Australia’s aged care system supports older people and is not meant for people younger than 65. Aged care should be a last resort for people younger than 65 and in limited, special circumstances.
We are working with younger people, their families and carers to stop younger people entering residential aged care. Support is available to help younger people find the accommodation and services they need.
Support from the National Disability Insurance Scheme
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) supports people younger than 65 to live in the community or other suitable settings. Use the ’Am I eligible checklist’ on the NDIS website to see whether they’re eligible.
Accessing suitable accommodation and services
If a younger person is not eligible for the NDIS, other support options are available to help them.
The national network of Ability First Australia (AFA) Younger People in Residential Aged Care (YPIRAC) System Coordinators support younger people living in residential aged care or at risk of entry, and their families, to navigate systems for:
- aged care.
YPIRAC System Coordinators work with younger people to access suitable accommodation and services that address their goals and best meet their needs.
They can help younger people understand the NDIS, their NDIS eligibility and will work alongside the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to ensure a smooth handover if their NDIS access is confirmed.
My Aged Care pathway
The Journey Map identifies available pathways when a younger person (under 65 years of age) is considering entry to residential aged care. There are many potential 'off-ramps' throughout the process which are not covered in this Journey Map.
The Journey Map is a collaboration between the Department of Health and Aged Care, the National Disability Insurance Agency, My Aged Care and Ability First Australia.
Younger people can also contact My Aged Care if they are thinking about using aged care services funded by the Australian Government. The younger person, or their representative, can visit the My Aged Care website or call on 1800 200 422. The team will ask them questions to see if an aged care assessment is right for them.
For aged care eligibility, younger people must first explore alternative accommodation and support options, and demonstrate why these are less appropriate than aged care.
Younger people need to have documents showing the NDIS and other support services they have considered. These documents must show why these supports were not appropriate for their needs.
If a younger person already receives NDIS services but does not have these documents:
- The My Aged Care contact centre will refer them to the NDIA.
- The NDIA and their NDIS support coordinator (if they have one) will help look at different living and support options.
- If a suitable alternative to aged care cannot be found, they will also help gather documents that show what types of housing and support services were considered.
If a younger person is not eligible for the NDIS or has not checked their NDIS eligibility:
- My Aged Care will refer them to AFA.
- The free AFA YPIRAC System Coordinator Program will help them check their NDIS eligibility (if appropriate) and look at alternative accommodation and support options.
- If a suitable alternative to aged care cannot be found, they will also provide documents that show what types of housing and support services were considered.
If a suitable alternative to aged care cannot be found and a younger person has documents to support this, My Aged Care will refer them to an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). The ACAT team will:
- provide information on how to forward the documents
- decide if they are eligible for aged care services
- outline the types of services that may be best for them.
Choosing to stay in residential aged care
If a younger person is aged under 65 years and already lives in residential aged care and would like to explore alternative options for accommodation and supports, the NDIA or AFA can assist them. NDIS participants can contact their My NDIS contact, planner or support coordinator to discuss their home and living goals.
Review of existing support plan
If a younger person has had an aged care assessment, or already receives Australian Government aged care supports and their circumstances have changed, they can seek a support service reassessment, by calling the My Aged Care contact centre. My Aged Care will refer them to an ACAT who will consider their situation.
The ACAT will decide if a reassessment is needed. If the ACAT decides that a reassessment is needed, the younger person must provide evidence of:
- the alternative supports they have explored, including the NDIS (if applicable)
- why these supports are not available or suitable for their needs.
The NDIS or AFA can support them to explore these options.
Home Care Packages
Residential aged care fees and payments
While a younger person remains in aged care, they may still be asked to pay fees that are not NDIS-funded, including:
- contribution to accommodation costs
- living expenses
- care services.
Resources for providers
Residential aged care providers can support a younger person wishing to move to alternative accommodation. This is regardless of their NDIS status.
- advising them to contact the NDIA to see if they are eligible for the NDIS
- encouraging them to contact the AFA YPIRAC System Coordinator program to:
- seek assistance with NDIS access requirements
- explore alternative accommodation and support options if they are not eligible for the NDIS
- encouraging NDIS participants to talk to their NDIS support coordinator to find out the home and living options available.
Providers can learn more about delivering care to younger people in residential aged care settings.
For information and support for NDIS providers, including meeting requirements, visit the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.
Resources for younger people and families/carers
Other resources for younger people include:
- The National Disability Insurance Agency – information on living in and moving out of residential aged care.
- Ability First Australia (through the YPIRAC System Coordinators) – assists younger people who are not eligible for the NDIS to:
- navigate the disability, housing, health and aged care systems, and
- explore whether they can gain access the NDIS (where appropriate).
- State or territory government housing authority – state and territory governments are responsible for age-appropriate housing for younger people who are ineligible for the NDIS or do not have Specialist Disability Accommodation in their NDIA plans.
- Disability gateway – provides a single point of contact for information and services for people with disability, their families and carers, to find the support they need.
- Carer gateway – a national support service which provides a range of services and supports to carers and families delivered both in person and online.
- My Aged Care – a starting point for access to Australian Government-funded aged care services for older Australians, their families and carers.
- The National Aged Care Advocacy Program (NACAP), through the Older Person’s Advocacy Network (OPAN), may also be able to help. The program helps people:
- understand and apply their aged care rights
- find aged care services that suit their needs, and
- find solutions to difficulties they may have.
- Call the OPAN team on 1800 700 600 from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays. Or visit the OPAN website.