On this page you will find information, links to BCA submissions and the BCA policy Position regarding Support for over 65s and how it might impact people who are blind or vision impaired. This page will have regular updates and information added as it comes to hand. So re-visit regularly.
Information on Support for over 65s
The following information might assist you in understanding what support is available for people who are over the age of 65.
Can over 65s access the National Disability Insurance Scheme?
If you become an NDIS participant before turning 65, you can choose to continue receiving support through the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
If you are 65 years or older when the NDIS is rolled out in your area, you will not be eligible for the scheme. If, however, you will only narrowly miss out on the NDIS because of your age, there are early entry provisions that may still allow you to get in. If you think you might fit into this category, please contact Blind Citizens Australia immediately.
What is continuity of support?
If you were already accessing state-managed disability services before the NDIS rolled out in your area, you should continue to receive support that is Consistent with these arrangements. The Department of Health is rolling out a new programme called the Commonwealth Continuity of Support Programme to make sure this happens.
The Continuity of Support Programme is an operational arrangement between the Department of Health and disability service providers. This means you shouldn’t need to do anything to be entered into the programme. It should just happen automatically. There are some providers that won’t be registered to provide supports Under the Commonwealth Continuity of Support Programme though and if yours is one of them, it is possible that you may have to find a new service provider.
The Continuity of Support Programme will not commence roll out until next year and Like the NDIS, it’s being rolled out progressively across Australia over the next three years. Because of these factors, there are still a lot of unknowns, but please monitor the support you are receiving and if things change, Contact Blind Citizens Australia immediately.
What is My Aged Care?
Even if you are rolled into the continuity of support programme, your needs might change over time and you might need some additional support. If this happens, you will need to access this support through My Aged Care. In the future, people who acquire vision loss after the age of 65 will also need to access support through My Aged Care.
There are two types of support packages available through My Aged Care: home care packages and residential care packages. Residential care packages are designed to meet the needs of individuals who need to transition to an aged care facility, while Home care packages are designed to enable people to continue living in their homes for as long as possible.
Most people who are blind or vision impaired who are over the age of 65 will be able to benefit from a home care package. Home care packages can include things like:
- Personal support, such as assistance with bathing or getting dressed
- Domestic support, such as assistance with cleaning or shopping
- Provision of meals or other food services
- Assistance with transport, for example to be able to attend appointments or other activities within the community
- Social support, such as assistance with recreational or physical activities
- Provision of aids and equipment
- Home maintenance and modifications
If you want to access support through My Aged Care, the first step involves having an assessment to see if you are eligible. You can arrange an assessment by contacting the My Aged Care Gateway on 1800 200 422, or by visiting www.myagedcare.gov.au
How much does My Aged Care Cost?
There are basic daily fees that apply to services that are registered to provide support Under My Aged Care. The maximum basic daily fee for a home care package currently averages out at just under $10 a day, while the basic daily fee for a residential care package averages out at just under $50 a day. If you are accessing a home care or a residential care package, you may be asked to pay the daily basic fee, or more depending on your income and assets.
For more information about income and assets testing for aged care services, refer to the ‘Schedule of Fees and Charges for Residential and Home Care’, available from the Department of Health at: schedule of fees and charges for residential and home care
What if I can’t afford aged care services?
The amount of money you will be expected to contribute towards your aged care services is ultimately negotiated between you and your service provider. Once these costs have been agreed upon, they will be written up in a formal agreement. Some older people with disability have successfully had their co-payments waved by negotiating with their service provider and putting a strong case forward as to why they should not be charged. You might also like to try this approach.
If you aren’t able to negotiate a lower co-payment with your service provider and contributing to your care and support arrangements would cause you financial hardship, you can apply for a Hardship Supplement. If you are assessed as being unable to pay part or all of the required co-payments once submitting your application, the government can step in and make sure you still get the support you need. To apply for the hardship supplement, you will need to submit a formal application to the Department of Human Services. For further information about the application process, contact the Department of Human Services on 1800 227 475.
What if things go wrong?
If you have a problem that you have not been able to resolve with your service provider, you can lodge a complaint with the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner. Once your complaint has been accepted, the Commissioner may be able to investigate and help you to resolve it. You can phone the Office of the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner on 1800 550 552, or visit www.agedcarecomplaints.gov.au
There are also Aged Care Advocacy Services operating in all Australian states and territories. An Aged Care Advocacy Service can help you by:
- giving you information about your rights and responsibilities
- listening to your story
- Providing support to help you resolve problems with your service provider
- Speaking with your service provider on your behalf
- Referring you to another agency that may be in a better position to assist you
To be transferred to the Aged Care Advocacy Service in your state or territory, you can contact the National Aged Care Advocacy Line on 1800 700 600.
If the problems you are experiencing relate specifically to blindness or vision impairment, please contact Blind Citizens Australia on 03 9654 1400 or toll free 1800 033 660 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Aged Care Legislative Review
A robust and responsive aged care system is core to the needs of Australians who are blind or vision impaired. According to Vision 2020 Australia, around 80% of vision loss in Australia is caused by conditions that become more common as people age. This raises a number of implications for Australia’s aging population, with one in every four Australians projected to be 65 years of age or older by the year 2056.
Blind Citizens Australia asserts that older Australians who are blind or vision impaired, when provided with the appropriate support, can continue to lead full and active lives and make valuable contributions to their communities. To this end, we welcome the opportunity to contribute to the review of Aged Care services in Australia and thank the Aged Care Sector Committee for providing us with this opportunity.
Go here to Read the BCA Aged Care Legislative Review Submission (Word doc 117kb)
BCA Position Statement on My Aged Care
For reading or download, here you will find a copy of the Blind Citizens Australia Position Statement on My Aged Care (Word docx)
Aged Care and NDIS written by Lynne Davis, BCA board member (NDIS and MAC portfolio)
To all those who have shared their views and concerns of the My Aged Care reforms with myself and the staff at BCA, thank you for such an articulate and useful discussion.
I joined the board of Blind Citizens Australia in late 2015 and was given the portfolio responsibility for The NDIS and My Aged Care. I have been following your feedback and discussions on the bca list with great interest. There is evidently a lot of concern amongst blind and vision impaired people aged 65 and over concerning the future of disability support services under the My Aged Care arrangements, and these concerns are fueled by a lack of information about the new and proposed arrangements.
Our immediate priority, as the organisation representing blind and vision impaired Australians, is to collect as much information as we can about our members concerns and then to advocate for these concerns to be addressed. I would welcome further discussion of your concerns on the bca list, as well as the opportunity to speak to you in person about them. I can be contacted by phone on 0419 637 618, or (02) 9439 3504.
We will also do what we can to improve the quality of information which is being provided about the MAC arrangements as they apply to people who are blind or vision impaired, as access to this information seems to be very limited at present.
Finally, if you have had some direct experience of the new arrangements, it would be very interesting to hear from you.
Let’s do what we can to ensure that age is not a factor in determining whether Australians who are blind or vision impaired receive the services and supports which they need!
Looking forward to hearing from you,