older ladies playing a gameIf you’re starting to investigate in-home aged-care options for yourself or a loved one, you’ll have come across a couple of kinds of support: Home Care Packages and the Commonwealth Home Support Program.

These two things seem quite similar, so sometimes people find it confusing to know which program offers what kinds of support, and which one is perfect for their needs.

This article will help end all that confusion and explain the differences and similarities between both of these in-home aged-care support options, so you can make a clear choice.

Firstly, let’s look at what each program is.

What is the Commonwealth Home Support Program?

The CHSP provides entry-level support for older Australians. It is suitable for people who can still manage living at home, independently, but could do with some additional help for one or two tasks – like cleaning the house, personal care or looking after the garden.

CHSP is subsidised by the Australian Government, but there are some fees to pay to your in-home aged-care support provider.

What are Home Care Packages?

older man having tea and chat with younger ladyHome Care Packages are for older Australians who have more complex needs and therefore need a greater level of support to remain living in their own homes.

These packages are tailored to your needs, based on a professional assessment by someone from the Aged Care Assessment Team. In general terms, though, there are four “levels” of packages, each with a different level of funding, and you’re able to choose which services you want to use that funding for.

What are the key differences between CHSPs and HCPs?

Let’s take a look at the key differences between the Commonwealth Home Support Program and Home Care Packages.
They fall into three broad categories:

1. The support you receive

If you only need a little bit of help, perhaps once a week or once a fortnight, then the CHSP is for you. It’s also ideal if you might need help for a short period of time, for example, if you’re returning home after a stay in hospital and need support for a week or two.

With the CHSP, the services you receive are decided by your assessor and based on your needs.

By comparison, HCPs are suitable for people who need higher levels of support on a regular or more constant basis, and you get to decide which services you receive.

Both CHSPs and HCPs provide the following kinds of services:

Chorus Gardening - older lady in garden with Chorus gardener
  • Personal care
  • Domestic support (e.g., cleaning)
  • Home maintenance and modifications (e.g., handrails)
  • Nursing care
  • Equipment and aids to help you live independently
  • Transportation
  • Meals on Wheels and similar services
  • Respite care
  • Allied health support.
2. The division of costs and your contribution

The payment methods for the two systems are also different.

CHSPs are subsidised by the Australian Government but you are required to contribute towards the cost of the support you receive. (The amount you’re expected to contribute is calculated based on your personal situation.)

You’ll also be asked to contribute towards the cost of an HCP, if you can afford it, but the subsidy from the government is much higher (after all, depending on your level, HCPs can be worth more than $50,000 a year).

Fees for HCPs are capped but include a basic daily fee, an income-tested care fee and potentially some additional fees. You can find out more on the My Aged Care website, or by giving the team at Chorus a call. We’re happy to explain all the fees to you.

3. How you’re assessed as eligibleChorus staff member helping older lady with iPad

If you’re over 65 and having trouble doing some everyday activities and need a little help to continue living independently in your own home, then you may be eligible for a CHSP.

You can receive a CHSP without having an income assessment and without it affecting your pension, but your eligibility to receive services will need to be approved by your Regional Assessment Service.

To receive an HCP you will need to be assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT), who will determine not just your eligibility but the level of support (and therefore the package) you need.

For either kind of assessment you need to register with My Aged Care first on 1800 200 422, or you can apply online.

How we can help you live independently

Chorus can help you stay at home in your older years and advise you on eligibility criteria and how to be assessed for home-care services. Get in touch on 1800 264 268 or hello@chorus.org.au if you’d like to speak to someone about your in-home care options.