Managing residential respite care

The Australian Government pays providers a subsidy for giving residential respite care.

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

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.

Monitoring balance of respite days and respite extensions

It is important you monitor a client’s entitled respite days balance closely through the Services Australia Aged Care Payment System (ACPS). Due to delays with providers submitting claims, this information may not always be current. So you should also check with the care recipient and/or their carer.

If the client requires additional days, you must submit an extension request through the My Aged Care Service and Support Portal. Find out more in the user guide.

You must submit the request on, or before, the number of entitled days end. Ensure you include:

  • all mandatory information
  • further comments about the reason for the extension
  • the respite paid day balance information sourced from the ACPS
  • if applicable, information on any known unclaimed days used.

Residential respite care fees

You can ask people in government-subsidised residential respite care to pay some fees. 

Read about fees for residential respite care

Providing respite care before an approval

There are emergency provisions that allow care recipients to enter residential respite care before receiving the appropriate approval. These provisions are in:

If a care recipient enters residential respite care due to an emergency and does not have an approval in place, you must:

  1. complete an Application for Care Form including the 'emergency cases only' section
  2. send the completed application for care form to the ACAT within 5 business days of the date the care recipient entered care.

If you cannot submit the Application for Care Form within 5 business days, you can email the ACAT delegate to request an extension. You can only receive an extension in exceptional circumstances. The assessor will contact you to schedule the assessment.

The assessment and approvals do not need to be completed within the 5 business days of the client entering care.

Following the assessment, the ACAT delegate can decide to approve the person to become a care recipient from the day care started if:

  • the application process meets requirements
  • the person is eligible for the care and urgently needed the care because of an emergency and
  • it was not practicable to obtain approval beforehand.

To help the client participate in the assessment process, you should provide the assessor with information about your client’s:

  • care needs
  • type of care
  • situation and urgency when the care started.

For more information on the ACAT assessment process, please contact your ACAT. If you do not know your local ACAT, please contact the My Aged Care service provider and assessor helpline 1800 836 799.

Younger people seeking respite

We may assess a younger person (including NDIS participants) to see if they are eligible for residential respite care.

A younger person must have explored all age-appropriate accommodation and supports options, including testing eligibility for NDIS (if appropriate), before we can assess them. We need specific documented evidence in these instances.

An exception to this is someone seeking urgent residential respite care.

A younger person can seek urgent residential respite care if:

  • other service providers cannot provide this care
  • they are considered at significant risk of harm.

If the younger person is eligible, their aged care assessment is limited to respite care. It will not include permanent residential aged care.

For more information, see the Principles and guidelines for a younger person’s access to Commonwealth funded aged care services.


Residential respite care contact

Contact us for policy information about residential respite care.

Aged care subsidies and supplements contact

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