Funded Family Care

Information on the funding available to support people who care for members of their family with high or very high support needs.

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Funded Family Care Notice 2013

Under the Funded Family Care Notice 2013 family carers have been paid to care for family members with high or very high support needs.

The Funded Family Care Notice 2013 will end in September 2020, however family carers can still be paid to care for a disabled family member if the disabled family member moves to Individualised Funding or Home and Community Support Services.


What’s changing in 2020

Payment for family carers will continue. For disabled people funded by the Ministry of Health, what is changing is the process for paying family carers when the Funded Family Care Notice 2013 is removed.

Disability Support Services Funded Family Care is changing by:

  • giving disabled people who want a family member to provide their support a choice of employment arrangements under Disability Support Services 
  • making pay rates for family carers consistent with rates for other care and support workers
  • allowing partners and spouses to provide paid care to their disabled family member
  • allowing eligible people under 18 years of age to receive paid family care
  • repealing Part 4A of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000 
  • lowering the minimum age of family carers from 18 to 16 years.

Disabled people who are eligible to have a paid family carer and want to pay a family member to be their carer can choose one of the following options – this is whether or not they are currently accessing Funded Family Care.


Why we are making these changes

We are changing how we pay family carers in direct response to feedback from family carers and disabled people. 

In 2018 the Ministry of Health consulted with stakeholder groups, including affected families. The feedback they gave us included that they:

  • supported the repeal of Part 4A of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000
  • wanted partners and spouses, as well as family members aged under 18 years, to be able to be paid family carers
  • thought that family carers should have fair pay
  • supported removing the requirement for an employment relationship and offering choice for who the employer is.

Who can have a paid family carer

Under Funded Family Care, family carers have been able to be paid to care for family members who have been assessed as having high or very high support needs. These needs may relate to: 

  • disability (with the Ministry of Health administering the payments)
  • long-term chronic health conditions, mental health and addiction, and aged care (with district health boards administering the payments).

Family members who can have a paid family carer now include children and young people under the age of 18 years who have been assessed as having high or very high support needs. 

If you are currently accessing Disability Support Services or are now eligible to have paid support from a family member, you can discuss this option with your Needs Assessment and Service Coordination (NASC) service. To have a paid family carer, you must be a disabled person who has been assessed as having high or very high support needs. If you are currently accessing Funded Family Care, you have already met these criteria.

To organise a needs assessment, please contact your local Needs Assessment and Service Coordination service.


Who can be a paid family carer

The changes in 2020 allow paid family carers to include:

  • partners and spouses of disabled people who have been assessed as having high or very high support needs 
  • family members who are aged 16 or 17 years, as the minimum age of a family carer has also been lowered from 18 to 16 years.

Specific information for disabled people who receive funding from the Ministry of Health

The following information is for disabled people funded by the Ministry of Health. If you are funded by your DHB, please contact it directly to discuss. Find contact details for your local DHB.

Employment arrangements 

The disabled person and their family carer no longer need an employment arrangement.

Disabled people who are eligible for a paid family carer can have one if they choose to through either:

  • Individualised Funding, or
  • a contracted Home and Community Support Services provider. 

You can choose either of these arrangements, depending on which one suits your circumstances best.

  1. Individualised Funding is a personal budget policy that gives you flexibility. Under this system, the disabled person:
    • is the budget holder and is recognised in law as the employer of their carer
    • can nominate an agent to manage the budget, employment processes and contracting arrangements on their behalf, with the support of a selected Individualised Funding Host 
    • can use contracting arrangements when needed, such as for short-term cover or contingency care arrangements.
  2. A Home and Community Support Services provider may employ the family carer. With this arrangement, the disabled person or their agent has no employment obligations. The provider’s employment policies and criteria guide the process of employing and hiring a family member.

Moving from Funded Family Care to the new arrangements

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the plan was to begin to transition people from Funded Family Care to the new arrangements on 14 April 2020. The pay rate has been raised as planned, but all other parts of the transition were delayed as resources were redirected to support the Ministry’s COVID-19 response.  

From 2 June 2020, people accessing Funded Family Care have been moving to the new arrangements so that their family carer is employed either through Individualised Funding or by a Home and Community Support Services provider.

Needs Assessment and Service Coordination (NASC) services are working with disabled people and their families and whānau to discuss the two options and refer them to their chosen provider. The Ministry has asked the NASCs to transition all people on Funded Family Care by 31 July 2020, so that everyone is set up with their new arrangements by 31 August 2020. Transition will be based on current support allocations, so no reassessment is needed.

Once the person has begun their new arrangement, family carers will receive a pay rate comparable with that of other care and support workers. That rate will be based on either the family carer’s qualifications or their continuous paid length of service as a paid family carer – whichever gives the employee the higher rate of pay.

Qualifications

For the family carer’s qualification to contribute to the pay rate, it must be assessed by Careerforce as equivalent to a Level, 2, 3 or 4 New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing from a provider with New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) accreditation.

For the full and final list of qualification equivalencies, go to the Careerforce website. No further applications for qualification equivalency assessment are being accepted.

Length of service

Length of service is calculated from the first start date of Funded Family Care that the Needs Assessment and Service Coordination service has recorded until the time of transfer to either Individualised Funding or a Home and Community Support Services provider.

Payment rates 

The Ministry increased the hourly pay rate for current Ministry-funded family carers to $20.50 on 14 April 2020.

Because of the delay in moving to the new arrangements for family carers (under Individualised Funding or through a Home and Community Support Services provider), the Ministry has agreed to pay backpay.

The Ministry will be calculating backpay and arranging for it to be paid to people previously on Funded Family Care. For most people, it will calculate backpay from the day before a person transitions to the new arrangement back to 14 April 2020. Backpay will be paid into the bank account that has been used for Funded Family Care payments, so people should not close these accounts until backpay has been paid out.

The following table sets out the pay rates for care and support workers, including paid family carers. DHB-contracted providers that employ paid family carers also use these pay rates.

Pay rates for care and support workers

Length of service Qualifications Pay band Minimum pay rate from April 2020
<3 years OR None L0 $20.50
3-8 years OR Level 2 L2 $21.50
8-12 years OR Level 3 L3 $23.00
12+ years OR Level 4 L4b $25.50

The employer decides on the hourly rate to pay a carer; however, the rate cannot be less than the pay equity rates.

Repeal of Part 4A of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000

Part 4A of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000 currently prevents disabled people and their families from making a complaint to the Human Rights Commission or the courts about discrimination on the grounds of family status. This is currently going through the Parliamentary process for repeal.


What’s not changing

DHB employment relationship may not change

The Funded Family Care arrangement is managed by the purchase of services from a district health board contracted provider who will be approached to employ the eligible family member to deliver the allocated services to their family member.

In regions where Individualised Funding is available, the disabled person, or their agent, becomes the employer and may choose to employ a family carer. A Host provider helps disabled people to meet their obligations as an employer.

Support packages are still based on a needs assessment

A needs assessment by a Needs Assessment and Service Coordination assessor will still be the basis for deciding on the support package that a disabled person can receive. 

Paid family care under the new arrangements is only available for support that the assessment identifies involves more than the natural supports that family members would be expected to provide to people with high and very high support needs.

The same types of care and support are covered 

The arrangements will allow payments of family carers to provide Home and Community Support Services, which includes direct, hands-on household management and personal care to family members with high and very high support needs. The support must be assessed to be above natural supports that family members would normally be expected to provide. 

The arrangements explicitly exclude payments for respite care.


More information

See the following options if you need more information.

Email: [email protected]

Contact your local Needs Assessment and Service Coordination (NASC) service - your health professional will tell you how to contact your nearest NASC, or you can look on the NASC services page.

Your NASC will meet with you to assess whether you are eligible to have a paid family carer and other disability supports and talk about your options. The NASC will assess your disability support needs and discuss your goals with you.

Read about the range of disability services available to support people with disabilities:

Read about the calculation of backpay:

Read the Letters sent to clients about the changes:

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