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Household services

For: Claimants Advocates

You may need help with household tasks following a work-related injury or illness.


Before you select a provider

If you want to claim the cost of household services, make sure you get approval before you engage a service provider.


Household services explained

Household services are basic services of a domestic nature that you require for the proper running and maintenance of your household.

Household services may include:

  • cooking
  • help with grocery shopping (if home delivery is not available)
  • house cleaning
  • laundry duties
  • gardening, which may also include gutter cleaning
  • childcare.

Compensation is not payable for household maintenance and repairs such as:

  • painting and decorating (exterior and interior)
  • washing, servicing, repairing or maintaining family vehicles
  • repairing fences, doors, and windows
  • plumbing
  • electrical repairs.

Eligibility

Household services eligibility

You may apply for household services if you have an accepted claim for compensation and the services are required as a result of your compensable injury.

You may be required to be assessed by an occupational therapist or other health professional.

Your request for household services can be considered if you are no longer able to complete the household tasks required to properly run and maintain your home.

Compensation for household services is not payable for the first 28 days after an injury or illness, unless:

  • you have a catastrophic injury
  • your claims manager determines you have financial hardship
  • your claims manager determines that you require childcare services to supervise your dependent children.

Payment for services cannot be approved if it is reasonable to expect other members of your family to carry out the tasks. This is the case even if family members did not normally undertake the tasks before your injury or illness.

Childcare eligibility

In addition to meeting household services eligibility, a claims manager can consider paying for childcare if:

  • you are unable to care for your child as a result of your compensable condition, and
  • you didn’t pay for childcare before your injury or your childcare costs have increased as a direct result of your work-related condition.

In dealing with the effects of an ongoing injury, employees are expected to make reasonable adjustments to their childcare arrangements. For example, where two parents are available to provide care and the injured parent (being the injured employee) needs to attend a weekly medical treatment, the other parent is generally expected to adjust their usual activities to provide childcare.

Childcare costs are a normal expense associated with being in employment. An injured employee returning to work after a period of maternity leave, or after a period of incapacity, is expected to cover their own childcare costs in the same way as if they were not injured.

Where a claim for childcare services is reasonably required, we encourage you to use a qualified childcare worker to reduce any potential risk or harm to your child in care.

The Australian Government’s Child Care Finder can help you find a qualified child care provider in your area.

How to make a claim

Employees of an Australian Government agency or statutory authority

  1. You and your general practitioner need to complete the Household or Attendant Care Services application form (PDF, 118.3 KB).
  2. Submit the form to Comcare:

Employees of a self-insured licensee

If you work for an organisation which is a self-insured licensee, a staff member in your organisation or a third-party provider manages your claim. Speak with your human resources team for more information.

See a list of corporations and organisations with a self-insurance licence.

After your claim is received

Your claims manager assesses the claim after they receive your application. Your claims manager may ask you for more information before they can make a determination.

Your claims manager may arrange an assessment by a suitably qualified professional (usually an occupational therapist) to assist with assessing if and what services are required.

You can engage a provider for household services after your claim is approved.

The household services provided are regularly reviewed to ensure that you are receiving an appropriate level of service and that the type of assistance being provided meets your needs.

We expect the type and frequency of services you require to reduce as you recover and adapt.

If you disagree with the determination

If you disagree with our determination, you can ask your claims manager to reconsider it.

You need to submit an application for reconsideration within 30 days of the determination or apply for an extension of time.

For more information about this process, see Apply for a reconsideration.

Engaging a service provider

You are responsible for engaging the services of a household service provider.

Using an accredited provider

Comcare strongly recommends that the household services provider is an accredited Australian Community Industry Alliance (ACIA) provider.

ACIA is the national peak body that accredits community service providers operating across Australia to the industry standard. By choosing an ACIA member, you can be assured that the household service provider delivers high quality, individualised services.

Using an ACIA-approved service provider ensures that:

  • replacement staff and carers will be available in times of sickness or absence at short notice
  • carers have appropriate insurance cover and deliver services that meet work health and safety legislation
  • qualified staff with credentials are available to meet your needs
  • your needs are monitored appropriately and that care plans are put in place to ensure appropriate services are provided.

For more information, see Australian Community Industry Alliance (ACIA).

Questions to ask potential service providers

Asking service providers key questions before you engage them can help ensure you receive quality services that meet your needs and expectations. Some of this information may also be found on a provider's website.

  • Are you accredited by the Australian Community Industry Alliance (ACIA)?
  • Are your workers experienced in providing household services to people with similar needs to mine?
  • What is the hourly rate? Remember, if the provider’s rate is higher than the statutory rate and you engage them for their services, you are responsible for the payment of any difference.
  • Do you supply your own equipment and products? If you prefer the provider uses your products and/or equipment when they would generally use their own, ask them to adjust their hourly rate to reflect the use of your products and/or equipment.
  • Who will be carrying out the work and is it the same person each time? Having the same worker means the person is familiar with you, your expectations and the work you require.
  • Is there a backup person if the regular person is unwell or unable to make it on the day?
  • What are your emergency procedures? For example, what after-hours contacts are available?
  • What happens if you have a complaint or concern about the services provided?

Use of family members or friends to provide services

Comcare encourages the use of professionally qualified providers to ensure you are receiving high quality, appropriate care.

We do not encourage the use of family members or friends to provide paid household services as it may:

  • cause issues in the relationship
  • create conflicting responsibilities
  • leave you without appropriate support if the family member or friend falls ill or requires leave.

Requests to have a family member provide household help will only be considered in exceptional circumstances such as where there is limited access to an accredited Australian Community Industry Alliance (ACIA) provider.

You should discuss this with your claims manager before engaging a family member or friend to provide household services. We recommend that family members providing household services are accredited by, and meet the same standards of, ACIA.

Payment for services

Payment limits

Payment for household services is subject to a weekly maximum limit. This limit does not apply to people who have a catastrophic injury.

How a service provider gets paid

There are two ways a service provider can be paid for their services:

  • from the claims manager (preferred method) or
  • directly from you.

From the claim manager

If you are an employee of an Australian Government agency or statutory authority, your service provider can email invoices for approved household services to general.enquiries@comcare.gov.au.

Where your claim is managed by a self-insured licensee, please work directly with your claims manager.

Directly from you

The service provider may seek payment directly from you and then you can seek reimbursement through your claims manager.

If you are an employee of an Australian Government agency or statutory authority, email your receipt of payment for approved household services with a Medical Services Claim form (PDF, 95.9 KB) to general.enquiries@comcare.gov.au.

We will usually make payments within 28 days of receiving the invoice.

Where your claim is managed by a self-insured licensee, please work directly with your claims manager.

If you are unsure who your service provider should seek payment from, please call us on 1300 366 979.

If you have a complaint

If you are unhappy with the way a service has been delivered, or with how you have been treated, you have a right to complain and have your concerns addressed.

You can:

  • raise the concerns with the worker doing your household services or their employer (your service provider) if you feel comfortable to do so
  • work with your claims manager to change your service provider, if you do not feel comfortable raising your concerns or feel your concerns have not been addressed
  • raise serious or ongoing concerns about a provider’s behaviour with your claims manager and with the Australian Community Industry Alliance (ACIA), where the provider is accredited by them.

More information

If you are a service provider, see Household service providers for information we provide you.

We provide guidance to help decision makers and participants understand particular provisions of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act) and to help ensure they are applied consistently. See Scheme guidance – Compensation for household services.

Page last reviewed: 23 November 2020
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Comcare
GPO Box 9905, Canberra, ACT 2601
1300 366 979 | www.comcare.gov.au

Date printed 18 Oct 2021

https://www.comcare.gov.au/claims/supports-benefits/household-services