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Information for families and friends of the people we support 8 March 2022

Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 8 March 2022

Client Fees consultation outcomes and new Client Fees schedule

In August 2021, DHS Disability Services began speaking to stakeholders, including you as a relative or trusted representative of a person supported by the service, about making changes to everyday living expenses or Client Fees.

There are currently 11 different everyday living fee arrangements plus individually negotiated arrangements across the service. This means that people supported by our service are paying different amounts for the same everyday living expenses. The purpose of the review of Client Fees and the Client Fees Proposed Structure was to provide simpler and fairer Client Fees arrangements.

Consultation

We undertook consultation about making changes to Client Fees, through a number of ways including:

  • emails and letters including the Client Fees Proposed Structure, for your review and consideration
  • self-consenting clients were provided information by Service Coordinators who supported them to work through the information
  • two sessions about Client Fees with the services’ client advocacy group in August 2021, and a facilitated discussion to allow participants to share their views about everyday living expenses
  • a series of Family Forums in August 2021
  • discussions with the Public Trustee and Office of the Public Advocate
  • all stakeholders having ways to ask questions, seek clarification and provide feedback about their views of the Client Fees Proposed Structure.

Downloads about this process

The consultation process was formally concluded in December 2021, and a review of the feedback and questions has been undertaken to define a new DHS Disability Services Client Fees Schedule. The new Client Fees Schedule and a Client Fees Information Sheet are below.

DHS Disability Services Client Fees: Schedule (PDF 336.4 KB)

DHS Disability Services Client Fees: Information Sheet (PDF 246.0 KB)

Summary of the themes and issues that were raised

We want to provide you with a summary of the themes and issues that were raised during the consultation process and how this information was used to develop the new Client Fees Schedule.

Themes raised during consultation included:

  • payment of utilities will be cost prohibitive for those clients who do not currently pay for utilities
  • if DHS is utilising space in a home for office purposes, they should pay a contribution to utility costs
  • transparent and easy to understand DHS statements with clear and defined processes in place (visible to families and trusted representatives) to pay for invoices, like utilities
  • introduction of user-pay for pharmacy items for all clients will be cost prohibitive for those clients who only pay a portion of their current pharmacy expenses and clarification was sought about how DHS Managed clients will organise payment of pharmacy items in the future
  • fixing damage to homes – suggestion damage should be covered by DHS if it is an accident or by the client if it is caused by them
  • transportation – clarification sought about the inclusion or exclusion of transport costs within Client Fees
  • personal contents insurance – suggestion insurance should be an included cost in the DHS Managed arrangement because it is difficult and cost prohibitive to organise as an individual.

In addition to feedback that was received to make changes to the Client Fees Proposed Structure, feedback was also received about the importance of resolving inequality within the current arrangements. For example, all clients should pay for their own utilities and pharmacy items.

All feedback provided during the consultation process has been considered. Thank you for your time in being part of this process.

Your feedback helped shape the final arrangements

You will see by reviewing the attached Client Fees Schedule and Client Fees Information Sheet your feedback has helped to shape these final arrangements, including:

  • everyone supported by DHS Disability Services will pay for their own utility costs
  • DHS will no longer collect the Pharmaceutical Allowance, Rent Assistance or the utility and telephone portion of the Pension Supplement. Instead, within the DHS Managed arrangement, DHS will collect 100% of a client’s DSP energy support payment, currently known as the Energy Supplement. This will support the payment of electricity costs
  • DHS will seek the owner of a house (for example the housing provider) to fix damage, however, if the damage was caused by a client, it will be the responsibility of the client to cover these costs
  • everyone supported by DHS Disability Services will pay for their own pharmacy costs. Clients who do not currently have arrangements established with a pharmacy can be supported by DHS Disability Services to set this up
  • transportation, using the DHS Disability Services van fleet, continues to be included in the service that we provide your family member or friend, regardless of the Client Fees arrangement, for the time being. This is an arrangement we have with the Commonwealth Government until 2023
  • personal contents insurance continues to be an item paid for by the individual and not a component of Client Fees, however DHS Disability Services undertakes to assist clients to seek appropriate coverage options
  • A DHS Managed sub-category arrangement has been introduced, to provide for those clients who require Home Enteral Nutrition (HEN).

Cost of Living Concession and other works

DHS Disability Services is also pursuing discussion with the DHS Concessions team about the accessibility of relevant South Australian Government supports for low income earners supported by DHS Disability Services, like the Cost of Living Concession. Work is being undertaken to align access to such support with Client Fees changes, benefiting all clients on a DSP.

Additionally, work will be undertaken to update the process that DHS Client Trust statements are provided to you.

We will be in contact with you in April about transitioning to the new Client Fees Schedule.

How to contact us

If you have any queries about your family member or friend, you can:

If you know another family member or friend who would like to receive this e-newsletter, please encourage them to sign up via th DHS website or phone 1800 952 962.

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Page last updated : 09 Mar 2022

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