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A Guide to applying for Aged Services under Home Care Packages (HCP) and Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP)


Following is some useful information regarding the use of My Aged Care (MAC) Referral Process for Home Care Packages (HCP) or entry level support provided under Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP).   



My Aged Care processes Referrals for clients (Applicants) who are aged 65+ (or 50+ if Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (ATSI)). 

If the Applicant is younger than 65 but has an age related illness they must contact an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) directly so ACAT can manage the Referral. To locate an ACAT Assessor visit http://www.myagedcare.gov.au/service-finder?tab=assessment-team.

If the Applicant is younger than 65 (or 50 ATSI) and has the need for domestic, home care or respite services you contact Australian Unity Home Care Services Intake Line on 1300 881 144.  

Do applicants entering an Aged Care Facility (formerly known as Nursing Home) still need to be assessed?

Yes before entering an Aged Care Facility, Applicants will need to be assessed by a member of ACAT.  Prior to assessment Applicants can make enquiries with Aged Care Facilities regarding pricing, suitability and availability. 

Do Home Care Packages use the same online referral page as Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP)?

Yes - All Referrals if 65+ (or 50+ ATSI) are done via the MAC referrals page at https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/referral

If urgent assistance is required it is best for the Applicant/family member to provide information to MAC centre staff on 1800 200 422 and advise them it is high priority.  

If an Applicant needs a Home Care Package (HCP) an assessment will need to be made before services can be provided.  

If an Applicant only requires CHSP (entry level) services these services can be started prior to assessment. 

Can an Applicant do research of Service Providers before making an application for CHSP or HCP services?

Yes - it can be easier for Applicant/family members and may shorten the process if research of Service Providers is done before assessment so applicant can advise ACAT or RAS at the time of assessment who is their chosen Service Provider. 

How to submit a Referral to MAC for a RAS or ACAT assessment?

If you are the Applicant/family member you can contact MAC directly and lodge an application over the phone on 1800 200 422 or online at https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/referral.  If urgent service is required it can be more useful for the Applicant/family member to provide information over the phone to a MAC centre staff member so the information is correctly interpreted as to MAC’s specific requirements.  

What is the basic information required when making a Referral with MAC for assessment.

  • Name 

  • Date of Birth 

  • Phone/Address 

  • Gender 

  • Marital Status 

  • Indigenous/Cultural Status 

  • Language spoken at home 

  • Medicare/Pension/DVA Number 

  • Medical Conditions 

When completing the form, include information such as “Why the Applicant is seeking services or requires an assessment”. This will allow MAC to appropriately refer to RAS or ACAT for assessment. If the form is not completed in full the Applicant or Service Applicant may need to be contacted for additional information, possibly delaying the Referral. 

Important things to note when making a referral to MAC:

  • On page 3 of online Referral always ensure you write why the Applicant requires the ACAT assessment.  Note requests that do not explain why the Applicant needs an ACAT assessment, will be booked for a Home Assessment Service with RAS instead. If the Applicant needs ACAT assessment this will only lengthen the process 

  • If looking for ACAT assessment have at least four reasons why services are required and be specific on how things have changed in the Applicant’s independence 

  • When Referral is lodged, MAC screening decide whether it is to go to RAS or ACAT so if the Referral is made by a Service Provider request in both boxes that the whole of the contents are transferred into Applicant’s notes 

  • Ensure you print each page including the last one which includes the Referral Number which is confirmation of Referral or if Referral is made by applicant over phone, request and write down the ReferralNumber. 


What happens at completion of Referral?

  • MAC generates an AC Number which is used to track Applicant’s information. Each Applicant is permanently assigned an individual AC Number when they are registered with MAC. 

  • After Referral is completed ensure the Applicant is aware that they will be contacted within 1-2 weeks by phone by a member of the ACAT or RAS Team as the Applicant may think it is a nuisance call.  The team phones a few times but if contact is not made after a few attempts MAC will cancel the Referral Process. If the Applicant has hearing or linguistic issues MAC should be advised. 

  • EXTREMELY IMPORTANT – when a Service Provider submits a Referral ensure a Referral Number is provided.  If you don’t hear back from MAC, as they have been unable to make contact with your Applicant by phone, you will need this Referral Number to refer back to MAC.  Unless a prior approved family member is calling, it is impossible to do this without the Referral Number. 

  • When ACAT or RAS Team contact the Applicant they will make an appointment to assess the client at their home at their convenience.  Advise the Applicant so when they are contacted they don’t think it is a nuisance call and hang up. 

Difference between the process of referral for CHSP and HCP services?

  • If the Applicant needs a bit of help with basic tasks at home MAC centre staff may refer for assessment by a local assessor from the Regional Assessment Service (RAS) for assessment under the Community Home Support Programme (CHSP). 

  • If the Applicant has more complex aged care needs and requires a Home Care Package (HCP) MAC centre staff will organise for an assessment by a member of the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). 

What happens when assessment completed?

A member of the RAS or ACAT Team will ask the Applicant questions.  Family members may be present at the assessment.  The Applicant will never be forced to make decisions at the assessment. 

When assessment has been completed and the Applicant assessed as eligible for services ensure they request a Retrieval Number from the ACAT or RAS Team Member. 

When the assessment has been completed there will be three options. 

  1. Applicant can ask an Assessor to refer to specific Service Provider.  This is often the most expedient process 

  2. If no specific Service Provider is requested it will be broadcasted to all Service Providers in the area for acceptance.  Applicants will need to be aware that they may be contacted by many different Service Providers as they may worry they are nuisance calls  

  3. The Applicant should get from Assessor a Retrieval Code and phone all Service Providers, select one and then give the chosen Service Provider the Retrieval Code – this option can be a more difficult process for the Applicant as the Applicant then takes on responsibility for following through with Service Providers directly.  

How long does the assessment process take?

It may take up to a month for assessment to be finalised and request sent out to available Service Providers. 

What services are included in CHSP services?

Where an Applicant has been identified by RAS as requiring CHSP services these may include: 

  • Community Nursing 

  • Meals 

  • Transport  

  • Domestic Assistance  

  • Personal Care  

  • Home Modifications  

  • Occupational Therapy  

  • Social Support – Individual  

  • Social Support – Group 

  • Other Food Services 

  • Social Work 

  • Counselling (social work/ psychologist) 

  • Home Maintenance Speech Pathology 

  • Podiatry  

  • Dietician/Nutritionist 

  • Occupational Therapy 

  • Physiotherapy  

  • Goods, Equipment and Assistive Technology 

What is an AC Number?

An AC Number is a number used by MAC to track Applicants.  Each Applicant is permanently assigned an individual number. 

What is a Referral Number?

A Referral Number is generated when an Applicant submits a Referral. This number will be used to contact My Aged Care and track the progress of the Referral. 

What is a Retrieval Code?

A Retrieval Code is a number that can be provided by RAS or ACAT at time of assessment at Applicant’s request.  It is required if the Applicant chooses to shop for Service Providers after assessment. The chosen Service Provider will use the Retrieval Code to access and deliver the service. 

Useful MAC links

My Aged Care Referral 


My Aged Care find a Service Provider  


My Aged Care find a local ACAT Assessor 



ACAT – Aged Care Assessment Team 

ATSI – Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander 

CHSP – Commonwealth Home Support Programme 

Client – Applicant 

HACC – Home and Community Care 

HCP – Home Care Package 

MAC – My Aged Care 

RAS – Regional Assessment Service