Managing residential respite care allowances

The Australian Government pays providers a subsidy for giving residential respite care. Providers have an allowance of respite days to use for respite care recipients.

What are respite care allowances?

Residential respite care gives an older person or their carer a break from their usual care arrangements.

The Government pays providers a respite subsidy and supplement for providing respite care to eligible clients.

How many respite days are allowed?

Respite places are included in your total allocation of places.

Eligible clients are entitled to 63 days of respite care in a financial year. This can be extended by up to another 21 days if an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) approves it.

The length of time a client spends in respite in your care is deducted from your respite care allowance.

You must check your respite balance for your allocation of respite days.

Checking your respite care allowance balance

You can check your respite care allowance balance with Services Australia.

You may be able to alter your allowance amount if your allowance isn’t linked to a condition of allocation.

To check whether you can change your allowance, contact your local state or territory Department of Health.

Exceeding your respite care allowance

You cannot claim the respite subsidy or supplement for providing respite care if:

  • your service does not have an allocation of respite place days
  • you exhaust your respite allocation

Varying your respite care allocations

There are different processes for increasing or decreasing your respite allocation. The process you use depends on whether the:

  • number of respite place days recorded in the aged care payments system links to a condition of allocation
  • proposed change will continue to meet that condition

See Section 14-5 of the Aged Care Act 1997 (the Act) for conditions of allocation.

Your service may also have multiple allocations of places, and the respite condition may only relate to one.

You will need to apply to change or remove the condition if:

  • the respite allocation links to a condition of allocation that specifies a minimum, maximum or exact number of days you must provide across all your allocated places
  • the proposed change does not comply with that condition

Application to Vary Conditions of Allocation

Approved aged care providers use this form to apply to vary the conditions of allocation of operational, or unused residential and flexible, places.

See Division 17 of the Act for more information about varying conditions of allocation.

You can request an increase or decrease to your respite allocation at any time if:

  • the respite allocation is not linked to a condition of allocation
  • the proposed change will continue to comply with any existing conditions

Make the request in writing to the Department’s state or territory office.

Residential respite care fees

The fees you can charge a person while they are accessing residential respite care through your service are different to the fees you can charge when they enter permanent residential aged care.

You cannot charge the person accommodation costs.

You must record these fees in the resident agreement.

You can use the Understanding fees for residential respite care fact sheet to help explain fees to your care recipients.

Basic daily fee

Everyone can be asked to pay the basic daily fee. This fee is also called a standard resident contribution in aged care legislation. The fee helps to cover the costs of daily living, like meals, cleaning, laundry, heating and cooling.

The maximum fee is 85% of the single basic age pension. The fee amount changes with the pension amount every March and September.

Booking fee

You may ask the person to pay a booking fee to secure a period of respite care in your service. Once they enter the service, this fee will be deducted from their daily fees. The booking fee cannot exceed whichever is lower of:

  • one week’s fee for respite care
  • 25% of the fee for the proposed period of respite care

Additional service fees

With the resident’s agreement, you can charge a fee for services that:

  • you can demonstrate are better than what must be provided under Schedule 1 of the Quality of Care Principles 2014 (the Principles)
  • are not specified care and services in Schedule 1 of the Principles
  • are not covered by the payment of an extra services fee 
  • are not services you’re required to deliver under your responsibilities as a provider

There are some types of care and services in Schedule 1, Part 3 of the Principles that, with the resident’s agreement, may attract an additional service fee if they have a low-level residential respite care approval.

You must record additional fees in the resident agreement.

Full requirements

Details of residential respite care fees are in:


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).

AgedCareFees [at]

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Aged care subsidies and supplements contact

Email us if you have questions about aged care subsidies or supplements for approved providers.

subsidiesandsupplements [at]

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Last updated: 
16 November 2020

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