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Archives for September 2020

Retirees looking over sunset

Aged Care – What’s the cost?

2020 has been an unconventional year, in which we have been faced with a once in a lifetime global health pandemic and our first recession in 20 years. A hot topic of late is the quality and safety of our aged care system, with the federal governments Aged Care Royal Commission well underway.

However, regardless of any flaws in our aged care system, it is still a key consideration for every Australian retiree and something that needs to be addressed as we get on with age and the need for ongoing care escalates. Below is a breakdown of the costs that you should expect if you are considering a move into an aged care facility.

Basic daily fee:

  • Payable by all residents as a contribution for day to day living costs such as meals, cleaning, laundry, heating and cooling.
  • Equivalent to 85% of the basic single person Age Pension.
  • Currently $52.25per day (residents in designated remote areas may pay $1.06 per day more).

Accommodation payment or contribution:

  • Cost of accommodation which may be payable depending on assets and income as well as choice of room. Also known as the applicable room fees, this can be negotiated with the aged care provider.
  • Payable by residents not eligible for government subsidy in respect of cost of accommodation, however, partial subsidy may be required depending on asset/income assessment.
  • Can be payable in either a fully refundable lump sum (RAD) or a daily accommodation payment (DAP) or a combination of both.

Means-tested care fee:

  • Contribution towards cost of care which may be payable depending on assets and income.
  • Income Component Thresholds – $27,840.80 per annum for singles and $27,320.80 (each) for a couple who are separated by illness. In a nutshell this means the tested fee will only apply to you if you earn above these income thresholds.
  • Asset Component Thresholds – There are three levels of asset thresholds which determine if you are low means, moderate means or high means. The asset free threshold for low means is $50,500, moderate means is $171,535.20 and anything above $413,605.60 is high means.
  • Subject to annual and lifetime caps with a current annual capping on fees of $28,087.41 and a lifetime capping of $67,409.85
  • Currently the maximum means-tested care fee payable is $256.44 per day.

Additional charges / Extra services fee:

  • Any other amounts agreed between the resident and the residential care facility.
  • Includes additional care or lifestyle options.

Furthermore, you will need to consider whether to keep or sell the family home and for couples a key consideration is to decide if you move into care together or become separated by illness. It is a very complicated process and every scenario needs to be assessed based on its unique circumstances.

Please contact one of our financial advisers if you need advice in this area.

Please note this article provides general advice only and has not taken your personal, business or financial circumstances into consideration. If you would like more tailored advice, please contact us today.

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What is the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card?

The federal government has introduced a wide range of stimulus measures in the aftermath of COVID-19, but one group that appears to be overlooked is self-funded retirees. However, if they know the way the system works, there is still one strategy that may be well worth pursuing. That is to apply for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC).

The criteria are simple. You must be of age pension age but not eligible to claim an age pension, and you must pass an income test. There is no asset test. The income test is $55,808 per annum for a single and $89,290 per annum combined for a couple. Thanks to the changes in the deeming rates, a couple with almost $4 million in financial assets could be eligible for the CSHC and all the benefits that go with it. These are the amounts you can have across all your financial assets, such as superannuation, bank accounts, shares, and managed funds.

The obvious question is whether the CSHC is worth having. It varies somewhat from state to state, but one benefit to all holders is that medicines listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) are supplied at the concessional rate. Once you reach the PBS safety net, you will usually be supplied further PBS prescriptions without charge for the remainder of the calendar year. It may also be possible to save on your medical consultations, if your doctors are happy to bulk bill. Also, depending on where you live, there could be a regional travel card and rebate on your energy costs.

It’s been a tough year for retirees, with dividends slashed or suspended, stock markets around the world up and down, and rents vanishing if you are a landlord. This is why any assistance you can get is worth going for. Depending on your situation, the CSHC could be worth over $6,000 to you.

Please note this article provides general advice only and has not taken your personal, business or financial circumstances into consideration. If you would like more tailored advice, please contact us today.

 

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2020