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7.5 Veterans' Home Care program

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Last amended 
5 February 2016

For clients who hold a DVA Health Card, asssistance to live independently in the community can be provided through the Veterans' Home Care (VHC) Program.

VHC Services include:

  • domestic assistance - means assistance with domestic chores, including help with general cleaning, dish washing, washing and ironing and bed making. It may also include help with some meal preparation if this service is not being provided separately. In rural and remote areas, it may also include activities such as collecting firewood. 
  • home and garden maintenance - includes tasks such as replacing light bulbs and tap washers or other tasks agreed between the veteran and the service provider. Home and garden maintenance does not include major home repairs such as gutter replacement, landscaping and garden tasks such as branch lopping, tree felling or tree removal. Nor does it include routine, cosmetic or ornamental gardening services such as maintenance of flower beds, regular lawn mowing and pruning of roses, unless there is a safety hazard. Home and garden maintenance does not include the provision of materials.
  • respite care – means relief for a carer who has responsibility for the ongoing care, attention and support of another person who is in ill health or incapacitated. It provides an alternative form of care and enables carers to have a break. Respite care services may be provided in an appropriate accommodation setting or at home (including overnight or emergency care), or a combination of these.

Co-payments apply to VHC services, except for respite care services.

The VHC program also provides personal care services. Information about this can be found in section 8.9 of this Guide.

Duplicate benefits

Where household services are required due to an accepted condition under the MRCA or the SRCA, then the household services provisions in the appropriate Act should be used instead of the VHC Program. It is legislatively prescribed in the MRCA Treatment Principles that double dipping is not permitted for similar services as provided by VHC. With respect to SRCA, although it is not legislatively prescribed, for consistency, double-dipping should also be avoided between the SRCA provisions and VHC. Utilising the household services provisions in the respective Acts is part of a client-centric approach to provision of services because a wider ranges of services are available through these provisions, than through the VHC. Additionally, no co-payments are required when services are provided through the MRCA/SRCA household services provisions.

This approach does not apply to respite care services through the VHC program.

Referrals to VHC

When a request for household services is received, VHC can be considered to fill any gaps in service provision when:

  • the client holds a DVA Health Card;
  • a VHC assessment confirms that the services can be provided; and
  • the required services cannot be provided using the MRCA or SRCA household services provisions because the need is not related to the client's accepted conditions; or
  • the client's claim for services under the MRCA or SRCA provisions is not considered reasonably required due to the client's individual circumstances.

Clients who hold a DVA Health Card may be referred to a VHC assessment agency for consideration of their respite care needs.

To refer a client to a VHC assessment agency, please ask the client to contact 1300 450 550. Alternatively, delegates may contact the VHC Contract Support team for assistance.

Changes have been made to VHC View to alert VHC assessment agencies to potential MRCA or SRCA entitlements. It is therefore important in making the referral that the assessment agency is aware that the client's eligibility for household services has already been tested. This will help prevent a client being referred back to the department unnecessarily.

If clients are experiencing barriers or issues being considered for the VHC Program, please contact the Rehabilitation Policy section at rehabilitation@dva.gov.au who will liaise with the VHC Contract Support team.

Wholly dependent partners and eligible young persons do not have access to the household services provisions in Chapter 4 of the MRCA. Therefore, domestic assistance or home and garden maintenance services can only be accessed through the VHC program.

More information about the VHC program generally is available from the Veterans' Home Care page on the DVA website.