Aged care services in Australia are means tested. In effect, that means that users are expected to pay a portion of their care costs – including low-wealth individuals and full and part pensioners. So what are the real aged care costs for a pensioner, what subsidies are available, and what key information should you keep in mind when seeking aged care services with a low income?

Low Income –  If you are 65 with a low income and few or no assets, you are most likely eligible for a full age pension. If you qualify as a full pensioner, the government will cover most of your daily aged care costs, but you may need to cover accommodation, depending on your assets. To qualify for a full pension, you must satisfy the means tests. You can estimate your pension on the Centrelink rate estimator page.

To receive full pension, you must not have assets greater than:

  • Single: $354,500
  • Couple combined: $440,500
  • Illness-separated couple combined: $440,500
  • Single, homeowner: $205,500
  • Couple combined, homeowners: $291,500
  • Illness-separated couple combined, homeowners: $291,500

Funding aged care on a full pension

The two main options are:

  • Independent living at home using community support services such as domestic help, personal care, nursing and other Allied Health Services all delivered via the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (or, for more specific services, using the Home Care Package which has levels 1–4 depending on need).
  • Residential aged care in an aged care facility.
  1. You can use the Residential Care Fee Estimator to help estimate what costs your aged care home may ask you to pay

Download this Aged Care Booklet for more information.

Funding Aged Care – E-book