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:
- help with grocery shopping (if home delivery is not available)
- house cleaning
- laundry duties
- gardening, which may also include gutter cleaning
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
- electrical repairs.
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.
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
- You and your general practitioner need to complete the Household or Attendant Care Services application form (PDF, 118.3 KB).
- Submit the form to Comcare:
- email to email@example.com
- mail to Comcare, GPO Box 9905, Canberra ACT 2601.
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.
After we receive your claim
If Comcare manages your claim, your claims manager assesses the claim after we receive your application. We may ask you for more information before we can make a determination.
Your claims manager will generally arrange an assessment by a suitably qualified professional (most often 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 is 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 Comcare manages your claim and you disagree with our determination, you can ask us to reconsider it.
You need to submit an application for reconsideration within 30 days of our 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 household service providers are 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).
Other considerations when choosing a provider
Before you engage a provider to perform a service you should exercise due diligence and find out information on their quality and safety (see considerations in Table 1).
You may be able to gather information by reviewing their website or you can contact the provider directly.
|What to consider||Why|
The values of the provider
Consider what values are important to you, such as honesty, quality of service, to be treated with dignity and respect.
If you are researching the company on the internet, you will generally find the values under the heading ‘about us’.
Their hourly rate
Confirm the provider’s hourly rate. 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.
Whether the provider supplies their own equipment
Some providers use their own equipment and supplies; others only bring their own equipment and as you to provide supplies.
If you are unhappy with a provider’s supplies, you should be able to substitute you own. If you provide your own supplies, make sure this is accounted for when the provider sets their hourly rate.
Who will be carrying out the work
Will the same person be attending all the time? Having the same person will ensure consistency in the work as the person already knows your expectations.
Is there a backup person if the regular person is unwell or able to make it on the day?
Whether the service provider has a complaints process
Find out if the provider has a process if you need to lodge a complaint.
If you’re unhappy with the way a service has been delivered, or with how you’ve been treated, you have a right to complain and have your concerns addressed.
Questions you may consider asking a service provider
You may like to ask potential providers the following questions:
- Do you have household service workers who are experienced working with people with similar needs to mine?
- What are your emergency procedures? For example what after-hours contacts are available?
- What are the working hours? For example what is the latest or earliest time a carer can come to my home?
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 for household help 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 (our 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
If you are an employee of an Australian Government agency or statutory authority, email your receipt of payment for approved attendant care services with a Medical Services Claim form (PDF, 95.9 KB) to email@example.com.
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 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.