The Mount Everest of forms

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The SA457 Permanent Residential Aged Care Request for a Combined Assets and Income Assessment

It all started with good intentions.

Part of every discussion we have about entry to residential aged care includes some talk of the form. The most cumbersome of forms. The Permanent Residential Aged Care Request for a Combined Assets and Income Assessment. The SA457. Even the name is formidable.

It’s the form that strikes fear into the heart of even the most seasoned administrator.

To place this form at the centre of the move to Residential Aged Care, as the gateway to government support, is a very tough hurdle for whoever is doing the paperwork. Especially when there are a whole other bunch of things going on.

People know that not all of the form will apply to them. That it's little like a choose your own adventure book. That the best strategy to completing the form is to simply lock the doors, put on some music, set up with a glass (or two) of wine, a pen and a pad to write a list of all the supporting documents that will need to be tracked down. 

Could there be a better way?

Choose your own adventure

With some enthusiasm we began the challenge of flow charting through the SA457. If it is a choose your own adventure, we were keen to see it on a page a series of choices and pathways. Simple.

Not so simple. This was a way bigger task than expected and we had to break the form down into 5 sections:

  1. Details about the resident (and/or their partner)

  2. Details about the home (or former home) - including who is still living in it, whether it has been sold, and whether it is a house, unit, farm, caravan, boat or something in between. 

  3. Details about assets. All assets. Even cyber currency (bitcoin), greyhounds, trusts, taxi plates and stamp collections.

  4. Details about income. All income. From rental properties around the world to pensions and to hobby farm income.

  5. Details about a nominee to act on your behalf. Whether a person, an organisation, their authority (e.g Power of Attorney), and that they will need to sign to accept the responsibilities and obligations.

This has not been a walk in the park. However we persevered and finished. 

Let us be your guide

After exhaustively mapping the SA457 form, we have been able to clearly understand the pathway for the user based on answers to the questions.

So if you do not have a partner, you will be taken straight past the questions asking for detail. If you already receive the age pension, and you think the details on file at Centrelink are up to date, there are about 50 questions you can skip right through. If you don’t have a house you can skip another 50 questions.

It won’t be that simple for everyone. However it can still be made easier for most.

Testing the trial

We now have the SA457 divided up into 5 sections as an online tool.

After completing section 1, you will know if you need to complete the other 4 sections.

All you have to do is complete an online form, and ONLY THE ANSWERS that need to be completed are returned to you by email. You can then fill in the relevant sections of the form. Hopefully with less confusion.

We have also begun adding helpful tips along the way. Perhaps some links to more information on the question - or some detail as to why the question is even being asked. This is the kind of detail that may help answer a question.

We are looking for people to have a try and let us know if it is helpful.

Where to next?

Helping people get through the form efficiently is just step 1. There is more that we can do from here.

Perhaps the information can be put straight in the form and the completed forms returned to the user.

Perhaps the information gathered by the form can be neatly organised and put into the calculator on the myagedcare.gov.au website. 

Perhaps the information can be used to offer more detailed analysis of the situation of the user - possibly when combined with detail from the aged care provider.  

We are excited by what we can do from here, however, first up, we need to know if we are on the right track building tools to help people with the form itself.

Calling for volunteers

If you are about to launch into this form, and want to try our tools to help, please make contact. The tool is getting better all the time, and with your feedback this will continue to be the case.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Contact us here.

Brendan Ryan