A sustained low national birth rate and increased life expectancy means the ratio of those aged 65-plus increases significantly every year. As such, the laws around how our elderly population is housed and cared for effect more Victorians than ever before. These laws, however, can be quite complex and it is crucial that care receivers understand fully how the aged care system works and, particularly, how it is funded, since any move into this system will, likely, affect recipients for life.

Contributor

Rebecca Edwards, Tabitha O'Shea, Andelka Obradovic and Julia Jeffries

Lawyers, Seniors Rights Victoria

Going into residential care and selling a home

Last updated

1 July 2021

Commonly, when an older person goes to live in a residential aged-care facility, their home is assessed as an asset and is sold to pay the ingoing refundable bond or deposit of the aged-care facility.

Section 44.26A of the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth) outlines how the value of a person’s assets is to be assessed for the purpose of determining the aged-care facility’s fees (e.g. the bond or deposit and ongoing fees).

For older people who own their home, the value of their home is to be disregarded if, at the time of the person going into care, their home was occupied by:

  1. the person’s partner or a dependent child;
  2. a carer who had occupied the home for the past two years, and who is eligible to receive an income support payment at the time;
  3. a close relation of the older person who had occupied the home for the past five years and who was eligible to receive an income support payment at the time.

Therefore, in instances where an adult child with a disability is living with a parent – and has been for five years or more, and the adult child receives an income support payment – the home should not be included as an asset. For parents of adults with a disability living at home, specialist advice may be required about planning for when a parent goes to live in an aged-care facility.

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Health, wills and other legal issues affecting older people