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Supported Residential Services
Last amended: 1 August 2014
What are supported residential services?
Supported Residential Services (SRS) operate privately in the ACT, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria. They offer supported accommodation to older people and people with a disability. They vary greatly in terms of the accommodation and the level of care.
There are SRS that specialise in, or have a majority of pension age residents. Some SRS are located within a retirement village complex. Others provide more basic bedrooms (possibly shared) in a house or complex, for frail older adults and/or people with intellectual and psychiatric disabilities. SRS must be approved and registered with either their state or local governments and operate according to state or local government legislative requirements. SRS are not funded under the Aged Care Act 1997, nor are they required to meet aged care provider accreditation requirements. Any person can apply for SRS accommodation and no aged care assessment is required.
SRS fees and charges
SRS do not receive government funding. Residents essentially fund the SRS via the recurrent fees payable, which cover accommodation, meals and the level of care provided. Generally, to enter SRS accommodation the facility does not require a payment for accommodation costs, or apply a means test. A resident is free to leave at short notice. However, SRS facilities at the upper end of the market may charge residents an entry contribution.
SRS residents are not aged care residents
SRS are primarily regulated by State Governments through health, residential or community services legislation. In South Australia, SRS are regulated through local government. Any person can apply for SRS accommodation and no aged care assessment is required. The definition of an aged care resident in subsection 5NC(5) of the VEA makes reference to approved care and approved provider under the Aged Care Act 1997. As SRS are not funded under the Aged Care Act 1997, nor are they required to meet aged care provider accreditation requirements, they are not approved aged care facilities and SRS residents are not regarded as aged care residents for income support purposes.
SRS residents may be considered to be “in care” in certain circumstances
The level of care provided in SRS vary. Some SRS residents will be living independently with very limited support. However, some residents may have a need for considerable support. A person living in a SRS may now be regarded as being in care if they can demonstrate that they have been receiving or are likely to receive a substantial level of care for at least 14 consecutive days. If a person living in an SRS is regarded as being in care, the in care assessment rules apply. Each case needs to be carefully considered on its own merits. Please contact Policy Advisings Income Support for advice regarding any affected cases and clarification of backdating.
Considering SRS premises as a retirement village
The Commission has the discretionary powers to determine that residential premises constitute a retirement village if the premises have similar functions.
SRS premises requiring an entry contribution can generally be considered as a retirement village under the discretion cited above, unless there is any evidence that the premises are not primarily intended for people over 55 years of age.
However, in making such a determination, the delegate should still look at all the circumstances of the case, taking into account:
- the age of the residents,
- the nature of accommodation provided,
- the obligations of the residents, and
- the contractual agreement actually entered into by the resident.
Assessment of an SRS resident
The following table demonstrates how a resident in SRS premises should be assessed.
If the SRS resident...
assess under the special resident – basic assessment rules.
Note: This assessment will determine the SRS resident's homeownership status, access to rent assistance and entry contribution treatment.
assess under the non-homeowner's basic assessment rules.
did not pay an entry contribution
assess under the non-homeowner's basic assessment rules.
can demonstrate that they have been receiving or are likely to receive a substantial level of care for at least 14 consecutive days
assess under the in care – basic assessment rules
Currently, the pension age for a veteran is 60 years of age (VEA 5QA).
The pension age for a non-veteran is determined by the table below:
Date of birth (both dates inclusive)
Age Pension age
1 July 1952 to 31 December 1953
65 years and 6 months
1 January 1954 to 30 June 1955
1 July 1955 to 31 December 1956
66 years and 6 months
On or after 1 January 1957
According to subsection 5M(3) of the VEA, premises constitute a retirement village if:
- the premises are residential premises; and
- accommodation in the premises is primarily intended for persons who are at least 55 years old; and
- the premises consist of one or more of the following kinds of accommodation:
- self-care units;
- serviced units;
- hostel units; and
- the premises include communal facilities for use by occupants of the units referred to above.
An entry contribution is the amount paid or agreed to be paid by a person for the right to live in a:
- retirement village; or
- granny flat.
If a person lives in a home subject to a sale leaseback agreement, the entry contribution is the balance of the amount still to be paid by a buyer, at the date of a sale leaseback agreement.
To determine whether a care receiver requires and is receiving a substantial level of care, they should meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Carer Allowance is being paid to a care provider in respect of the care receiver; or
- Carer Payment is being paid to a care provider in respect of the care receiver; or
- Care receiver is in receipt of Disability Support Pension or Invalidity Service Pension and because of their condition require assistance; or
- Care receiver is over pension age and regarded as frail; or
- Care receiver can provide medical evidence stating they left their home due to illness; or
- Care receiver can provide evidence that on their recent discharge from hospital they require assistance; or
- Care receiver has been assessed by ACAT and is awaiting institutional admission or has been accepted for approved respite care.