Managing fees and charges for residential aged care
Calculating, setting and managing fees and accommodation costs is part of managing a residential aged care home. There are different fee rules depending on whether a resident entered care before or after 1 July 2014.
When you can charge fees
The fees you agree on with a resident depends on:
- when they entered care
- their financial situation
You cannot ask a resident to pay fees before they enter your care, unless they’re on pre-entry leave.
Once the resident has entered a resident agreement, you can ask them to pay fees up to 1 month in advance.
How to collect fees
Fees are calculated daily, but how often the resident is asked to pay is a decision for the provider.
See arrangements for residents who entered care:
Use the fee estimator on My Aged Care to estimate how much a resident will pay in fees.
You must ensure you’re charging the correct fees.
The basic daily fee changes in March and September each year.
Services Australia conducts a quarterly review of residents’ means assessments and income assessments to reflect:
- changes in residents’ financial circumstances
- changes due to indexation
This can result in changes to a resident’s:
Once they’ve completed the quarterly review process, Services Australia will send you and the resident (or their nominee) a letter if there is a change to the resident’s fees. You may owe the resident a refund as a result.
Refunding fees and refundable deposits
You must refund fees to a resident if they paid more than they needed to.
If a resident goes to another service, you must refund any balances of lump sum accommodation payments to them:
- on the day they leave — if they give more than 14 days’ notice
- within 14 days of them giving notice — if they give notice within 14 days before or after leaving
- within 14 days of them leaving — if they don’t give notice
You must also refund the lump sum balance:
- on the day a resident leaves to return home
- within 14 days of being shown a probate or letter of administration after a resident dies
- within 14 days of a service ceasing to be certified
Refunds made outside those timeframes will attract interest. Until you pay the balance, you will need to pay:
- the Base Interest Rate (BIR) from the resident’s departure date, or the date you’re shown a probate or letter of administration
- the Maximum Permissible Interest Rate (MPIR) from the date the resident should have received their refund
The rate remains fixed at the MPIR until you complete the refund.
Read more about managing refunds for:
- accommodation contributions and payments for post-1 July residents
- accommodation bonds and charges for pre-1 July 2014 residents
Late fees and charges
How you deal with late and unpaid fees must be in the resident agreement.
The resident agreement must also include either:
- the rate of interest you will charge for late payments
- a method to work out the interest amount
You cannot go above the MPIR.
If fees and charges are not paid
If a resident has not paid any agreed fees within 42 days of the due date for reasons within their control, you can ask the resident to leave. You must find alternative accommodation for the resident before you do this.
Read more about exiting residents from residential aged care.
Residents in financial hardship can apply for help if they need it. You can also apply for financial hardship assistance on their behalf. Financial hardship assistance can help to pay the basic daily fee, the means-tested care fee and daily accommodation payments.
Base and maximum interest rates
Providers pay interest at two different rates:
- Base Interest Rate (BIR) — see how to calculate the BIR in Section 4 of the Fees and Payments Principles 2014 (No.2)
- Maximum Permissible Interest Rate (MPIR) — see how to calculate the MPIR in Section 6 of the Fees and Payments Principles 2014 (No.2)
Providers can charge residents up to the MPIR on late payments for residential care fees. The rate, or method for working out the rate, must be recorded in the resident agreement.
The BIR and MPIR are payable when refunding a resident’s:
- refundable deposit balance
- accommodation bond balance
Current and previous BIR and MPIR rates
For residents leaving care between 1 January 2020 and 31 March 2020, current rates are:
- BIR: 3.00%
- MPIR: 4.91%
View the past BIR and MPIR rates on the National Library Web Archive.
Details of interest on refundable deposit balance and accommodation bond balance are in Part 7 of the Fees and Payments Principles (No. 2) 2014
Residential aged care and home care fees contact
Contact us about fees for residential respite care, home care (basic daily fee, income-tested care fee) and residential aged care (means-tested care fee, income tested fee, additional service fees, time extensions to enter into accommodation agreements, accommodation payments, bonds and charges).