COVID-19: Getting disability support

Advice for disabled people and their families on getting support during COVID-19.

Last updated: 2 July 2020

If you are a disability or aged care provider, see Disability and aged care providers.

On this page:


Carer Support during COVID-19

During the COVID-19 response you can spend Carer Support on any support or service that helps you have a break from caring for a person with a disability (where they are funded by the Ministry of Health), this will stay in place until 30 September 2020.

This means that if you receive Carer Support from the Ministry of Health:

  • you must work within your current funding allocation 
  • you can continue to spend Carer Support on any support or service that helps you have a break from caring for a person with a disability or to provide a break for the disabled person
  •  you cannot use your Carer Support for the following:
    • paying family carers who are either a family member living with the disabled person or a parent or a spouse
    • illegal activities, gambling or alcohol 
    • to pay for things that are not disability supports like rent/mortgage, food, personal debt, gifts, power, usual household items etc. 

As it is up to you to choose what support or services to buy, it’s your responsibility to make sure the respite is of good quality and covers all your requirements. 

You will need to keep a simple record of what you have spent the money on and when you buy items, keep the receipts.


Alert Level 1 guidance for disabled people and whānau who employ their own support workers

This guidance is for people who are on Individualised Funding, Enhanced Individualised Funding, and Enabling Good Lives / Mana Whaikaha personal budgets who employ their own support workers.


What to do if your support worker does not turn up

If you get support through a provider 

If you have support though a service provider and your support worker doesn’t come to your house, please contact your provider. They can arrange for another person to provide your care.

If you are still without a support worker or care after talking with your provider, contact your local NASC, Connector, Kaituhono or local area coordinator.

If you are on Individualised Funding 

If you have Individualised Funding (IF) and employ your support worker, you may need to organise another person to provide your care. You will also need to ask your support worker why they are not coming to work.

Options to consider: 

  • another support worker could provide your care; or
  • if you could get your support in another way such as through buying items or equipment that could provide you with that disability support.

Remember to keep a record of when your support person didn’t come to work and why, as well as any hours worked casually by another support worker so that you can keep a good record of hours worked. You should also keep receipts of anything that you buy to provide your support. You should talk to your IF Host or Coach to discuss what is reasonable for you to buy.

For more information see What People Can Buy for Disability Funding.

If you find you are unable to find a new support worker, please contact your IF Host, Connector or your Mana Whaikaha or Enabling Good Lives offices. 

What to do if you are still not happy? 

If you are unhappy about something your provider or support worker has done, you can complain by contacting: 

  • Your provider. You can make your complaint over the phone, in writing or anonymously. The service provider must deal with your complaint. Sometimes providers can resolve issues straight away
  • the Ministry of Health – go to How to make a complaint to find out how to complain (including information in Easy Read)
  • the Health and Disability Commissioner – go to the Health and Disability Commissioner website to find out how to complain.

Behaviour support services from Explore

We have worked with Explore to change the way it provides behaviour support services during Alert Level 1. More information is available in the following factsheet:


Disability support services at Alert Level 1

For information on what disability support services will be available at Alert Level 1 see —  Alert Level 1 health and disability services and types of Disability support.

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