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5.4.3 Independent Living Programs - Veterans Home Care and Household and Attendant Care services

Last amended 
6 April 2023

Some clients may require additional support in order to live independently in the community. This support may be provided through the treatment provisions via the Veterans' Home Care Program (VHC), or through household services or attendant care services provisions in Division 3 of Chapter 4 of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA), and section 29 of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1998 (DRCA).

Further information about household services and attendant care services can be found in chapter 7 and chapter 8 of this Guide.

Services that can accessed through the Veterans' Home Care (VHC) Program include:

  • domestic assistance (such as house cleaning, laundry and shopping);
  • personal care (such as assistance with eating, bathing, dressing and grooming);
  • safety-related home and garden maintenance (such as replacing light globes, cleaning of gutters and cutting back of garden foliage which is creating a safety hazard); and
  • respite care to provide relief for a carer who has responsibility for the ongoing care, attention and support of another person who is in ill-health or incapacitated. 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.

Where the services are required due to an accepted condition under the MRCA or the DRCA then the household services and attendant care provisions in the appropriate Act should be used. This is a legislative requirement in the MRCA Treatment Principles that double dipping is not permitted for similar services as provided by VHC. Though not a legislative requirement, for consistency, double-dipping should also be avoided between the DRCA provisions and VHC. This is part of a client-centric approach to provision of services, as a wider range of services are available through the MRCA and DRCA provisions, and no co-payments are required.

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

  • the required services cannot be provided using the DRCA and MRCA provisions, as the need is not related to the client's accepted conditions; and
  • the client holds a DVA Health Card; and
  • a VHC assessment confirms that the services can be provided.

To refer a client to a VHC assessment agency, please ask the client to contact 1300 550 450 to be connected to their nearest VHC assessment agency. 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/DRCA entitlements. Therefore, it is important when making the referral, that the assessment agency is aware that the client's eligibility for household services or attendant care services has already been tested. This will help to prevent a client being referred back to the department unnecessarily.

If clients are experiencing barriers or issues to being considered by the VHC Program, please contact the Rehabilitation Policy Section, who will liaise with the VHC Contract Support team.