Aged Care - Basic Daily Care Fee
The Basic Daily Fee is a contribution towards day-to-day living costs in the aged care facility, including meals, cleaning, laundry and utilities, such as heating and cooling. Everyone entering an aged care home is obliged to pay this fee and it is linked to a proportion or percentage of the basic Age pension.
As at September 20, 2019, the basic daily care fee for new residents, including respite residents, is $51.63 per day - the equivalent of 85% of the single person rate of the basic Age Pension. The current single rate for the basic pension is $850.40 per fortnight, and consequently 85% (.85 x $850.40) = $722.84 per fortnight, or $51.63 per day.
This rate applies even if the individual is a member of a couple for Age pension purposes, and regardless of whether they qualify for an Age pension, or otherwise. On entering an aged care home individuals will receive a letter from the Department of Human Services confirming the basic daily fee payable.
The impact of this payment is, of course, that individuals in aged care only have access to 15% of any aged pension (currently $9.11 per day or $127.56 per fortnight) to pay for incidentals, including clothing, unless they have access to other income or assets. Care must be taken to ensure that when individuals enter aged care that not too much of their capital is paid into a refundable accommodation deposit (RAD), leaving them with limited funds to draw upon. Although there is a minimum amount of assets that a resident must be left with - $49,500 in 2019 - we have seen this quickly erode if a resident has been in accommodation for a few years.