Knowing your rights

When do I need to pay for my aged care accommodation?

The transition into aged care can be stressful and emotional, especially when it comes to making a significant financial commitment to enter your preferred aged care facility (nursing home).

But when are you actually required to make that payment?

According to Affinity Aged Care Senior Adviser Don Swanborough, the law makes it clear.

“The Aged Care Act allows potential residents 28 days from the date of entry to decide how they are going to make their accommodation payment,” Don said.

“Of course it is important for operators of aged care facilities (nursing homes) to know how people will pay for their accommodation, but it’s equally important for a potential resident to know their rights.”

Don said he had heard of some difficult situations where residents felt pressured to make upfront payments.

“The fact of the matter is a facility cannot demand an upfront accommodation payment – it is prohibited by the law.

“Of course, in many cases you may consider it prudent to pay a deposit to secure the room you like, but this decision is completely up to you.”

Don said there were a number of ways to pay for aged care accommodation, including a full upfront Residential Accommodation Deposit (RAD), a Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP), or a combination of both.

“If you elect to pay a RAD, you will be charged a DAP from the date of permanent entry to care until you pay the lump sum,” Don said.

“And while a RAD is fully refundable on leaving the aged care facility (nursing home) or is left to the estate if the person passes away, a DAP is not refundable.”

Don said when it comes to aged care decisions, it is important to discuss your options with a certified aged care adviser.

“Legislation can be complex and is subject to change, so make sure you speak to a trusted financial adviser who specialises in aged care when it comes time to plan for the future and make these decisions.”


Affinity Aged Care Financial Services

9/60 Carrington St, Sydney NSW 2000
02 8078 0888
[email protected]

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A special thanks to our contributors

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.