Managing unspent funds in Home Care Packages

Unspent funds are the amounts received by you that have not been spent on a person’s care. Find out some of the reasons unspent funds build up and what you can do to better manage packages and budgets.

Improved Payment Arrangement (IPA) update

Due to the implementation of Phase 2 of IPA, the contents on this page are currently under review.

We encourage you to check the Improved payment arrangements for home care webpage, to access information about how this initiative impacts delivery of the Home Care Program.

Note: We do not have access to all documents created by, received by, or stored by other government entities.

What are unspent funds?

Unspent funds are the total amount of subsidy and fees you have received on behalf of a person that have not been spent.

Why do unspent funds build up?

Unspent funds build up if you have not allocated all the funds in a person’s individualised budget.

This can happen if the person:

  • is planning for future events
  • has received an automatic package upgrade and does not use the funds
  • has taken leave from care
  • has a personal situation that improves

Planning for future events

You should use a person's budget to meet their current care needs. But a person can choose to set aside small amounts for future events, such as leave of a carer. These amounts are unspent funds until the future event occurs.

Automatic package upgrades

A person may receive services at a lower level than they are approved for. When a higher level package becomes available, we automatically upgrade them. This means they get a higher amount of home care subsidy.

If you do not use the full value of the upgraded package, unspent funds can build up.

Temporary leave

Clients can suspend their Home Care Package if they take temporary leave.

Sometimes, they still receive the full home care subsidy for up to 28 days in a financial year. After this, they receive 25% of the subsidy. These amounts can build up as unspent funds.

How to manage unspent funds

Work with your care recipient to make sure they are getting the full benefit of their Home Care Package to meet their assessed care needs.

Review their plan and budget

Work with your care recipient to review their care plan and individualised budget. Talk about the funds they have available and how to best spend those funds. This should be part of your ongoing care discussions with the person.

Respond to package upgrades

We will let you know if we are upgrading your care recipient’s package. When this happens, talk to your care recipient about their care needs as soon as possible.

Make updates to their care plan, home care agreement and individualised budget to arrange more services.

If a person’s existing package is meeting their needs, they can choose to opt out of the national priority system to avoid an automatic package upgrade. They can do this by contacting My Aged Care.

They will not be disadvantaged because they can opt back in at any time. Their position in the national priority system is based on their original approval date and priority for home care.

If a person leaves your care

If a person leaves your care, you must transfer or return unspent funds. To find out more, read unspent home care amounts.


For full details, see the following in the Aged Care Act 1997:

Last updated: 
7 September 2021

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