Disability Supports & Services

 Introduction to Disability Supports & Government Funding

Listed below are links to a range of useful information on disability supports and funding:

Work and Income

Work and Income provides a wide range of financial assistance. The Carer’s Guide and Kid’s Health above provides a good outline:

  • Support Living Payment for either full-time carers or those with long-term disabilities
  • Community Services Card and High User Card to help with the cost of health care and pharmaceuticals respectively
  • Child Disability Allowance paid to the main carer of a child or young person with a serious disability
  • Disability Allowance paid to the person with a disability or their family member to cover the cost of disability-related costs.

Contact Work and Income on 0800 559 009 for further information or look online at their list of benefits and payments.

Lightbulb with Helpful Tips

Helpful Tips when thinking about support

  • What support do you and your family need? Weigh up what support is really needed and when this is needed.
  • Having lots of professionals in your home, giving you lots of advice, while helpful can also be overwhelming. You don’t have to do it all. Work out what’s right for you and your family/whānau.
  • Limit professional visits to one day per week (if possible). Keep a diary close on hand so you can coordinate professional/medical appointments.
  • Be clear about the purpose of the support and what the benefit to your child will be.
  • You can access the NASC and exit the NASC (Needs Assessment Service Coordination) at anytime.
  • Be honest about your day with your needs assessor.
  • It can be helpful to write down everything you do during the day/week and all the assistance you or your child requires over that time. Be honest, don’t sugar coat it, and describe things as they really are.
  • Try to form positive relationships with the people who will support you and your family/whānau. They can become life long allies.
  • Through Work and Income you can have two agents appointed. An agent is a person or organisation who acts in the interests of another. You need to download and complete a form.
  • If navigating the funding system seems overwhelming seek advice from either another support parent or other disability organisations.

Needs Assessment and Service Coordination (NASC)

NASCs are organisations contracted by the Ministry of Health to work with disabled people and their family, whānau, aiga, or carers, to:

  • identify their strengths and support needs
  • outline what disability support services are available
  • determine their eligibility for Ministry-funded support services

You can view eligibility criteria here.

Needs Assessment is a process that helps to identify and document you or your family member’s strengths, abilities, needs, and goals. Service Co-ordination links supports and services to the needs that are identified in your Needs Assessment. A NASC Agency (Needs Assessment and Service Coordination Agency) is involved in needs assessment and coordination of funded services.

You can request a Needs Assessment yourself, or a referral can be made by your GP, Pediatrician, family carer or other professional. An assessment can take place wherever you choose, such as in your own home, workplace, or at the NASC office.

When you do the Needs Assessment you need to think about what help would be useful and in what form – what support do I need in the home, in the community, to be socially active, etc?

Service Co-ordination is a separate process that is about finding the best solutions to meet your identified needs (based off your needs assessment).

A Service Co-ordinator can tell you what supports might be available and what funding support you may be entitled to. The NASC agency contacts the service provider/s and contracts them to work on your behalf.

Individualised Funding (IF) and Enhanced Individualised Funding (EIF)

What is Individualised Funding (IF)?

Individualised Funding is a way of paying for Home and Community Support Services which lets disabled people and/or their families directly manage the resources they are allocated for disability supports.

IF gives you increased choice and control to choose who provides this support, and how and when you use it. Your options range from engaging support workers and planning how your supports will be used, to employing your own care providers and managing all aspects of service delivery.  Within IF, you have a choice to manage your funds yourself, or use an agent to do the payroll.

Steps involved in IF and links/information to make the process easier…

  • Step One

    Contact a Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC). Complete a needs assessment. See if IF is suitable for you.

    A needs assessment takes into account essential need and natural supports available to you.

    Am I eligible for ministry-funded support services? Where do I find my local NASC?

  • Step Two

    The person decides to use IF. The person chooses an IF Host from the list and the NASC makes a referral.

    If you want to use IF to manage your support allocations, you must do this through an IF Host organisation. 

    IF Hosts help administer payment arrangements and support people on IF to manage their support allocations.

    Where do I find a list of IF Host providers?

  • Step Three

    The person and the proposed IF Host discuss options.

  • Step Four

    The person and IF Host agree on level of support needed.

    The person and IF Host work together to develop an ISP (Individual Services Plan).

    An ISP includes how core supports will be covered and the service level of support the person requests. 

    Refer to the MOH guide to IF to find out levels of support. What are the types of disability support services funded by the Ministry?

  • Step Six

    Support services are delivered.

  • Step Seven

    Support services verified by person and IF Host notified.

  • Step Eight

    IF Host invoices Ministry of Health.  IF Host receives funds and makes payments for supports delivered

  • Step Nine

    If you are unhappy with the disability support services you are receiving, speak with your provider or NASC agency and if you are still unhappy you can make a complaint.

Enhanced Individualised Funding (EIF)

Enhanced Individualised Funding (EIF) takes the idea of personalised budgets one step further, by allocating funding so a disabled person can choose to spend it on disability supports that help them achieve their goals rather than have to spend it on a specific service.  Enhanced individualised Funding is currently only available in the Bay of Plenty.

To apply for EIF you need to talk with your Local Area Coordinator or Support Net.

View EIH stories here.

Taking a Break (respite)

The difference between Carer Support and Respite Services

Respite services are community-based services designed to provide short-term breaks for the carers of a disabled person.

Carer Support provides reimbursement of some of the costs of using a support person to care and support a disabled person. This means their carer can take some timeout for themselves.

View the Ministry of Health’s disability respite strategy, Transforming Respite, will make it easier for carers of disabled people to have a break from their caring responsibilities.

Transforming Respite sets the future direction for improving disability respite support. Changes to the respite model will include:

  • flexible respite budgets
  • more quality respite options
  • taking an investment approach to allocation of support and funding
  • easier payment methods
  • providing better access to information and support to find respite options.

View the Transforming Respite strategy here.

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