6 key features of the 2018 budget that support older Australians

16 May 2018


  • Elder Abuse
  • Wills & Estates

The 2018 budget included some welcome changes for older Australians in the “more choices for a longer life” package. Helen Phelps, Lawyer with Snedden Hall & Gallop, highlights some of the key proposed commitments to older Australians in the 2018 budget.

1. Staying at home longer

Scott Morrison announced that an additional $1.6 billion will be allocated over the next four years to home care places for Australians looking to remain in their own home, rather than relocating to residential care. The government envisages that this will lead to an additional 14,000 people staying in their homes rather than going to nursing homes. Many of our clients have used their Enduring Power of Attorney to expressly direct their Attorneys that in the event of a loss of capacity, it is their wish to remain in their own home as long as practical. We anticipate that this increased funding will be a welcomed change by many.

2. Focus on regional aged care

The government has additionally committed $145 million towards improving regional and remote community access to aged care services. From this amount, $40 million will go to repairs of existing facilities in regional, rural and remote areas.

3. Mental health care in aged care facilities

The coalition has proportioned a substantial amount to improving the mental health of the elderly in aged care facilities. $83 million has been provided for increased mental health support for those in residential care. A further $20 million over four years will be provided for a pilot program aimed and addressing isolation and loneliness amongst the elderly. Most of this funding will go to mental health nurses to support older people living at home.

4. Changes to workforce limitations for pensioners

The government has announced the work pension bonus will be increased from $250 to $300 a fortnight, allowing pensioners to earn up to $7,800 a year without impacting their pension. This will include self-employed individuals. An additional commitment is a grant of up to $2,000 for individuals seeking to access skills and training grants.

5. Reversionary mortgages

This scheme will allow homeowners to access equity from the value of their real estate and borrow from the government up to $17,800 per year. The loans are repayable at a below market rate, with repayments commencing when the individual moves into an aged care facility, sells the house or dies.

6. Efforts to minimise elder abuse

The government has announced $22 million to protect our ageing population from elder abuse. The budget commitments include the creation of an Elder Abuse Knowledge Hub, a National Prevalence Research scoping study and the development of a National Plan.

Snedden Hall & Gallop Lawyers can assist you

If you believe that these changes will impact your estate plan our Will & Estate team can assist you. At Snedden Hall & Gallop, we have vast experience in ensuring that our clients are supported in the creation of their important personal documents including Wills and EPAs. Please contact us by phone on (02) 6285 8000 or by email.

Helen thanks Paralegal, Byron Knight for his work on this blog.