Impact on couples when one goes into a nursing home.

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Impact on couples when one goes into a nursing home.

Hello all.
Very happy to have found this discussion forum, as trawling through the internet has not given me any answers.
My father is to be admitted to a nursing home due to dementia.He has received a care package for many years, so all the assessments and Centrelink documentation is in place.  As a couple, all their finances are joint. They do not own a home, and have limited finances, of approx $150k.  The daily care fee will be fully subsidised, there is no means testing for this amount, and the accomodation payment is calculated on the cost of the bed/room.The RAd and DAP are calculated on half the amount. My concern is this- They have put off buying a new car and upgrading the fridge and washing machine for years, but now that a place has become available, we have 3 days to sign, before my mum will have to start living on a single pension, losing her carers allowance as well. The above items are a neccessity.
1- Is there any benefit in rushing in, over the next few days to buy these items? I think they will still be valued as assetts and therefore will not have any benefit to decreasing the DAP?
2- Is it neccessary to establish individual bank accounts, so that their pensions are seperated?
3- Do they need to seperate the amount held jointly in term deposit? What happens to the annual interest if this is not done?
4-Is there any benefit as to being "illness seperated" or seperated, in Centrelink's eyes?
5- When he gets admitted, does that mean his portion of savings is frozen, in regard to gifting rules?
6- is gifting- to the $10000 per year limit, or buying funeral bonds,the only valid way to reduce capital held?
I am just concerned that Mum is going to be held responsible for all the bills,has to fund neccessary items from her half of the savings, whilst in the governments eyes, my father still owns half of the assets for costs to be calculated on. She will have to come up with the rent, or move, replace her car, which is in need of $1000's of works( hence the new car)have to pay for his medications, any extra services,or we have to help financially. If we buys the new car and the appliances now, would they qualify as unrealisable assets for calculations? 
Thank you so much for any help you can give me, in this new world of senior finance.


Hi pats

Understanding the finances around Aged Care is not easy. You have raised several issues on your post.  I have passed them onto our expert Robert Craven from Affinity Aged care Financial Advice. We should be back to you shortly.




Hi Pats,

Robert Craven has come back with this advice.

On the information provided ($150k assets) with your father moving to residential care, he will be assessed as owning 50% of the assets – ie $75,000.  As such he will be assessed as a low means resident.  He will not be required to pay the Refundable Accommodation Deposit RAD.

 The basic daily care fee will not be subsidised.  It is set at 85% of the basic single age pension and is currently $48.44 per day.

 With $75,000 in assessable assets, he will also be required to pay a small additional contribution towards his care.  This fee is called a Daily Accommodation Contribution (DAC).

You are correct, he will not be required to pay a Means Tested Care Fee.


Although your mother will lose her Carer Allowance of $124.70 per fortnight, when your father moves to residential care, your parents will then be assessed as an illness separated couple.  As such, their fortnightly pensions will both increase by $215.90 per fortnight.   

 Your father’s pension will fully cover his Basic Daily Care Fee and his Daily Accommodation Contribution.  Your mother will be left with her age pension, currently $877.10 per fortnight plus $150,000 in financial assets. 

 Your mother can gift $10,000 and purchase two funeral bonds up to a maximum of $12,500 each and this would reduce their assessable assets by $35,000.  The impact would be a small reduction in your father’s DAC, estimated at between $8 to $9 per day,

If you buy a new car, fridge and washing machine, Centrelink will allow an immediate depreciation and will assess them at their realisable sale value.  This would also result in a small reduction in the Daily Accommodation Contribution but it will reduce her cash reserves. 

 The decision to gift funds, buy funeral bonds, purchase a new car, fridge and washing machine or retain the $150,000 will be a decision that your mother will need to make but she would be well advised not to spend her savings with the primary objective of reducing her husband’s age care fees.

Hope that helps




Jill and Robert, thank you very much for your comments. I am very impressed and will recommend your site. These comments have saved me hours of sitting on the phone, waiting for a Centrelink advisor to tell me to make an appointment with the local office, who is usually booked out for 2 weeks ahead. Knowing what to do appears not to be such an easy task when you are dealing with pensions and accessing care. The government has attempted to make the task easy, with all their sites and information, but even there, confusion reigns. Once you actually have to to go through the paces, it means months and weeks of telephone conversations, making your way through firstly the Homecare packages and associated financials, contacting all the assisting bodies-and there is a plethora to decide from, and accessing whatever else the government funds. Then, when the nursing homes come into play, yet an other world opens up. I realy do not understand how old people are supposed to understand it all,how they are expected to be super organised to keep track of it all, and how they are supposed to make these huge decisions that can have an impact on the rest of their lives, on their own, when their children can't even obtain the required answers at short notice. The waiting causes an enormous amount of stress to the elderly., just by not knowing what to do, and being in limbo.Your time is appreciated. I hope your site grows and you achieve what you are trying to achieve through this help.


Well, informative posts!

Jill Donaldson

Thank you everyone for your feedback. It is most appreciated. It is not easy to traverse the world of aged care so glad we can be of help.



My mother needs to go into aged residential care.  My father is Ok for teh moment but it will not be long before he needs to go too.   When he goes in he wants to be with his wife.   My father will fully pay the RAD for his wife.   Will he have to pay another RAD when he goes in to care to be with his wife?



Hi Madras 56,

Yes your father will also have to pay accommodation costs  when he goes into a residential aged care home. However depending on your parents financial situation he can choose between a RAD, a combination of RAD and DAP or just the DAP.

It would be very worthwhile for him to talk to the aged care home prior to his wife's admission  about the possibility of a twin room if that is what they would both prefer (assuming the home has double rooms) and ask whether there is any negotiation possible with regards to fees on this basis.

Even if a shared room is not immediately available at the time of your mother's admission it will give the home time to accommodate your fathers wishes as best they can when he decides to move there.






My father is needing to go into high care. My mother still lives in the family home. The home value is around 750k. Their combined assets at this time is around $150k. This clearly is not enough to  the RAD amount. I have been told that mum cannot be forced to sell the home. Who would pay this to get dad into a home. We are also thinking if mum was to sell the home say in 4 months time after dad is settled and move into a  retirement village 

there would be a sum  around 300k from the same. Would my mother be asked to  then 




Hi Cazz,

Sorry for the slight delay in replying.  We wanted to be sure we were providing you with the right information.  Robert Craven from Affinity Aged Care Financial Services had the following insight.  

Whilever the mother continues to live in the home, she will be considered a ‘protected person’.  With other combined assets of $150,000, the Department of Human Services will assess her father’s share at $75,000.  Under this scenario, he would be considered a partially-supported resident.  He would not be required to pay a Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD) and his fees would be the Basic Daily Care Fee (currently $49.42 per day) and a Daily Accommodation Contribution (DAC) of circa $13.22 per day.  He would not be required to pay a Means Tested Care fee.

If your mother sold the home, moved to a Retirement Village and deposited the residual sales proceeds in their bank account, her husband’s DAC would increase and it may adversely impact their pension entitlements.  I would strongly recommend that your mother seeks advice from a specialist aged care financial adviser before moving to a retirement village as the adviser may well be able to arrange a scenario that would result in a significantly improved outcome.

We hope that helps.

The agedcare101 team.



Thought I would keep this on topic, My elderly mother is currently in hospital and we have been told that they will (Doctors) arrange a nursing home near my dad, my dad has been her carer for many years now but I would like some advice please.

My parents currently rent and do not own property, they have around $50k in savings together, if mum goes to a nursing home we are worried that my dad will not be able to afford to continue to rent and stay where he is, even though I have read in the forum here that he will get more because of seperation due to illness, what will happen to my mothers pension! will that still go into their joint account.

Also my dad also has health problems and would like to be able to place him with my mum when the time comes, how hard would this be or could this be done at the same time, he is 85 and still slighty independant but has copd and has had a few hospital stays this year, any advise would be most appreciated.

Regards Rhonda


Hi Rhonda,

Thanks for contacting us.  We’re sorry about the slight delay in replying.  We wanted to be sure we were supplying you with the correct information.  Robert Craven from Affinity Aged Care Financial Services was able to help us with the following information.

Based on the information provided, your mother will be assessed as a fully supported resident.   Consequently, the only fee she will be required to pay when she moves to the aged care facility will be the Basic Daily Care Fee - currently $49.42 per day.

When your mother becomes a permanent resident, she can expect her age pensions to increase from $674.20 per fortnight each to $894.40 per fortnight each.  However, if your father is currently receiving a Carer Allowance, he will need to cancel this when your mother transitions to permanent residential care.  The pensions will still be paid into their joint account and the facility will deduct their fees (such as the Basic Daily Care Fee) from this account. 

To be eligible for residential aged care, your father must have an ACAT assessment.  If he hasn’t yet, he will need to arrange one by calling MyAgedCare 1800 200 422. 

If/when your father moves to an aged care facility, on the information provided, he would also be assessed as a fully supported resident.  Consequently, he would only be required to pay the Basic Daily Care Fee of $49.42 per day. 

Could they move in together?  This would depend on the ACAT being completed and the availability of a bed at the chosen facility.  They should discuss this with the facility manager.

We hope this helps,

The agedcare101 team


Hi There,

Thank you all for your information, i can relate with you this community how hard it is to  find the best care for parents needing nursing or retirement homes.

I have couple of questions I would like to ask.

(1) My dad is in a situation where he may need nursing home care due to his mobility decreasing very fast. As such he may be required to move into a home very soon. My mum and dad's home valued about $360K-$400K and form researching various web sites, I am aware he may need to pay a Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD) of half the value of their assets. As mum is the primary carer for dad presently, will she need to sell the house and move elsewhere?

(2) Another option was to find them a care facility to be together, in this instance will they need to sell the house and split the asset to fund the Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD)

(3) Is there a way to protect the asset by selling the property and putting the money or  transferring the property to a trust?

In all 3 situations can you please let me know what the effect on Daily Accommodation Contribution (DAC) will be?

Many Thanks David


Hi David,

Firstly, let us apologies for not replying to your post earlier.  We somehow missed it in our system.

The biggest piece of news we can tell you is if your mum is still living in the family home, their house is seen as a protected asset and will not be included in the Income and Asset assessment with Centrelink.  This means that when they look at your parent’s assets, depending on their other assets (excluding the house) then your father may qualify for a DAC which is where the government will contribute to his accommodation costs.  The first thing I would do is to call the Department of Human Services special sub division that looks after Income and Assets for aged care.  The number is 1800 227 475.  You can call on behalf of your parents saying that you’re gathering information to assist them.  If you do this, you don’t need to create a record or an account with the call centre if you don’t want to.

Next, whilst it seems like an expense, I really would recommend you/ your parents speak with a Financial Advisor who specialises in Aged Care.  Their breadth of knowledge is amazing and are able to provide more customised advice about your parent’s specific finances.  The Aged Care system - especially the finance side of things -  is extremely complex and it pays to speak to the finance experts.

We hope this helps and again sorry for the delayed response.
the agedcare101 team




i have a question in relation to my parents current situation. My father may have to go into a nursing home and my mother is able to continue living in the family home With the intention of selling And repurchasing A more manageable home. What is the financial implication Of this for both of them?  Also assets outside the home would be less than $150,000. Thanks 


Hi we have a situation with my mother in law whom we have had to take into our care as my father in law could no longer keep up so they are living separately by choice. They sold their home and now she own the home we are living in and taking care of her, although we have a 100k investment plus upgrades in the home. We are not on the title. They have together about $400k in investments which I would assume would take them over the threshold, I might just add that half of the $400k is in a special fund that was brought by the government, a special super fund and the goverment quickly stopped it, as they were loosing too much money. Both the in laws receive full a  couple of things

1 . would we loose her home if she had to go into the nursing home if we cold no longer take care of her?

2. What would she have to pay? The RAD?

3. If the case is the home would have to be sold..if we somehow get our names on the title would that stop it having to be sold?

We don’t want to loose what we have invested into the home plus all our years of care and  caretaking and cost of the home. 




Hi Lozzaj,

Thanks for your question.

It sounds like you may qualify as a Protected Person.  The Department of Human Affairs says:

“For aged care purposes, a protected person is:

• your partner or dependent child, or
• your carer* who is eligible to receive an Australian Government income support payment and who has lived in your home with you for the past 2 years, or
• your close relation who is eligible to receive an Australian Government income support payment and who has lived in your home with you for the past 5 years.

If your home is occupied by a protected person at the relevant date, it will not be counted as an asset for permanent residential aged care purposes. Your carer or close relation will need to give their consent in the form to enable the Department of Human Services or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to verify their eligibility for an income support payment.

This exemption will be lost if the protected person who has been living in the home at the relevant date moves out of the home.”

If you are seen as a Protected Person the home of your mother-in-law will not be seen as an assessable asset and you should be able to continue to live there.  You will need to get an Assets and Income Assessment done to know what fees you will need to pay.  You can download the form from the below page:

 You can use our calculator as a rough guide.

We hope this helps,
the agedcare101 team


Hi Celder,

Thank you for your question.  Broadly speaking, if your parent’s house is sold and your mum buys a smaller more manageable home, then the value of her new home is excluded from the Assets and Income Test.  It should be known that the profit that is made from the larger home to the smaller home would indeed be included as an asset and would be assessed accordingly.  This extra asset may alter the age pension status, if either your mother or father is receiving that.  

Given this is quite a big decision we would advise consulting with a Financial Advisor that specialises in Aged Care.  They are in the position to advise based on your every financial detail. 

We hope that helps,
the agedcare101 team



Hi I would like to get some more information about what happends to my parents indivitual pension if one of them has to go into aged care.

  1. Does the pension amount change for one of them only or for both of them ?
  2. If one or both of their pension change, do they have to apply through Centrelink to get the pension changed or does the pension change automatically? 
  3. Do they need to open up a seperate/new account for the person who does enter aged care?
  4. What are the payment option to the Aged Care Provider? Direct Debit or Centrepay? How does Centrepay work?

Sorry so many questions. 





Hi Verena,

Thank you for your question. is an educational website aimed to help people navigate the world of aged care.

Our mission is to help make the steps required for someone going into aged care as simple as possible.  We also saw the importance of creating a directory including every single aged care home in Australia - so research and decisions could be made.

Financial questions are unique and complicated and legally we cannot offer financial advice.  We do whole heartily understand the importance of receiving the right financial advice and we strongly recommend seeking guidance from a financial advisor that specialises in the finances of Aged Care.


There are 2 main ones in Australia and they are:

Affinity Aged Care Financial Services

Sydney Aged Care Financial Advisors 

Both of these companies services clients nationally.

I hope this helps,
the agedcare101 team


Hello, my dads going into care, and my mum will go in later to the same home, do they both pay a rad, thanks jodie


Hi Jodie,

Just because your father pays a RAD does not mean your mother has to do the same. People's financial situation can change over a period of time which will potentially impact on the fees your mother pays when the time comes for her to enter aged care. Apart from paying a lump sum (RAD) there is also the option of paying a DAP or a combination of RAD and DAP.

If your mother chooses to pay the RAD as well it is possible that she may pay a lesser amount if she shares a room with your father . This is worth discussing with the aged care home.





My dad has dementia and went in the nursing home 1st and mum was still home, dad didnt need to pay DAC, 3 weeks later mum went in and she pays DAC.  Will dad need to pay DAC if mum passes?


Hi Sofidobbs,

I am assuming that your father did not pay a DAC because he paid the RAD. In this case he does not have to pay a DAC regardless of whether your mother is at the aged care home or not.




ArthritisI read an article saying no but I can’t find it again about a person with very similar circumstances to myself I am 59 years of age I am a full time Carer for my husband who is 68..   he is currently spending a couple of weeks in a age care home while I have some respite. He has been assessed as high care and approved for this type of respite accommodation as well as approved for permanent residential accommodation. We have some services in place at home with Physio cleaning and some social support. He has been approved for a Homecare package level three but of course he’s on the waiting list. 


 My inquiry comes more in relation to the protected person as I do understand that I would be a protected person in this circumstance in regard to our family home not being assessable I just can’t find the information on what the asset limits were outside this I’m sure that at the time I thought that he would qualify for a fully supported position without having to pay and accommodation bond. Our current assets are below 50,000 on top of our family home however I have not accessed my superannuation in any form which I think it’s about between 150 and 180,000. I am not wanting to touch my superannuation until I need it for something major outside our savings in your bank account or preferably not accessing any of it until I reach pension age. 


 What I am not sure of is if my superannuation would come into part of an asset test if I had reached pension age.   I am also unsure of what financial stability on a weekly basis that I would be able to attain after losing a carers pension. I gave up work only a few years ago and have quite a skill set however I have also been diagnosed and have rheumatoid arthritis And some other mental health issues with depression and anxiety which I take medication for.  After being a  Carer for 13 years  and a full time Carer for the last 2 years and given my age and opportunity for employment it is a concern with a 7 year gap to aged pension age.


I suppose what I am unclear on is:

if I am able to keep caring for my husband until I reach pension age and don’t access my superannuation which hopefully might be about $200,ooo by then.  Will that be classed as an asset and therefore be over the threshold that would allow him to be assessed as a person of financial hardship.

or would it be better if he was to enter full time care before I reached pension age?


it may not become a choice as it depends on how quickly his dementia progresses.

he has advanced Parkinson’s 13 years since diagnosed the onset of dementia began 2 years ago  

he has already been assessed as high care

it really just depends on how his condition can be managed at home and whether I can get his home care package pushed in to place.



Hi Vicki A,

To be a protected person with regards to the family home being exempt from the Income and Assets test you must have been drawing the carers pension for the last two years prior to your husband entering the aged care home. So hopefuly you have been receiving this payment which will make your family home exempt. However once you sell the family home the proceeds will be included in the assets and income test.

With regards to superannuation according to the Dept Human Services website at this link below:

It states that "if you are under Age pension age your superannuation investments don't count in the Income and Assets tests. This is the same for your partner if they are under pension age. Once you reach AgePension Age your superannuation investments will count in the income and assets tests. This is whether you get age pension or another payment."

This government link below explains what is considerd "hardship" with regards to aged care fees.

Aged Care 101 is a directory and information website. We are not alloweed to give financial advice. Due to the various complexities associated with aged care fees and the individual nature of people's finances we always recommend that people get specialist aged care financial advice.






Thank you that is helpful as I’ve not quite reached the two year point on my carers pension.  I have been getting the Carer payment for about 6 years. Some friends and health professionals have suggested that I consider full time placement but I’m not ready to do this yet anyway and that gives me another reason to give them for not going down that road yet. I don’t think I’ll make it to pension age before he needs full time care so it is reassuring to know that my super is not included until I reach pension age as that may give me a few years as a financial buffer. 


I am seeking some advice.  My mother is in full time aged care with advanced Alzheimers - she is fully-funded with approx $4ok in investment assets outside of the home.  Her husband recently passed away. Up until his passing he was living in their home.  I understand the home is an exempt asset for two years from her husband's passing and thereafter the house value is capped at a discounted rate.  I am wondering if the house is rented, how this will impact her age pension entitlement / care fees?  How much income can she receive from rent before it impacts her benfits?  Now her husband has passed away, the closest family is 6hrs away.  If a family member was to move into the house to be close to her, maintain the property and cover the cost of all outgoings, how would this be viewed?  Would Centrelink assess the property to be earning commercial rent, even though it isn't?


Hi there,

Thank you for your question.  Aged care finances are always really complicated as everyone's situation is slightly different.  The very best thing you can do is invest in talking to an Aged Care Financial Advisor.  Affinity Aged Care Financial Services is an example of one, but there are a few around.  Be mindful that a simple Financial Advisor will not suffice.  It needs to be a company that specialises in the finances of Aged Care.

Your understanding is spot on and while we can't give financial advice we can confirm a couple more details.

If you rent her home, all money received from rent will be included in the income and assets assessment.  If you have a family member living in here to be closer to her and maintain the house, any contribution they pay to live there will still be seen as rent.  If a family member lives there rent free, then the house will be exempted for two years and then included with the capped house value (the same as if the house was left empty.)

In terms of how this may affect your mother's age pension, this is something you will have to check with The Department of Human Services.  They have a call centre that can be reached on 1800 227 475.

We hope this helps
The agedcare101 team