Do you know the difference between an approved for a home care package and assigned a home care package?
Recently there has been a lot of confusion amongst our elders and their adult children as to whether they have a HACC Package that they can access or not.
Being Approved for a package DOES NOT mean being assigned a package! You may still be on the National Queue. This situation is very confusing for everyone and is leading to a lot of frustration.
In fact, if you are approved, then you should check to see that your case is on the National Queue, as it is possible that you have been missed out. During the transition to the new My Aged Care system, some people that were previously waiting for their packages have been lost in the data migration.
To check your situation, you should have received two letters from the Government after your ACAT Assessment.
Letter 1 – Approval from ACAT
Within two weeks of your ACAT Assessment, you will receive the first letter which states that you are “approved as eligible to receive” a Home Care Package.
It is easy to think that this letter means that you now have a Home Care Package, but it does not. The language that the letter is written in is not very clear.
The letter actually means that you have been approved to go on the National Queue in My Aged Care. You are now officially waiting your turn to be assigned your package.
If more than two weeks has passed and you have still not received your letter, you can call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 and ask for another copy to be mailed out to you. It is easy for elders or other family members to file the letter away without understanding it.
Letter 2 - Access to your Home Care Package
This second letter informs you that you have been assigned a Home Care Package and that it is now available to use. It also states that you have 56 days to choose your provider from the approved provider list.
As a side note, if you don’t notify My Aged Care which Approved Provider you have chosen within their 56-day timeframe, your Home Care Package is taken back by the Government and reallocated to someone else. But don't panic! Just ask for a 28-day extension to finalise your choice by calling My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.
Of course, the question everyone wants to know is the answer to is: how long is the wait on the National Queue?
The short answer is that it's too soon to know. The new system only commenced on 27 February 2017. Hopefully expected waiting times will be published by My Aged Care in the second half of 2017.
However, we do know that your place in the queue depends on:
- the date when you had your ACAT Assessment;
- your level of care needs (1, 2, 3 or 4); and
- your priority status (moderate or high).
Your key action now: If you have not received your assignment letter, call My Aged Care and confirm that you are still in the National Queue. You need to keep doing this every five months as there is a risk that you will be dropped off if they don't hear from you every six months!
Also note that self-funded retirees have a lower priority than pensioners and therefore, they have a longer wait.
If you have a fall or your condition worsens while you are waiting on the National Queue, then call My Aged Care, and they move you faster up the queue.
If you need help understanding your letters or navigating the My Aged Care website, then please call us on 1300 85 40 80, or visit our website www.thecareside.com.au for more information.