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Means test task force members announced

The government has announced a new taskforce charged with the creation of a simpler means test form for people entering aged care.

Human Services Minister Michael Keenan said the taskforce will also provide recommendations on faster means testing, including for those with complex financial affairs.

“The current 28-page form can be challenging, so we plan to have major simplifications in place by May next year,” said Keenan.

On top of the easier-to-use form, there would also be another that’s even less complex for those with simple financial affairs. The group will also work to simplify the 18-page form for those accessing home care.

The taskforce was set up, in part, as a response to community members’ complaints that the form was unnecessarily complicated and filling it out was stressful.

Led by the Department of Human Services, taskforce members include representation from aged care providers, financial advisers, relevant government agencies and consumer representatives. The Department confirmed Leading Age Services Australia, Aged Care Gurus and Aged Care Steps as some of its members.

Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said work was also commencing on a $61.7 million revamp of the My Aged Care portal to make access easier.

The funding, wrapped up in an $85 million bundle, was earmarked in the last federal budget.

Wyatt said the tool must be as easy to use as possible and provide consumers with the right information in a people-friendly format.

My Aged Care will receive an upgraded website and enhanced service finder, more self-service options, a client journey dashboard and a referrals system for health professionals.

“This will allow doctors and specialists to send referrals to My Aged Care directly from their clinical information systems, and to track the progress of their clients through My Aged Care,” said Wyatt.

He said aged care access will also be streamlined, with $14.8 million to develop a new integrated assessment system for older Australians.

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