In our new ‘Money Matters’ segment, Carole Stone gives some useful advice for aged care providers about accessing funds to help with the extra costs brought on by the pandemic.
In times like these when aged care providers already find viability a challenge, particularly in regional and remote areas, you need to access any help you can.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Government has enacted several measures to assist businesses and aged care providers that you should be aware of.
The following two initiatives should be investigated by all providers to see if they are eligible.
JobKeeper Payment – a subsidy to businesses and will be paid to employers, for up to six months, for each eligible employee that was on their books on 1st March 2020 and is retained or continues to be engaged by that employer. Where a business has stood down employees since 1st March, the payment will help them maintain connection with their employees. Click here for more information.
Temporary Cash Flow support – funds provided to small and medium businesses and not-for-profit organisations that employ staff and have been affected by the economic downturn associated with COVID-19.
Eligible businesses and not-for-profit (NFP) organisations will receive between $20,000 to $100,000 in cash flow boost amounts by lodging their activity statements up to the month or quarter of September 2020. Click here for more info.
Some Age Care specific measures you should be aware of include:
Residential and Home Care
COVID-19 ‘retention bonus’ to ensure the continuity of the workforce for aged care workers in both residential and home care.
- This will mean a payment of up to $800 after tax per quarter – paid for two quarters – for direct care workers.
- Two payments of up to $600 after tax per quarter – for two quarters – for those who provide care in the home.
- Payments will be delivered to providers to pay their workers and part-time workers will be paid a pro-rata rate.
Increase in Viability Supplements and Homeless Supplement – Residential, Home Care and NATSIFAC
Temporary 30% increase to the Residential and Home Care Viability Supplements and the Homeless Supplement. This includes equivalent viability funding increases for National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program providers, Multi-Purpose Services and homeless providers.
Commonwealth Home Support Programme
COVID-19 Aged Care Emergency Food Service – additional support to home care providers and organisations which deliver the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, operating services including meals on wheels. This will include services for people in self-isolation such as shopping and meal delivery. Click here for more info.
If you have a COVID-19 case or outbreak
There is financial assistance available for those providers who have experienced a COVID-19 case or outbreak.
- All residential care providers will receive funding to help with the costs associated with hiring additional staff and covering workers if they are asked to self-isolate at home. This will be through an uplift to subsidies paid through the Aged Care Funding Instrument with effect from 1st March 2020 to 31st August 2020. Funding will start to flow to providers from April 2020.
- Temporary subsidy increases for Home Care Packages to support providers’ additional costs and workforce supply pressures resulting from COVID-19 with effect from 1st March 2020 to 31st August 2020.
- Support for Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) providers to expand high demand services, implement innovative service delivery models and retain paid and volunteer staff during this period. This will be in the form of a grant. An application form can be requested from Funding Arrangement Managers or by email from CHSPprogram@health.gov.au.
- Paying a ‘retention bonus’ to ensure the continuity of the workforce for aged care workers in both residential and home care.