Seniors ‘denied aged care’ due to assessment delays: peak

Nearly 400 Victorian seniors have been denied residential aged care since the new financial arrangements came into effect on 1 July due to “critical systems failure” at Centrelink, according to Leading Age Services Victoria.

 

Nearly 400 Victorian seniors have been denied residential aged care since the new financial arrangements came into effect on 1 July, according to Leading Age Services Victoria.

The peak body said the delays in income and assets assessments were due to “critical systems failure” at Centrelink.

As Australian Ageing Agenda first reported last week, aged care providers say that the delays are causing havoc across the country, with some reports that seniors are waiting up to six weeks for an assessment.

LASA Victoria said it recently surveyed its members and 70 per cent reported they have declined to fill a vacancy since July 1 due to a delayed Centrelink assessment which has affected over 370 elderly people. In addition, 80 per cent had not yet sighted one completed Centrelink form since the 1 July changes, the peak said.

LASA Victoria president Ingrid Williams said that since the problem has arisen, LASA had been working closely with the relevant Federal Government departments, and had requested further details of how the government intend to rectify this issue.

As we reported on Friday, the Department of Human Services provided the following statement in response to questions from Australian Ageing Agenda:

“The department is aware there have been some delays in the automatic generation of letters and is urgently working to resolve the issue. The department is generating some letters manually while the errors are being fixed and checking all other letters thoroughly. A number of the system issues have now been fixed and an increasing number of letters are now being generated automatically. The Department of Human Services has established a dedicated team to manually generate and issue the determination letters.

“Since 1 July 2014, the department has dispatched about 5,000 letters (including letters on behalf of the Department of Veterans Affairs). Many letters advising the outcome of means tests have been sent out, and a dedicated team will remain in place to ensure all letters are sent to customers as soon as possible. If a delay in providing a letter is causing inconvenience or if someone is in the position of urgently needing to access aged care recipients or their nominee, they should contact us on 1800 227 475 as soon as possible. We sincerely apologise to affected customers and thank them for their ongoing patience whilst this issue was being resolved.”

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