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Tuesday, 13 May 1980
Page: 2112


Senator YOUNG (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -I ask the Minister for Social Security: Are there any set rules or guidelines on the maximum percentage of pension that old people are able to keep when residing in an old folks home? If so, what is the percentage? If not, will the Minister see whether it is possible to set down such rules and guidelines to assist and benefit elderly people?


Senator Dame MARGARET GUILFOYLE

I am advised that pensioner patients in private enterprise nursing homes, including those that are funded under the Aged or Disabled Persons Homes Act are required to make a minimum patient contribution of 8716 per cent of the maximum single rate of pension, including supplementary assistance, towards the cost of their care and accommodation where the home charges the standard fee or less. The balance of the pension is retained for the pensioner's personal use. The patient contribution is more where the fee charged exceeds the standard rate, thus the proportion of pension retained would vary according to the fee charged. The maximum rate would depend on the individual home.

Where private organisations provide hostel type accommodation for pensioners, the amount charged by these homes is a private arrangement between the pensioner and the person controlling the home. The same situation applies where a pensioner's accommodation has received Commonwealth subsidy under the Aged or Disabled Persons Homes Act. In this latter situation, I understand that the charges for accommodation usually range between 80 to 87V4 per cent for hostels and 20 to 25 per cent for self-contained accommodation of the maximum single rate of pension, including supplementary assistance. Pensioners in benevolent homes, which are the pensionable wards of Victorian and Tasmanian mental hospitals, are required by provisions in the Social Services Act to contribute part of their pensions towards their maintenance. Benevolent home pensioners currently retain for their own use up to $21.35 a week from their pensions, including supplementary assistance. This represents a 'retention' rate of one-third of the basic pension plus one-fifth of the supplementary assistance. The balance of the person's pension is paid direct to the benevolent home for his maintenance.







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