With a larger portion of the population than ever before now beginning to enter the age group where a nursing home may be necessary, there is an increasing amount of concern over the ability of those receiving the care to pay. Some people worry that, in the occasion of not being able to pay their care bills, their home will be used as funds. But can nursing homes take your home away as payment? Absolutely NOT!
Fortunately, there are many government programs that are there to assist those who cannot afford to pay their aged care fees, and the nursing homes cannot, and will not seize the residence as a means of payment, although selling or borrowing against your house may be a necessary option in order to afford payment.
How to access financial support for Nursing Homes?
In Australia there is a program for helping those in need of aged care assistance but have limited financial resources, this program is called financial hardship assistance. In order to qualify for this assistance you must be in a situation where you are unable to pay for needed care due to a situation that is outside of your control. You will not qualify if you have given away your assets, for example. Upon qualification the government will do an assessment of your needs, and a portion of your charges will be reduced, or completely waved, and payed for by the government on your behalf. Financial hardship assistance can only be applied to basic daily fee, means tested care fees, and/or accommodation fees; they cannot be applied to extra services.
In order to qualify you must first have submitted and lodged an income and assets assessment sheet with the Department of Human Services, so that your eligibility can be determined. There are certain situations in which you may not qualify for financial assistance. You will not be eligible if you have gifted more than $10,000 in the previous twelve months, or more than $30,000 in the past five years. You must also have less than $34,206.90 in total assets in order to be eligible, unless said assets are unrealisable. Unrealisable simply means that the assets in question cannot be sold or borrowed against. This means that if you are a home or property owner, and your assets are above the specified amount, you will not be eligible for assistance unless you can prove that you are unable to sell or borrow against said home or property.
While there is no way that a nursing home can take your home away from you, you may be forced to sell your house/property, or take out a loan, in order to pay your expenses. This is only necessary in rare circumstances, however, and as soon as your assets drop below $34,000 you become eligible for financial assistance. The best thing you can do in any type of financial situation, especially one relating to something as important as health, is to get advice. There are many public and private resources for financial advising, and it is always a good idea to talk to an expert.