The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia.

1.1.A.110 Aged care (residential)


This definition applies to all payments subject to income and assets testing.


For the purpose of the SSAct, aged care is residential care and accommodation provided by a person or body approved by the Department of Health and Aged Care to operate Australian Government funded aged care services for the elderly.

Prior to 1 July 2014 there were 2 broad types of residential aged care provided in:

  • an approved high level care home (formerly known as nursing homes) (1.1.N.140), and/or
  • an approved low level care home (formerly known as hostels) (1.1.H.90).

From 1 July 2014, the distinction between low and high level care no longer applies. All residential care recipients will have access to the type of residential care service that meets their needs.

Aged care resident

An aged care resident is a person who resides in an Australian Government funded aged care home and who has been assessed by an ACAT as having significant care needs and requiring residential care.

Act reference: SSAct section 13(8A) … an aged care resident for the purposes …

Assets test exemption of principal home for aged care residents

Provisions exist to continue to regard an aged care resident's former home as their principal home for defined periods when the person is not living in the home.

Act reference: SSAct section 11A(9) A residence of a person …

Policy reference: SS Guide Exempting the principal home - care situations

Last reviewed: