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This is a complex and specialist area covering the circumstances in which individuals can qualify for
assistance from the government to pay for the not inconsiderable rest home fees that can be
involved where a person is living in a rest home or indeed receiving constant hospital care in the
hospital wing of a rest home.

While there are existing policies which determine eligibility, one must have an open mind to the fact
that with the ageing population and the increased number of people going into home or hospital
care there are going to be financial issues of affordability in the future which have not yet been fully
canvassed. Therefore, while this article endeavours to state the government policies, these are only
the policies in existence now and will almost certainly change in the future.

People who:
o Don’t have a partner or have a partner who is in long term residential care.
– Must have combined total assets valued at $273,628 or less to qualify.

People who:
o Have a partner who is not in care can choose a threshold of:
– Combined total assets of $149,845 or less not including the value of their house or car,
– Combined total assets of $273,628 or less which will include the value of their house and

Please note: Asset thresholds are adjusted at 1 July each year with the next adjustment due 1 July
2024 and that the house is only exempt from the financial means assessment when it is the principal
place of residence of the partner who is not in care or there is a dependent child.
As a person cannot apply until they meet the criteria tests mentioned above, it is important to keep
a close eye on the asset total in either category to ensure that an application is made at the correct
time and a Funeral Trust established if considered appropriate. If the application is not made soon
enough, then the WINZ subsidy cannot be backdated. So, for example, if it was left until the assets
in the second case totalled $100,000 and even though the threshold was then (say) $200,000, WINZ
would only start paying from the point that the application has been made; they would not make
any compensation for the money that had been spent between $200,000 and $100,000.

WINZ are very well informed about the role of trusts in the lives of many people applying for a rest
home subsidy. They will scrutinise very carefully the history of any trust including in particular the
reasons for setting up the trust. If they consider the reasons were valid then the trust assets may be
excluded from the personal assists, but WINZ may still look to any income that the trust is earning as
a contribution towards the rest home payments. This is very important to understand as many
people set up trusts because it was then customary to do so, and they may not now be the panacea
they were initially thought to be in this context.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and not intended as a substitute for specific
professional advice on any matter and should not be relied upon for that purpose. We do not give
financial, taxation or investment advice and nothing in this article is intended as such.