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A new Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) is scheduled to be in force by July 2021. Here’s what we know and how you can prepare.

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Is Your Aged Care Home Eligible for the Government’s COVID-19 Support Grants? A Quick Guide

The Australian Government has announced that it will spend $52.9 million on grants to reimburse aged care providers who have been directly impacted by COVID-19. This quick guide will help you determine your eligibility for the grants and give you some information about what you can receive and how you can apply if you are eligible.

 

To be eligible, you must be an approved provider

To be eligible, you must be an Approved Residential, NATSIFACP or Home Care provider.

However, if you have Business Interruption Insurance including COVID-19 coverage, you will not be eligible, even if you are an approved provider and meet the other criteria. Likewise, if you are funded and/or operated by a State Government you will not be eligible.

 

To be eligible, one or more of your residents or staff must have been infected or isolated

To be eligible, you must have had one or more COVID-19 infected or isolated residents/clients/staff in the period between 24 February 2020 and 31 May 2021.

 

To be eligible, you must have incurred “eligible expenses” for “eligible activities”

The purpose of these grants is to reimburse you for costs incurred while managing COVID-19, and not for anything else. To achieve this purpose, the government will only reimburse money spent on certain items (“eligible expenses”) for certain purposes (“eligible activities”).

Specifically, to be eligible you must have spent money on one or more of these items:

  • salary and wages
  • contractor expenses
  • purchase or hire of equipment and resources for managing infection control
  • other expenses including training staff in infection control and the cost of an independent audit of eligible expenditure (where the government has requested one)

for one or more of these purposes:

  • providing increased staff to manage care and broader requirements in a service with residents/clients who are infected or isolated due to COVID-19
  • replacing existing staff who are infected or isolated due to COVID-19
  • training staff and residents/clients in infection control
  • accessing equipment and resources required to manage a service in an infection control environment including linen and bedding, paper products, PPE, disinfection and cleaning agents.

 

To be eligible, you must have incurred your expenses in the period between 24 February 2020 and 31 May 2021

 

If you are eligible, how much can you get?

First, this is a reimbursement grant, so you cannot receive any more than you have spent on “eligible expenses” for “eligible activities.”

Second, there is a cap on the maximum reimbursement you can receive. For Residential Aged Care Services, the maximum grant value is a base funding of $20,000 plus $2,000 for each operational place. So, a home with 50 operational places could not get more than $120,000 ($20,000 base funding plus $100,000 operational places allocation).

The Australian Government has announced it will spend a total of $52.9 million over two years for the grant program. It aims to spend $26.45 million in the 2019-2020 financial year, and $26.45 million in the 2020-2021 financial year.

Note that this means the government is aiming to spend the same amount of money over two very different time periods. The program first opened at the end of March 2020, so the whole of the first year’s funding is set to be spent in only three months (27 March 2020 to end of the financial year in June).

 

How to apply

To apply for a grant, use the online form on the Grant Connect website.

You will have to login. The process is quick and easy, you just provide your name and details and set up a password.

Applications close 31 May 2021.

 

Looking to the future

If you are eligible for the grant now, or might become eligible in the future, you will need to take steps to ensure you can demonstrate your eligibility. This means collecting and maintaining good records of the COVID-19 impacts in your facility and the expenditure you make to address these impacts.

Mark Bryan
ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Mark Bryan
Mark is a Legal Research Consultant at CompliSpace and the editor for ACE. Mark has worked as a Legal Policy Officer for the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department and the NSW Department of Justice. He also spent three years as lead editor for the private sessions narratives team at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Mark holds a bachelor’s degree in Arts/Law from the Australian National University with First Class Honours in Law, a Graduate Diploma in Writing from UTS and a Graduate Certificate in Film Directing from the Australian Film Television and Radio School.

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