Veterans' Home Care

Veterans' Home Care

Veterans’ Home Care is an Australian Government program designed to assist those veterans and war widows/widowers who wish to continue living at home, but who need a small amount of practical help. The program is provided through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.



All Gold Card Holders — this includes all war widows/widowers and veterans of the Australian Defence Force.

White Card Holders — Australian Defence Force Veterans, Commonwealth and Allied Veterans are eligible for accepted disability related respite care only.

Partners and carers may receive respite care if they are caring for an eligible veteran or war widow/widower.

Other cards such as pensioner concession or health care cards do not provide eligibility for Veteran's Home Care.



The Veterans’ Home Care assessment will identify the eligible person (or a carer’s care needs for that person), their functional capability and independence goals.

The assessment not only focuses on Veterans’ Home Care services, but all health and community needs. This is to maximise independence for the person and their carer.

The Veterans’ Home Care coordination process arranges the person’s (or their carer’s) services and/or links, or will refer them to other services based on their needs.

What services are available?

Please see below a list of services provided. Click on each box for more information.

Domestic assistance

This refers to household chores to help a person manage everyday activities in a safe, secure and healthy home environment. Service plans can be made for a weekly or fortnightly service. This may include assistance with:

  • House cleaning
  • Dishwashing
  • Clothes and linen washing and ironing
  • Bed making
  • Internal window cleaning (generally a one-off service, similar to window cleaning provided under Home and Garden Maintenance)
  • Unaccompanied shopping for the eligible person using a shopping list
  • Unaccompanied bill paying
  • Meal preparation, but not complete food services (meal preparation is not the primary focus of Domestic Assistance)
  • Chopping/splitting, moving and/or stacking of firewood on the person’s property in rural and remote areas

Personal care

This is assistance with helps a person to keep daily hygiene and grooming that they are unable to do themselves. This may include assistance with:

  • Eating
  • Bathing/showering
  • Toileting
  • Dressing and grooming. This includes application of:
    • compression stockings
    • skin care creams and lotions
    • pressure area prevention aids and protective bandaging
    • fitting of aids/appliances (such as splints, callipers)
  • Getting in and out of bed
  • Moving about the house

Home and garden maintenance

This helps keep a person’s home in a safe and habitable condition by reducing environmental health and safety hazards. Activities include minor maintenance or repair work that can be carried out by a handyperson, which does not require a qualified tradesperson. This may include:

  • Replacing light bulbs and tap washers
  • Changing batteries in smoke and/or security alarms
  • Cleaning gutters, external and internal windows, ceiling fans, exhaust fans and/or air conditioning/split system units
  • Minor home maintenance (e.g. cupboard door adjustment)
  • Pruning, lawn mowing or weeding (where there is an environment health and safety hazard)
  • Clearing of debris following natural disasters
  • Chopping/splitting, moving and/or stacking of firewood on the property
  • One-off yard clean up where there is a safety hazard (e.g. fire reduction, mobility limitation)

Please note: major repair or services requiring a qualified tradesperson, gutter replacement, house painting, tree lopping, removal, garden redesign and landscaping are not provided under safety-related Home and Garden Maintenance.

Respite care

Respite Care gives a break to a carer by temporarily relieving them of their caring responsibilities.

A carer is someone who provides unpaid support and may receive the Carer Payment or Carer Allowance from Centrelink. A carer is not required to live with the care recipient.

A carer can be a friend, partner or family member who provides ongoing care to a person who is severely incapacitated or frail.

There are three types of Respite Care available through the Veterans’ Home Care program:

  • In-Home Respite
  • Residential Respite
  • Emergency Short-Term Home Relief

In-home respite

This allows a carer to have a break while a substitute carer comes into the home to take over the caring role. In-Home Respite can be for regular visits or one-off situations. It gives the carer the opportunity to attend to everyday activities and supports working carers or those re-entering the workforce.

In-Home Respite is available for people who are:

  • Being cared for and their carer needs a break from the caring role
  • Caring for someone and they need a break from the caring role

In-Home Respite may take place while the carer is away from the home or while they are at home, but it must enable the carer to be relieved of the caring tasks. Activities undertaken by the substitute carer are those the carer would normally do if they were present.

Self-carers are not eligible for In-Home Respite.

Household cleaning is not provided under In-Home Respite. This service can be provided under Domestic Assistance.

Residential respite

Residential Respite provides short-term care in an Australian Government-funded aged care facility or other appropriate residential setting for people who:

  • Are being cared for and whose carer is in need of a temporary break from the caring role
  • Are self-carers, but are in need of respite care
  • Intend to return to the community

Residential Respite may be used on a planned or emergency basis. The carer might use Residential Respite to attend an event or go on a holiday. Additionally, the carer may need help if they are unwell or unable to provide care for any reason.

Emergency Short-Term Home Relief (ESTHR)

ESTHR is emergency care, which includes 24-hour care. It is provided to people who are being cared for and whose carer is unable to provide care to them due to sudden and unforeseen circumstances.

If the only alternatives are admission to hospital or being left without the necessary care, ESTHR provides emergency care to the entitled person in the home until the carer returns to the caring role or other arrangements are in place (e.g. general community services, residential aged care, etc.).

Self-carers are not eligible for ESHR.

Further information

Further information on the Veterans' Home Care program and its range of services is available by contacting the Department of Veterans’ Affairs on 1800 555 254 or by visiting the Department of Veterans Affairs website.