May 31, 2017

Vol 7 Ed 5

Volume 7 Edition 5 Financial Care Services Newsletter


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Financial Care Services Newsletter by Christine Hopper
Independent aged care, lifestyle and financial advice for seniors

Volume 7 Edition 5 – 30 May 2017

Help to stay at home.

The community assumes that all seniors want to stay in their current homes for as long as possible. Thus the government ‘help to stay at home’ program is focused on providing each senior with the support services essential to allowing that senior to stay at home as long as possible.

The government supported help to stay at home program has recently been revised to allow the care recipient more choice. A senior may now choose how she would like to ‘spend’ her care package.

The challenge for the care recipient is that the home care package is fixed in dollar terms for each period. The senior may choose how her care package budget is spent. But she cannot spend more than her care package budget unless she pays for the extras from her own money.

Help to stay at home could allow a physically frail senior to remain at home with his family. A frail but mentally sound grandpa might be living happily with his extended family. He could then choose to spend his care package on personal care for bathing and dressing.

In contrast, an independently minded senior could spend much of her care budget on the domestic matters of cooking, cleaning and laundry. In addition, a carer could accompany her to the shops, the hairdresser and to her many medical appointments.

A couple could be growing old together in their family home. If he is physically good but needing supervision because of his dementia, his care package could ‘buy’ a dementia day program together with occasional overnight stays. Grandma could then manage their home and have some time out with her friends.

Help to stay at home is great for seniors who just need some support to live alone safely for the other 23 hours of the day.

But an affordable level of home care support could be inadequate if the senior cannot get to the bathroom whenever she needs it. Residential aged care could provide better access to carers throughout the day and overnight.

Read more about help to stay at home

Financial aspects of staying in your own home with just a little help

Help to stay at home is also great for the taxpayer. Providing some personal support and limited assistance with domestic tasks, is significantly less costly than full residential aged care.

Home care recipients contribute to the cost of their care. In addition to the basic fee, a means tested fee applies for home care packages. Centrelink calculate the maximum means tested fee for each senior. But the wonderful array of caps on daily, annual and lifetime means tested care fees adds complexity.

Christine at Financial Care Services can help you assess your potential means tested fees for home care.

For seniors who are hoping for just some help to stay at home advance planning is needed. Your retirement plans might need to include moving to a compact single level home with an easily managed, or no, garden.

An assisted living apartment could provide a package of suitable housing with all meals and domestic services together with on-site social support. Help to stay at home could then be a carer to help with showering.
If you prefer to continue with housework then a retirement lifestyle community could provide suitable housing and social support.

A change of home can change your asset profile, your income and your expenses. Assisted living in a retirement lifestyle community can give you a great lifestyle. But you might be utilizing capital to pay for the personal support and domestic services that are keeping you healthy, active and socially engaged.

Check out your new cash flow position before you commit to a new home in assisted living, lifestyle community, retirement village or residential aged care.

A consultation with Christine at Financial Care Services can help you understand your living costs and the amount of any DVA or Age Pension you could claim. Your family will thank you for involving them in the financial assessment of any assisted lifestyle community living proposals before you sign the contracts.

Centrelink are still busy data matching

Centrelink is informed about property sales by our friends at the Titles Office within three weeks of the settlement. A change in ownership of an Age Pensioner’s home flags to Centrelink that a ‘home’ has been converted to a ‘financial asset’. To avoid having your Age Pension reduced, or cancelled, you need to show Centrelink where that financial asset went.

If you bought another property or signed a loan/lease agreement to enter an assisted living or lifestyle community then you need to show Centrelink the full detailed paper trail within two weeks of settlement of the sale of your former home.

If you sell your home without showing that you bought into another residence then Centrelink will assume that you have the cash and do not really need an Age Pension. Special rules apply to the home sale proceeds for the first twelve months that you are between homes.

Centrelink are still busy data matching with Income Tax Returns also.

Just that one-off capital gain from gifting your holiday home to your children could have your Commonwealth Seniors Health Card cancelled. The Income Tax Return for the next financial year could be lodged fast and a copy shown to Centrelink to “prove” your ongoing eligibility for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

Help is available. Christine at Financial Care Services is familiar with the Centrelink forms.

If your Health Card or Pensioner Concession Card is cancelled then you would be subject to the new ‘confirming your identity’ process when you apply for another Health Card or Pension.

Christine could help you prepare to apply for a different Health Card when your circumstances change. Normal hourly rates apply for collating your personal data and attending a Centrelink office to support you in applying for Pensions, Health Cards and capped aged care fees.

Financial Care Services your independent financial adviser

Financial Care Services is an independent financial advisory service specialising in retirees of modest means and aged care entrants. Our core values of working with clients in their lifetime financial planning supports claiming DVA and Centrelink entitlements.

Financial Care Services assists clients complete Centrelink forms and collate supporting documents. Christine supports seniors to attend a local Centrelink office for confirmation of identity in the community interviews. The Financial Care Services charges hourly rate fees for assistance with Centrelink matters.

Financial Care Services charges fees based on the work involved in advising you about pensions and aged care financial solutions and arranging your investments.

To make an appointment for confidential, independent and professional advice about aged care, retirement lifestyle or financial issues please contact Christine Hopper  or call +61 3 9808 0338.


Financial Care Services

Christine Hopper
Financial Care Services Pty Ltd
Independent aged care, lifestyle and financial advice for seniors in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Australian Financial Services Licence Number
299570 (check this at
Authorised Representative Number 252529 (check this at

Telephone – call +61 3 9808 0338
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Address – mail to 172 Warrigal Road, Camberwell Victoria 3124
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Disclaimer: The information contained in this newsletter is of a general nature only and does not constitute “financial advice”. You should obtain your own personal financial advice before investing any money or moving in to any retirement village, lifestyle community or aged care facility. Financial Care Services is licensed to provide financial advice to individual clients based on their personal situations.

All eligibility for Commonwealth benefits will be determined by Centrelink or DVA, based on your personal position as documented and the legislation and Regulations in force at that time.

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