is a dynamic form that will show the questions required based on circumstances input.

Nominee details

Embedded into all the means-test forms is the ability to nominate a nominee to deal with the Department on behalf of the client. This only allows interactions in relation to aged care. It does not allow the nominee to act on the person’s behalf in relation to income support payments, although the Departments are working on a combined authority in the future.

If clients are completing the SA456, SA457, SA486 or SA486 they can appoint a nominee on the same form. Clients who do not need to fill in one of these forms can appoint a nominee by using the Aged Care Appointment of a Nominee (AC019) form.