Some aged care residents will find it beneficial to swiftly complete the Department of Human Services’ SA457 form to reduce fees they are charged by aged care facilities.

Stuart Sheary, IOOF Technical Services Manager said: “Residents should submit a completed SA457 form upon entering age care to avoid paying too much in means tested care fees.”

The means testing process for some aged care fees depends on specific client circumstances. A resident’s assessable income and assets will determine their liability for:

  • an accommodation payment or accommodation contribution, and
  • a means-tested care fee.

Approximately 70 per cent of individuals of age pension age receive at least a part age pension.  This means that Centrelink already has the income and asset details of most aged care residents.  If the resident is not an income support recipient they may choose not to disclose their asset and income details.  This intention not to disclose asset and income details can be communicated within the SA457 form.  At the time of writing, this would be achieved by ticking ‘NO’ on question 10 of the form.

After initially declining to provide their income and asset details, for example by ticking ‘no’ to question 10 on the form, the resident may resubmit their SA457 at a later time.  If the form is submitted within 12 months the reassessment can apply from date of entry and any overpaid means tested fees will be refunded.  If it is submitted after 12 months the reassessment will apply from the date the new details are provided. In this instance, any overpaid means tested care fees will not be refunded.

Mr Sheary, commented further: “Given that there can be significant delays in Centrelink’s processing it is suggested that the SA457 form be completed accurately and promptly. Residents who do not complete the form run the risk of paying too much in aged care fees.

“However, if the resident unintentionally fails to submit the form but later submits it, the details provided will apply from the date of entry into care.  There is no time limit for an initial submission.  Any refunds (if applicable) for means tested fees already paid will be backdated to date of entry.”

How does Centrelink assess a resident’s means?

The resident’s income and assets are used to calculate a resident’s means tested amount.  This means tested amount can determine the resident’s accommodation cost and ongoing care fees.

Income and assets assessed for social security income support payments such as the Age Pension, Newstart Allowance etc., are generally assessed in the same way when calculating a resident’s means tested amount.  However, there are exceptions. A couple of notable exceptions for residents moving into care include the assessment of the former home and treatment of social security income support payments.

Source: Symbolic Strategic Communications

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