There are extra supplements and funding available for people who are veterans, war widows or war widowers
The Department of Veterans' Affairs can assist you with all aged care service-related matters
Veterans have 'Special Needs Group' status in the aged care sector
The Veterans' Home Care (VHC) program, introduced by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), can help you with low-level care needs to live independently in your own home for longer.
The VHC offers a range of services including:
Domestic assistance, including internal house cleaning, unaccompanied shopping or bill management
Personal care, like showering, toileting or eating
Home and garden maintenance, such as changing light bulbs, cleaning around the home, maintaining your garden
Respite care in either your home, a residential aged care facility or Emergency Short-Term Home Relief (ESTHR) where your carer is unable to provide care suddenly
The home care services aims to maintain your health and wellbeing while ensuring you can live at home for as long as possible.
However, this program is not for people who require more complex or high-level care services.
To access the program, call the Veterans' Home Care Assessment Agency on 1300 550 450 for an assessment for the services. The assessment is over the phone and the assessor will ask about your home situation and see what services you may benefit from.
After you have services in place providing home care, your VHC Assessment Agency will reassess you every six to nine months.
If you have higher personal care needs or require specific medical assistance, such as wound care or medication management, a nurse from the Community Nursing program can come to your home to assist.
The nurses can also provide basic personal care, like hygiene, showering, and dressing.
If you are eligible for this service, you will not need to pay as the DVA will cover the cost of services for you. The Community Nursing provider you choose will directly bill the DVA.
To receive these services you need to be referred for an assessment from a health professional such as your GP, a hospital doctor or discharge planner, or VHC Assessment Agency.
If you are not eligible for veteran-specific home support programs you may be able to get help through the Government-funded Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) or Home Care Packages program.
There is a Veterans' Supplement available for home care services. This means you receive additionally funding for your Home Care Package provider to cover any extra costs for mental health-related services you may need.
Veterans have a ‘special needs group’ status to support complex medical requirements that include the need for high levels of emotional and cultural support in old age, as a result of a veterans’ wartime experience.
Veterans and war widows(ers) still need to contribute to the payment of the aged care they are receiving, however, you do receive extra entitlements as a DVA client in a nursing home.
The Government has introduced the Veterans’ Supplement to improve access to residential aged care for veterans with mental health conditions.
Any veteran who lives in a Government-funded residential aged care facility and has a mental health condition/s accepted by the DVA is eligible to receive the Veterans’ Supplement.
This may include mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, other anxiety disorders, depression or substance misuse disorders.
The Veterans’ Supplement is paid directly to an aged care provider if you are eligible, and you or your authorised representative have provided consent to disclose your eligibility information to the provider. Payment is ongoing for the duration of the time you are in care. New consent will not be required if you change facilities.
For more information about veteran-specific services call DVA on 13 32 54 or email DVAagedcare@DVA.gov.au.
What other supports would you find useful when receiving aged care services or living in a nursing home? Tell us in the comments below.