Elderly Australians in need of home care support face wait times up to nine months with the number of those in need doubling to 70,000 in just one year.

The government is facing increasing pressure to reduce the delays with the number of those in limbo growing to 68,109 by May 31, 2024, from 28,665 in June last year.

The Senate budget estimates hearing on Thursday also revealed that those who are already receiving the support are waiting for extra help as their circumstances change.

“We have seen a deterioration of access, particularly in the last six months,” the Department of Health and Aged Care’s Russell Herald said.

The home care package provides support for Australians with showering, cleaning, cooking and other basic needs with those receiving the assistance trying to delay or avoid moving into full-time age care.

A number of levels of assistance are provided by the package, depending on what has been approved for each individual.

Levels of entitlement range from $10,000 to $59,000 per year, with each recipient assessed on daily fees they can contribute to the care.

As of May 31, 117 people were waiting for level one assistance, 17,611 for level two, 36,524 for level three and 13,857 for level four, officials at senate estimates revealed.

Those currently waiting for level-three assistance face wait times of 9 to 12 months, while those seeking a level-four package face a wait of 6 to 9 months.

The 2024/25 budget pledged an additional 24,100 home care packages, but the government is being urged to reduce wait times as the queue grows.

Source: AAP