Last amended: 1 July 2014

Who is considered to be “In Care”?


A person is considered to be in care, if they are:

  • an aged care resident,
  • in non government subsidised care
  • in a multi purpose service
  • a nursing home patient in a hospital
  • in respite care[glossary:,:]    
  • receiving community based care
  • personally providing community based care.
  • receiving Home Care and Veterans Home Care.
Who is considered to be an aged care resident?


An aged care resident is a person who is receiving residential care conducted by an approved provider, for at least 14 consecutive days, and the care recipient has been approved for that care under the Aged Care Act 1997 legislation. The person must be occupying an “approved bed”, that is the approved facility must be receiving a subsidy in respect of the person, for the definition of aged care resident to be met.

A person in respite care is not regarded as an aged care resident under the VEA.

Note: Advice from the Department of Social Services (DSS) may be needed to confirm whether an approved care facility is receiving a subsidy in respect of the person. Where there is conflicting information, the advice from DSS is to be given greater weight than advice from the approved care provider.

Non government subsidised care

A person is considered to be in Non-Government Subsidised Care if no Australian Government subsidy is payable to the facility in respect of their care and/or accommodation. This generally means that such pensioners are paying the full cost of their accommodation and any care they may receive.

Multi Purpose Service (MPS)

Multi-Purpose Services (MPS) are designed specifically for rural and regional areas, to bring together a range of health and aged care services under one management structure, where traditional styles of services may not usually be viable. However, unlike residential aged care facilities, care recipients are not required to be ACAT assessed and MPS facilities do not receive Australian Government funding for individual residents. Therefore recipients residing in MPS facilities may be eligible to receive rent assistance on the amount of rent they pay to their MPS service provider.

Nursing home patient in a hospital (NHTP)

A patient may be classed as a nursing home type patient (NHTP) in a hospital bed either awaiting placement to an approved facility or there long term as there is no appropriate local facility (eg. a remote locality). Any patient who has been in hospital for more than 35 days in a 12 month period, and for whom a doctor has not certified the need for acute care is also a NHTP.

Costs and subsidies for NHTP

A NHTP cannot be fully covered for hospital costs by a person's health fund and therefore the person must contribute to their stay in hospital. The State Governments set the NHTP contribution. The National Health Act 1953 does not allow health funds to insure for this part of the cost. These persons are not in approved residential care and are eligible for rent assistance in respect of any money paid for their accommodation.

Note: This should not be confused with an aged care resident going to hospital (as an in-patient) to receive treatment. Government aged care subsidy continues to be paid for residents during periods of hospital leave, so rent assistance is not payable.

Respite care


Residential respite care is a form of short-term care provided in aged care facilities for the purposes of giving a carer, or care recipient, a short break from their usual caring arrangement.     

Receiving community-based care


A person is considered to be receiving community-based care, if the person needs, and has been receiving or is likely to receive, a substantial level of care in a private residence for at least 14 consecutive days. A private residence includes all private accommodation arrangements, including Supported Residential Services     

Providing community-based care


A person is considered to be providing community-based care, if the person is personally:

  • providing a substantial level of care needed by the other person in a private residence; and
  • providing, or is likely to provide, that level of care for at least 14 consecutive days.
Pension assessment rules for community-based care

A person receiving or providing community-based care is considered to be “in-care” and therefore the assessment rules contained in the 9.2.4/In Care Assessment Rules apply. The term “community-based care” is specifically for pension purposes to ensure those who leave their principal home to receive or provide care in these situations, have access to the home exemption rules and rent assistance, subject to other relevant criteria being met.  The residential situations are defined in terms of a substantial level of care being received or provided in a private residence, for at least 14 consecutive days. There is no requirement or linkage to any ACAT assessment.

Home Care packages and Veterans' Home Care

Home Care is comprised of various services that are designed to help people to stay at home. Veterans' Home Care (VHC) provides services to assist eligible veterans and war widows/widowers with low level care needs to remain independent in their homes.     

Receiving care through a home care package or VHC is not a change of residential situation.  Fees payable are not considered rent for rent assistance purposes.