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C03/2007 Supported Residential Services (SRS)


DATE OF ISSUE:  12 January 2007

Supported Residential Services (SRS)

Amended by DI No.



This Departmental Instruction is to advise staff of:

  • the correct income support assessment of Supported Residential Services (SRS) residents, and
  • interim guidelines for DVA-funded residential respite.

Contact officers

Any enquiries about the income support aspects of this instruction should be directed to Elaine Tse, Income Support and Aged Care Policy (16011).

Any residential respite enquiries should be directed to Marion Springer, VHC Policy (16703).

Ric Moore

A/g National Manager

Income Support & Aged Care Policy Group

   January 2007

Wayne Penniall

National Manager

Community Care Policy Group

   January 2007

Residential Situation – Income support assessment

Background –  concessional treatment

Under section 5L(7) of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA), the former home of an aged care resident, or of a person in a care situation may be exempt as an asset for up to 2 years, if there is no partner remaining in the home.  Persons who are receiving community-based care are included as being in a care situation under section 5NC(3).

Service delivery areas have sought clarification regarding the eligibility of SRS residents to the above concession provided to aged care residents and those receiving community care.

Nature of SRS

Departmental Instruction C17/2006 of 31 July 2006 explained that SRSs are privately owned and operated businesses in Victoria, offering supported accommodation to older people and people with a disability.  SRSs receive no direct government funding and they vary in the services they provide, the people they accommodate and the fees they charge.

SRS – not aged care facilities

All SRSs must be registered by the Victorian Department of Human Services and comply with the requirements of that State's Health Services Act 1988 and Health Services (Supported Residential Services) Regulations 2001.

However, aged care accreditation is not applicable and ACAT/ACAS assessments are not required for entry to an SRS.  As such, SRS residents are not regarded as aged care residents for income support purposes.

SRS – not community-based care

For a person to be considered as receiving community-based care, they must be “receiving a substantial level of care in a private residence for at least 14 consecutive days”,  as prescribed in subsection 5NC(3).

In this context, a private residence must be taken to be the pensioner's, or the carer's, private home, or a similar domestic arrangement.  The 1995/96 Budget Briefing papers which explained the intent behind the changes to in care situations confirm that these changes were aimed at pensioners receiving “familial care”.

Residents in accommodation that operates on a commercial basis, such as SRS or similar, do not satisfy the “private residence” requirement and thus these residents are not in an “in care situation”.

Continued on next page

Residential Situation – Income support assessment, Continued

SRS residents –former home is an asset

SRS residency does not fall within any of the further situations outlined in section 5NC that would allow a resident to be regarded as being in an in care situation.  As such, if the move to the SRS is permanent, there is no basis to exempt the former home, so the home becomes an assessable asset immediately.

The policy position for the assessment of SRS residents has been agreed between this Department and the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

In responding to inquiries, or notification about a pensioner's move from their principal home to “residential care”,  delegates must carefully assess the nature of the new accommodation.  Where the pensioner is not an aged care resident, the delegate must be satisfied that the in-care requirements set out in section 5NC of the VEA are met, before advising a pensioner that their former principal home will be assets-test exempt.

Factors to be considered

Delegates may refer to the link on the Victorian Government Heath Information website to correctly identify whether a nominated facility is a registered SRS

Once it has been established that a pensioner has taken up residence at an SRS, the following factors need to be addressed to ensure the residential situation is correctly recorded for the pension assessment:

  • if the move is temporary,
  • if an entry contribution has been paid, and
  • the amount to be recorded as rent is to exclude amounts paid for board

Temporary absence

A person may move to an SRS for a short-term, for example due to an emergency, or the needs of a carer.

Where a home-owner temporarily vacates their home, the residence continues to be taken as the person's principal home under 5L(7)(a) for a period not exceeding 12 months.  The home is not an asset and the person continues to be regarded as a property owner, so rent assistance is not payable.

The person's residential situation can be maintained in PIPS.  A review should be set for the anticipated return date, or in 12 months, whichever is shorter, to confirm their return to the principal residence.

Continued on next page

Residential Situation – Income support assessment, Continued

Entry contribution paid

SRS residents pay recurring fees, for their care and accommodation.  SRS facilities at the upper end of the market may charge residents an entry contribution.

For information regarding the discretionary powers for delegates to determine that an SRS could be treated as a retirement village, refer to CLIK Policy at P9/C2/S5/Special Residence – Assessment Rules.

Ongoing fees

SRSs charge a range of fees which vary significantly and are not legislated by government.  For example, residents may pay 85-100% of their pension for accommodation, meals and support.

Meals, or board is not counted as rent for the purposes of rent assistance (RA).   Only the amount paid for 'lodging' or accommodation is counted as rent for RA purposes.

Delegates may need to request a copy of the residential statement which sets out the resident's fees and charges.   If the statement does not identify an amount for lodging, two-thirds of the total amount will be considered as the rent component.

Continued on next page

Residential Situation – Income support assessment, Continued

PIPS -Residential group - situation

To ensure consistency in the assessment of SRS residents, it is recommended the following PIPS residential group/situations be used:

If the SRS resident...


  • paid an entry contribution, and the SRS premises are determined to meet the definition of a retirement village

Record as Special Resident -

Retirement Village

Entry contribution amount will determine home-owner status and RA eligibility.

  • paid an entry contribution, but the discretion to consider the SRS premises as a retirement village cannot be applied

Record as Tenant -

Boarders & Lodgers

Any entry contribution is recorded as a loan.

  • did not pay an entry contribution

Record as Tenant -

Boarders & Lodgers

If the residential situation of “tenant - boarders & lodgers” is selected, PIPS will automatically use 2/3 of the rent amount recorded to calculate RA.

However, if the SRS is to be regarded as a retirement village, the delegate will need to manually deduct any amount paid for board and only record the amount paid for accommodation as rent.

Facilities for residential respite

Background – use of SRS

The use of unapproved facilities for veteran residential respite is widespread and varies significantly across the States in the type and nature of facilities used.  Under long-standing arrangements, particularly in Victoria, the Department approves and funds residential respite through the Veterans' Home Care program in SRSs.

Commission Submission

In August 2006, a Commission submission (CM 5928) raised  a number of issues concerning the use of SRSs and other unapproved facilities for residential respite.  These issues included the unregulated standards of care, the lack of legislative authority for DVA to support and fund the respite care, the lack of regulation or government control over the fees and the additional cost to DVA and veterans (above that of approved facilities) and the inconsistency in service provision within and across the States.

Consultation with stakeholders

Following consultation with the Department of Health and Ageing and the veteran community, the Community Care Group will provide policy direction and strategies for improved practice in relation to the approval and funding of residential respite in unapproved facilities.

Interim guidelines

In the interim, until this issue is determined by Commission, the following principles are to be adopted for new clients seeking DVA-funded residential respite:

  • Veterans are to be encouraged to plan for respite;
  • Assessment by Aged Care Assessment Teams be sought prior to veterans being approved for DVA funded residential respite, noting that such assessments determine the level of care needed and are consistent with the Aged Care Act 1997 for Australian Government subsidised care:
  • The use of unapproved facilities be restricted to situations where accommodation in Australian Government approved facilities is unavailable or in emergency or otherwise exceptional circumstances (consistent with part 10.8 of the Treatment Principles).