How do I access home support services in an emergency?

Can people access home support services without a formal assessment process?


It is possible for people in urgent or emergency circumstances to directly access Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) services and/or those under the Aged Care Act 1997, such as a Home Care Package (HCP), on the basis an assessment will be conducted afterwards.

In instances where a client is affected by COVID-19, they may be referred directly from My Aged Care to a service provider such as Care Forward before receiving an assessment. In some cases, services may be provided for up to six weeks without the need for an assessment.

The Department of Health is currently encouraging a flexible and proportional response during the COVID-19 crisis, depending on the numbers of clients seeking access to urgent aged care support.

Existing or potential clients can call the My Aged Care Contact Centre (1800 200 422) to seek guidance in the first instance.


What emergency access is possible under the CHSP as a COVID-19 response?


There are options to directly access Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) services for people (existing or new clients) with an urgent need for a direct health or safety intervention.

An urgent need for a direct health or safety intervention may occur where a client has been required to self-isolate due to exposure to COVID-19 and requires short-term support, for example, with shopping or meal services.


In COVID-19 emergency circumstances:


  • a direct referral to CHSP can be for a time-limited period of up to six weeks. Should the person need CHSP services past this point, the My Aged Care Contact Centre (Contact Centre) will refer the person for a RAS/ACAT assessment as a high priority.

  • a person who contacts the Contact Centre may be referred directly to the CHSP provider for time-limited CHSP services where the need is urgent. This includes existing Home Care Package clients where they are eligible to access CHSP services (e.g. they have used up all their HCP funding).

  • a new or existing client may contact the CHSP provider directly. The CHSP provider may commence services before referring the client to My Aged Care but is required to register the client with My Aged Care within the six-week period.


If urgent services are required beyond six weeks, the Contact Centre will issue an assessment referral for a new client or a support plan review for an existing client. The referral or request will be identified as “COVID-19 circumstances”.

All clients not affected by COVID-19 will be treated as Business As Usual/non-urgent referrals.


Access to CHSP service for clients in receipt of a Home Care Package


  • Clients with a Home Care Package (HCP) have flexibility with how they spend their funds, and can also access the CHSP service in an emergency.

  • In emergency situations, when a client has fully allocated their HCP, they may access short-term home support services (CHSP).

  • Where a HCP client requires urgent time-limited services associated with COVID-19 for direct health and safety reasons, and their package is fully allocated, they may be referred directly to a CHSP service provider by My Aged Care, and the six-week exemption for an assessment referred is applicable to such cases.


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