Government-funded personal alarms: What you need to know

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Personal alarms are similar to health monitors. The difference is, you won't find an array of nifty health features. They're much simpler and exist to send an SOS signal and location to emergency services (or family members) if the user has a fall or an accident. 

There’s an increase in older adults choosing to spend their golden years at home. In a survey by The CareSide, 66% of those aged 40-64 were interested in aging in place. Personal alarms can help seniors live safe and independent lives, especially if they bypass an aged care facility. They can also reassure carers or other family members their relative can seek help in an emergency.

If you come from a low-income background or need one for your health and safety, there are several government-subsidised initiatives where you can claim a personal alarm.

Initiative 1: Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP)

CHSP, or the Commonwealth Home Support Program, is one of the most accessible government-funded schemes. It aims to help Australia’s senior population live safely and independently in their homes and encourages them to be socially active within their community. 

The CHSP isn’t limited to personal alarms, either. They can assist with daily tasks, provide transportation, and help with home modifications. The CHSP is ideal for seniors who need basic support, like a personal alarm on a short-term or ongoing basis.

Apply for CHSP online using My Aged Care's online assessment tool. After the initial assessment, someone from CHSP will contact you regarding the next steps. 

To access CHSP’s services, you’ll need to be a member. To become a member, you’ll need to fork out the contribution fee (which is partially subsidised). After you become a member, speak to a CHSP service provider

The amount of funding you’re eligible for will vary depending on your circumstances. To qualify for funding via the CHSP, you’ll need to be: 

65 or older (50 or older for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples)


50 years or older (45 or older for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples) and on a low income, homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless

Initiative 2: Home care packages (HCP)

Home care packages are for those who need a higher level of care and support, as they go beyond the capability of CHSP. HCPs are particularly useful for helping seniors get the help they need while living independently at home. 

HCPs comprise a subsidy (what the government pays) and out-of-pocket costs (what you pay). You’ll be paying a provider to work with you and coordinate services needed at your current support level. This might involve gardening services, a personal shopper, or in-home medical care: the more support, the greater the subsidy. 

If you need a greater level of support, you can still receive personal alarms via HCP.

Initiative 3: National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

The NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) provides support for Aussies under 65 living with physical, intellectual, and sensory disabilities. Eligibility for NDIS funding is based on whether you're experiencing a lifelong disability, one that directly impacts your day-to-day life or a combination of both. The NDIS provides funds for home modifications, living assistance, education, employment, and devices like personal safety alarms. Contact your local NDIS office to check if you’re eligible. 

Initiative 4: Personal Alert South Australia (PASA)

If you’re a permanent South Australian resident, good news! You can receive a subsidy towards the purchase of a personal alarm or alarm monitoring system. Any device you obtain via PASA will have fall detection and 24/7 monitoring, with non-monitored options available. 

To be eligible for a personal alarm subsidised by PASA, you must:

  • Be over 75
  • Have a Centrelink or Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA) or Pensioner Concession card 
  • Be a permanent South Australian resident 
  • Be approved by My Aged Care for one of the following:
    • Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP)
    • Level 1 HCP
    • Level 2-4 HCP and not assigned an HCP 
    • Not eligible for HCP

You must also meet the following criteria:

  • You’re a high fall risk 
  • You suffer from an ongoing health condition that may require an emergency response
  • You have the physical and cognitive function to wear and operate a personal alarm 
  • You either live alone, are alone for five consecutive hours four times a week, or live with someone unable to call emergency services 

If you’re eligible, download an application form and speak to a registered healthcare professional.

Initiative 5: Rehab and Appliances Program (RAP)

The Rehab and Appliances Program (RAP) provides financial assistance to defence veterans, war-widowed partners, and dependents. They aim to minimise the impact of disabilities, improve quality of life, and enable you to live safely and independently. They supply:

  • Speech devices 
  • Memory devices 
  • Feeding appliances 
  • Bathing, continence, and personal hygiene products 
  • Assistance dogs 
  • Alarm system appliances 
  • Respiratory home therapy devices 
  • Mobility devices like walking frames, wheelchairs, and electric scooters 
  • Rehabilitation exercise and treatment machines 
  • Complex and non-complex home modifications 

To see if you’re eligible, you’ll need to contact your GP. Let them know what you’re struggling with and how the alarm will help you. They’ll either assess your clinical needs or refer you to the appropriate health professional for the assessment and arrange for the delivery of a personal alarm.

Final word

If you’re over a certain age or need a personal alarm for health or safety reasons, there are plenty of government-funded initiatives to support you. To check if you qualify, contact your GP or My Aged Care.

Hannah Geremia
Written by
Hannah Geremia
Hannah has had over six years of experience in researching, writing, and editing quality content. She loves gaming, dancing, and animals, and can usually be found under a weighted blanket with a cup of coffee and a book.

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