Aged Care Costs

How much will you pay

Aged care costs (nursing home costs) are the range of fees and charges you need to pay to receive aged care services. The Federal government subsidise a range of aged care services in Australia, but if you have the means, you will be expected to contribute to your aged care costs.

Aged care costs vary depending on the nursing home and type of accommodation, but the Government has regulations in place to ensure everyone can afford to enter aged care.

Basic daily fee

This fee is used to pay for your everyday living costs, such as meals, cleaning and laundry. It is charged at 85% of the single person rate of the Age Pension, even if you are part of a couple.

This rate increases on March 20 and September 20 every year in line with the Age Pension. When you go into aged care, you will receive a letter from the Department of Human Services confirming what your fee will be.

Means-tested care fee

This is an additional fee some people have to pay based on their income and assets that is determined by the Department of Human Services. If you are part of a couple, half of your combined income and assets will be used to decide your fee.

There are annual and lifetime caps applied to the means-tested fee so once you have reached these, you cannot be asked to pay any more. The current cap is set at $25,939.92.

Accommodation fee

The costs of your accommodation are based on an assessment of your income and assets.

If you have less than $46,500, the Federal Government will pay your fee in full. If you have more than this, you will have to pay some or all of the costs of your accommodation. If you are part of a couple, half of your combined income and assets will be used to assess if you are eligible for Government help.

This can be paid as a Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD), a single payment which is re-paid in full to you or your estate when you leave the nursing home; or as a Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP), a fee which is calculated on a daily basis and is not refundable.

You need to agree how much you will pay for your fees with your nursing home before you move in, but you have up to 28 days after you enter to change your means of payment.

Fees for extra services

You may also have to pay extra fees to cover accommodation or additional services. These are regulated and nursing homes are required to publish these fees on the my aged care website and their websites and promotional material.

Other additional care and fees are not regulated and are agreed between you and your nursing home.

There are services and resources available to advise you on aged care costs, as well as assistance if you are facing financial hardship.

My aged care has a Residential Care Fee Estimator that helps you estimate the costs you may be asked to pay for your nursing home.

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A special thanks to our contributors

Caroline Egan

DCM Media, agedcare101

Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the and agedcare101 blog and accompanying newsletters.

Ian Horswill


Ian is a journalist, writer and sub-editor for the aged care sector, working at The DCM Group. He writes for The Weekly Source, agedcare101, and the DCM Institute fortnightly newsletter Friday. Ian is in daily contact with CEOs of retirement living, land lease and the aged care operations and makes a new contact every week. He investigates media releases, LinkedIn and Facebook for a good source for ideas for stories.

Lauren Broomham

Retirement and Aged Care Journalist

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.