Confused about the difference between the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) and the Home Care Package Program (HCP)? We don’t blame you! The distinction between CHSP and HCP can seem confusing at first. But there are some key points of difference between the two programs.
The good news is they both have the same overall objective… to keep ageing Australian’s living happily and independently at home. Regardless of whether you have one program or the other, CHSP and HCP are both there to support you, and the difference is just the level of support and types of support you can obtain.
Deciding which is the best for you depends on your individual and financial circumstances. In this blog post we will explain CHSP and HCP in more detail and help you navigate which is best for you.
What is the Commonwealth Home Support Programme?
Funded by the Australian Government, the CHSP is an entry level home help programme for older people. It typically supports people who are mostly – but not completely – able to live and cope on their own.
The CHSP is interim funding for low needs care services. This could be some gardening, cleaning or lawn mowing for instance. Often when an older Australian is on the waitlist to receive their HCP, they might get access to some CHSP services in the interim.
The CHSP is considered an ‘entry-level’ program as it provides a single service or a few services to a large number of older people who need only a small amount of assistance.
With a CHSP you:
- Get access to a specific service for a specific duration at a specific cost – there isn’t much flexibility.
- Only pay for the services you use.
- Can dip in and out of the program as you need things.
- Have your eligibility assessed by the Regional Assessment Service.
- Pay a reduced subsidised rate for the services out of your pocket.
What is a Home Care Package?
The HCP program provides the second tier of support in the aged care system. The idea of the program is to provide a coordinated and tailored service to help older people with more complex care needs to continue living independently and happily at home.
There are four levels of Home Care Packages, with each level providing a different subsidy amount dependent on the individual’s care needs. You can find out more about the different levels of funding here: https://letsgetcare.com.au/what-are-the-different-home-care-package-levels/
Once you receive your package, you have a set amount of funding to spend on the care services you need to live safely and happily at home. The services are paid out of this package of funding.
The Home Care Package holder will have to choose a provider to host their package. This provider will then work with the client to develop a care plan and individualised budget. These documents will be used to guide the delivery of care and services to meet the individual’s care needs.
With a HCP you:
- You get your own funds to use and can decide how to spend it, with your chosen Provider.
- A Care Manager will help you understand the system and work out a Care Plan that suits your individual needs and preferences.
- The services you select will be included in your Care Plan and Budget.
- Once you have a package, it stays in place for the long term.
- There are four different levels of Home Care Package you could be eligible for.
- Your eligibility is assessed by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).
Interaction between CHSP and HCP.
In general, the CHSP services you receive should not be provided when you accept your Home Care Package. This is to ensure that those who are not receiving services from a HCP have the maximum CHSP services available to them. So as a rule you can’t use CHSP and HCP at the same time.
When you get assigned a Home Care Package and you choose a Provider to host the package, your CHSP services will cease, and the services you require will instead be paid out of your HCP funds.
CHSP and HCP FAQ:
1. How many CHSP services can clients who are waitlisted for a HCP receive as an interim measure?
You have to be assessed by My Aged Care to find out if you are eligible for either HCP or CHSP. To find out if you are, reach out to My Aged Care.
2. What’s the difference with the CHSP and HCP funding?
The CHSP and HCP funding is very different. While both are funded by the government, the HCP pays for your care services and the CHSP subsidises your services.
Home Care Packages, specifically levels 3 & 4 have a much larger pool of funding available, between $12,000 – $50,000. Whereas Commonwealth Home Support funding more of a subsidy, as the care needs are typically less.
So while with a HCP you get a pool of funding to use on the care and support services you require as per your Care Plan, to continue living at home, with a CHSP you pay out of your pocket for your services. It’s a reduced rate, which is partially subsidised by the government, but it is still money from your pocket rather than from a package.
The services you receive are different too. With a HCP, you can use your funds for a range of services that are determined to meet your individual care needs and are listed on your Care Plan. With a CHSP you are allocated specific services that you can receive for a specific duration and frequency. This is why CHSP is typically considered, entry level support and the HCP is to support higher level care needs.
3. How much do I have to pay for my care services?
The amount you pay for care services is different with CHSP and HCP. How much you pay for your CHSP services will depend both on your income and the types of services you require. If you need simple services it will often be a small cost, whereas more complex services will cost more. It also will be dependent on the services you are allocated.
As mentioned with CHSP you are allocated specific services, and you are typically given a specific amount you will need to pay for those services.
If you are receiving a HCP your services will be paid out of your package. You will have funding to spend on your care and the cost of your services will be paid out of this package. Depending on your Provider you may pay their direct support and care workers at a fixed rate, or you might broker your services and have more choice and control in who you select to deliver your care and services and the rate they charge from your Package.
This is one of the main differences between CHSP and HCP.
4. Will I be charged anything if I accept my HCP?
With a Home Care Package some providers will charge you a daily fee. At Let’s Get Care we don’t charge the daily fee. If you are on the part pension or a self-funded retiree the Government may require you to pay an Income Tested Fee. It’s good to do this calculation before accepting the Package, you can find an estimator here: https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/estimate-fees-for-aged-care-services
Regardless of CHSP and HCP, this is a good calculation to do early on in your journey. As it can help shape your decision moving forward with CHSP and HCP.