Who can apply?

To apply for ACAT you need to be 65 years or older (or 50 years or older if you’re Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander).

You don’t need to be an Australian citizen, but you do need to be an Australian resident with a valid Medicare card.

You can apply online via the government portal, My Aged Care.

The application process

At IRT, we’re always happy to help at any stage of the process

Call 13 44 78 (Mon–Fri, 8.30am–5pm AEST), or enquire online.

Step 1: Check your eligibility

To find out if you’re eligible, there are actually two assessments involved. You first need to do a simple preliminary assessment by phone or email to see if you qualify for an ACAT assessment, then the actual face-to-face ACAT assessment can go ahead.  You can access the first one via My Aged Care’s online assessment tool or by calling 1800 200 422.

During the initial assessment, you may be asked:

  • Your age
  • Which aged care services you’re interested in (if you know)
  • Any medical assessments or referrals you’ve had to date
  • How you manage with day-to-day activities
  • If you have any health issues or concerns about your safety.

There are two types of face-to-face assessments

The information you provide during your initial call with My Aged Care will determine the type of face-to-face assessment you receive. If you have indicated you have:

  1. Low-level needs:

The Regional Assessment Service (RAS) will contact you to assess you for the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP), which aims to keep you living independently in your home. This program can give you access to one or two subsidised entry-level home care services.

  1. Higher and more complex needs:

The Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) will contact you to assess you for:

  • Home care services
  • Aged care homes
  • Short-term care options (e.g. respite care)

Step 2: Have your face-to-face assessment

An ACAT representative will visit you at your own home or in hospital (if you’ve been admitted) so that they can assess your needs for care and support. Consider having a family member or your carer with you. Beyond offering extra comfort, they may also make it much easier to provide the assessor with necessary information or make the process a bit smoother for you generally.

What to prepare before your assessment:

  • Your contact details (address, telephone and email address)
  • Medicare card details
  • Medicare card and contact details of your nominated representative (if you wish for someone else, such as a family member, to speak or act on your behalf)

Expect to discuss and go through:

  • Your health, lifestyle and general wellbeing (having recent medical records on hand can help)
  • Things you can do well and tasks you need help with
  • Support you currently receive, such as care and help provided by friends or family
  • Copies of any referrals from your doctor
  • The types of aged care services that can meet your needs
  • Service providers in your area.

Step 3: Organise an income and asset assessment

You’ll also need to arrange an income and asset assessment to calculate how much you can afford to contribute towards the cost of your aged care services. The Government then uses this to determine how much funding you receive for care services.

Depending on the type of aged care service you are looking for, your income and asset assessment will be conducted by either Services Australia or The Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA).

Applying for a Home Care Package: If you have been assessed as being able to contribute, you may be asked to pay an income-tested care fee towards your Home Care Package.

Moving into an aged care centre: Depending on the outcome of your assessment, you may be asked to pay a means-tested care fee and accommodation costs.

Note: Just be aware that it can take up to six weeks to receive your assessment outcome.

Step 4: Get your assessment outcome

After your face-to-face assessment, your information will be reviewed and you’ll find out by letter if you’re eligible. This letter will tell you:

  • Which Government-funded aged care services you’ve been approved for
  • Your referral codes for those services (which you’ll need when you try to access those services from us)
  • Your care plan

Once you’re approved for a package, you’ll be placed in the Government’s national queue until it’s allocated to you. There is currently a large demand for Home Care Packages and they’re allocated through a priority system, based on the date of approval and the priority for care.

Note: You only have 56 days to choose a service provider once you’re allocated your package.

If you need more time to find a provider you can also call MAC and ask for a 28 day extension.  There are some conditions to this, for example, you can only request an extension once.

Step 5: Organise your aged care services

Once you’re approved to receive aged care services, it’s time to find a suitable provider. If you haven’t already, contact us to discuss:

  • Your personal needs and desires
  • Our home care services or aged care centres near you
  • Your culture and language options
  • Our empathetic and experienced staff
  • Costs and fees

If you have chosen IRT as the provider that best meets your needs, we will work with you to develop a plan based on your care needs, goals and what is important to you. Before your services begin, we’ll provide you with a formal agreement to review.

What if I’m not approved for Government funding?

If you aren’t eligible for either residential aged care or a Home Care Package, you’ll receive a letter from your assessor outlining the reasons why.

Home care services: We may be able to arrange private home care services for you.

Aged care centres: You can still apply to live at one of our aged care centres and access 24/7 care in a supportive environment. You’ll just have higher fees without the Government funding.

Have you had an assessment, but your needs have changed?

You may find that since your last assessment your needs or circumstances have changed and you require increased levels of support and Government funding. Depending on your situation, you can take the appropriate steps that are best fit for you:

Already receiving Government-funded aged care services:

The first step is to contact your current provider and request a review of your care plan. They will contact your My Aged Care assessor and may recommend amending your current care plan or arranging a reassessment.

You weren’t eligible in the past:

If you were deemed ineligible in the past, your needs or circumstances may have changed since your last assessment. A benefit of the ACAT assessment is you can request a reassessment at any time.

Need help with this process?

We’d love to find out more about you to see how we can help. Our Customer Service team operates from 8:30am – 5pm 7 days a week. Call us on 134 478.

Don’t have time to call? Submit an online enquiry form and our friendly team will be in touch.