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Home Care Packages vs Commonwealth Home Support Program


The good news for ageing Australians is that there are several funding schemes set up to support them to remain well and living independently at home as they grow older. And despite common misconceptions, things don’t need to be at crisis point before help is available.

While there are short term and residential funding options, the government also provides for ongoing home care support through two key funding programs – namely, the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) and the Home Care Package (HCP) funding scheme.

These two schemes provide various levels of care starting with those needing a little help at home through to much more complex care needs. However, all too often we get calls from clients confused about their funding arrangements, and how to access more support as things change.

In this article, we answer common questions about the two funding options, including what funding is available and how to transition to higher funding and care.

Let’s start with definitions.

What is the difference between CHSP vs Home Care Package?

Commonwealth Home Care Support Program (CHSP) is set up as an entry-level program to provide small amounts of help, such as a single weekly service like cleaning to help people maintain their independence at home.

The Home Care Package (HCP) program provides a coordinated package of services to help with a wider range of needs, such as home maintenance, personal care, daily activities, home safety, social connections and to pay for case management & care planning. HCPs have four funding levels to support people with increasing needs.  

When can I access CHSP vs Home Care Package Funding?

To qualify for either type of funding, you need to have an assessment from My Aged Care. In both cases you need to be aged 65+ or 50+ with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background, and needing extra help at home. Low income earners may receive CHSP Funding as early as 45. Once your assessment is completed, the assessor determines what level of care is appropriate and in general, you will be provided with either CSHP or HCP funding. However, there are times when you may be able to access BOTH.

CHSP while waitlisted for a Home Care Package

One of the toughest times for people can be when Home Care Package funding has been approved, but they must then wait 3- 12 months for funds to made available. At this time, CHSP funded-services may help provide some much-needed interim care, and CHSP is typically quicker and easier to access. At Age Up, we also provide some free care services to clients on the national waitlist for Home Care Package funding.

Learn more about other help available while on the National Waitlist for a Home Care Package

Read the article or print & download the fact sheet to keep for easy reference

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CHSP when on an interim Home Care Package

While you wait for your approved Home Care Package funding to come through, the government may provide a temporary Home Care Package at a lower level. For example, you may be approved for a Level 3 HCP, but they may get you started on a Level 1 package while you wait. At this time, you can also access CHSP funding for home care modifications, such as bathroom slip rails, to ensure your safety.

Other times CSHP can be accessed by HCP clients

There are three other ways that Home Care Package clients may also be able to access CSHP funds to add additional support:

  • When short-term Allied Health or Nursing services are needed to help recover from a set-back (level 1-2 HCP clients)
  • For planned, short-term respite services (all level HCP clients)
  • In emergency circumstances (all level HCP clients)

The difference between CHSP vs Home Care Package Providers

All funding is managed through My Aged Care. However, in both cases you will need to access services with the help of a Provider.

In the case of CHSP services, the government subsidises a variety of organisations across Australia to deliver care and services at affordable rates. You will pay a fee for these services but at a much-reduced rate, as the funding is paid directly to service providers.

With Home Care Package Providers, you will engage them to provide fully managed care. Care management includes care planning, setting up and coordinating your services, managing your service providers, budgeting and funds administration. The funding is paid to an account set up in your name, and your Home Care Provider helps ensure you get the most out of it. In many cases, there are no out-of-pocket costs as all services and care management are paid from your Home Care Package funding.

Understanding My Aged Care referral codes

Once you have had your funding allocated, you are given a referral code that you need to share before your Provider can begin services.

For CHSP services, you are given a referral code for each service. For example, perhaps you’ve been approved for 1.5hrs of cleaning services each fortnight and you have been approved for bathroom modifications to make showering safer. You will be given two difference referral codes – one for each service Provider.

A Home Care Package only requires a single referral code, which you give to your Home Care Package Provider, and they will use this single code to set up and manage all your services.

Who decides which services you receive?

CHSP funding provides for services that will be determined by your My Aged Care assessment. However, Home Care Packages are a consumer-directed scheme. Working with your Home Care Package Provider, you will work out which services and supports you need to get the most out of your package and improve life at home.

When and how to apply for more funding support?

In general, a good indicator that it is time to apply for more funds is when your current arrangements no longer meet your needs. For example, if you are getting one or two support services from CHSP funds, but you consistently find you need more help. Or perhaps you are on a Level 2 HCP and at the end of each month, you are maxing out your budget and still could do with more support. This often happens gradually, but it can also be triggered by a health event. In all cases, you will need to apply for reassessment from My Aged Care. At Age Up, we also provide advice and recommendations to our clients about when to get reassessed, and help with the application process to take the hard work out.

Need some help getting started?
Here's some useful resources!

Beginner's Guide to Home Care Packages


 A free, easy-to-follow guide on topics including eligibility, what the assessor looks for, how to apply for funding and more.

Get guide now Get guide now

Free Home Care Advisory Service

Book a Home Care consultation to discuss your individual situation with one of our friendly advisors, to get the right help  for you.

Book now Book now

Surprising ways to use your Home Care funds

This article shows the flexibility of Home Care Packages and how your can spend your funds to improve life at home.

Read now Read now

Top 20 Home Care Package FAQs  

This fact sheet tackles the top 20 most common Home Care Package questions with simple straight forward answers for easy reference.

Open now Open now

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