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Accommodation Bonds

The information on this page is valid from the 20th March 2014 until 30th June 2014

What is an accommodation bond?

You may be asked to pay an accommodation bond if you move into a low care or an extra-service facility. The bond is a payment in addition to the daily fee nd income-tested fees. t is a contribution to the cost of your accommodation and is used to maintain and updagradethe facility. 

Only facilities that have received Certification can charge an accommodation bond. Certification means that the facility has met Australian Government standards for the quality of the accommodation. This certificate must be produced by a facility upon request.

How much will I pay?

There is no fixed bond amount. If you have assets above $45,000 you may be asked to pay a bond. If you have a spouse/partner, half of your combined assets are counted. You must be left with assets of at least $45,000.

The home is excluded as an asset if your spouse/partner or dependent child is still living there. It is also excluded if:

  • your carer has been living there for at least two years or a close relative has been living there for five years  AND
  • either were receiving or were eligible for an income support payment at the time of the assets assessment or on the day you enter care (whichever is earlier). Note that the Carer Allowance is NOT classified as an income support payment.

What if I can't pay a bond?

If you have less than $45,000 in assets you cannot be asked to pay a bond. Facilities receive a higher government subsidy for residents who cannot pay a bond. They are considered to be fully supported residents.

If you have assets between $45,000 and $116,136, you may be asked to pay a small accommodation bond but you must be left with assets of $45,000. You are considered to be a partially supported resident and the government will pay a higher subsidy for you.

Do I get the bond back when I leave?

The facility will retain a small portion of the bond. The maximum retention amounts are listed below and may be taken from the bond for a maximum of five years or until the date you leave the facility (whichever is earlier).

 

Bond Amount

Maximum Monthly Retention Amount

Maximum Retained

$39,720 or more

$331

$19,860

Between $20,520 and $39,720

10% of the bond amount, divided by 12, rounded to the nearest $5

As per the formula x 60 months

Not more than $20,520

$171

$10, 260

 When you leave the facility the balance of the bond (initial bond amount minus the total retention amount) will be refunded. The facility also retains any interest ear ned on the bond money. The facility uses the retained amount and the interest earned on the bond to maintain and upgrade the facility.

How are my assets assessed?

Centrelink and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) assess assets of new residents entering aged care. Previously, asset assessments were done by the aged care facilities.

It is not compulsory to have an assets assessment. The assessment is to check your eligibility to receive government assistance. If you decide not to have an assets assessment you may be asked to pay a bond.

To apply, complete the form Request for an Assets Assessment and submit it to Centrelink or DVA. You can do this anytime after you have been approved by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) for residential aged care. The assessment can remain current for up to 6 months unless superseded by a revised assessment. The ACAT can provide copies of the form.

If you need assistance to complete the form, contact:

If you receive a Centrelink payment OR do not receive any income support payment 

Centrelink, tel. 1800 227 475

If you receive a Dept of Veterans’ Affairs payment   

DVA, tel. 133 254 (local call cost), 133 254; (country callers)

The outcome of your assessment will be sent to you, which you may pass on to an aged care provider.

What are my payment options?

A bond can be paid as either a lump sum, a periodic payment (fortnightly or monthly) or a combination of lump sum and periodic payment.

You will need to agree to an amount when you move into the facility. You may be charged  interest on the bond amount from the time you enter the facility.Fo all new residents from 20 March 2014 t0 31 March 2014 the maximum accommodation interest is 6.59%. For all new residents from 1 April 2014 to 30 June 2014 the maximum accommodation bond interest rate is 6.63%.

Centrelink's free Financial Information Service can provide financial information about these options. Tel. 132 300 (local call cost).

What if I rent my home?

If you pay the bond by periodic payments, you may choose to rent your former home to make the payments. If the bond is paid from rent, all rent received will be exempt for the pension income test and for calculating daily fees. As long as the home is rented to pay the bond, the value of the home will be exempt under the pension assets test.

Accommodation bond agreements

You must be asked to sign an accommodation bond agreement outlining the terms and conditions of the bond within 21 days of entering the facility. The bond agreement may be included as part of a resident agreement.

Leaving the low care facility

When you leave, the bond, less the retention amount, must be refunded within 14 days. In the case of the death of the resident, the bond balance must be refunded within 14 days after the day on which the facility is shown probate of the will of the resident or letters of administration of the estate of the resident.

If you move to another low care home, only the balance, if any, of the five-year retention period will carry over to the new facility.

If you have paid a bond and move to another facility as a high care resident within 28 days of leaving the low care facility, you have two options. With the agreement of the facility, you may either:

  • have the balance of the bond refunded (bond paid minus retention amount) and (if liable) pay an accommodation charge; or
  • transfer the balance of the bond to the new facility. In this case, only the balance, if any, of the five-year retention period will carry over to the new facility.

Hardship provisions

If payment of an accommodation bond will cause undue financial hardship, you may apply for assistance. Contact the My Aged Care, tel. 1800 200 422  and request the form Aged Care Application for Financial Assistance.

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Seniors Information Service is supported by funding from the Australian Government under the Commonwealth HACC Program.