Individualised Funding – funded by the Ministry of Health

Individualised Funding (IF) gives disabled people a way of directly managing their disability supports.

Kia ora, Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People is now the guardian of the content on this webpage, and they are preparing to move it to their new website. For more information please go to the Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People website.

On this page:

What IF is

IF gives disabled people more choice in how they are supported. It is available throughout New Zealand for eligible people who have either:

IF increases your choice and control about who provides this support, and how and when you use it. Your options range from engaging support workers and planning how to use your supports, to employing your own care providers and managing all aspects of service delivery.

The Care and Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlement Act 2017

If you are using IF as an employer, you can get information that will support you to meet the requirements of the Act from:

What you can use IF for

You can use IF to:

  • purchase household management and personal care provided by support workers (where your employees can include family members, contracted personnel or organisations) and pay costs relating to the employment of support workers
  • purchase Respite through support workers or other suitable alternatives so that the full-time carer can have a break (including school holiday programmes or facilities). You cannot use IF to pay parents and spouses for respite care.

You can continue to spend your IF on any disability support or service that:

  • helps you to live your life or makes your life better, and
  • gives you a break from caring for your family member with a disability, or to provide a break for the disabled person, and
  • the use of funding if it is reasonable and cost-effective, and
  • not funded through other funding options such as a Disability Allowance. You can find out about what is reasonable for you to buy and you can find out more information at What People Can Buy with Disability Funding: Ministry of Health Purchasing Guidelines.

The funding cannot be used for:

  • paying family carers who are either a family member living with the disabled person or a parent or a spouse unless they are delivering Home and Community Support services and the disabled person has been assessed by a NASC as having high or very high needs.
  • illegal activities, gambling or alcohol
  • things that are not disability supports, such as health services provided by a hospital or income support.

IF doesn’t cover costs related to medical supplies, equipment, home renovations, leisure, recreation and personal or family costs. You also can’t use it to increase the personal income of an individual or family.

You can only pay a resident family member to provide household management, and personal care supports for those disabled people assessed as having ‘high’ or ‘very high’ needs. You cannot pay resident family members to provide respite.

As it is up to you to choose what support or services to buy, it’s your responsibility to make sure that the support or service meets the Purchasing Guidelines. Your Host can help you with this.

Who can get IF

If you can manage your own services or have someone in your support network willing to do so, then IF may be right for you.

Talk to your local Needs Assessment and Service Coordination (NASC) service to learn more. They’ll do a needs assessment, in which they consider your essential needs and natural supports available to you.

You can get IF when you:

If you are not eligible for Ministry-funded services but you are eligible for Home and Community Support Services with funding from your district health board (DHB), you may still be able to use IF. To explore your options, contact your local DHB.

What supports you can manage using IF

The following combinations of contracted services can be transferred into IF budgets.

Contracted service combinations Applicable IF budget(s)
Respite (Facility Based Respite and/or In-home Support) IF Respite
Respite and Carer Support IF Respite
HCSS and Respite IF HCSS and IF Respite
HCSS and Carer Support IF HCSS and IF Respite
Carer Support (only) IF is not applicable.

IF Hosts

If you want to use IF to manage your support allocations, you must do this through an IF Host organisation. These are organisations that the Ministry of Health contracts to support people using IF.

Your IF Host:

  • helps you understand IF
  • helps you learn how to organise, set up and manage your supports
  • administers payments for the support services
  • helps you manage your responsibilities – this includes reporting back to them on the support hours you have used, so that they can be paid for
  • can advise you if something that you want to purchase meets the Purchasing Guidelines.

Your IF Host must also check that the service is working well and report back to the Ministry about it.

If you want your IF Host to be responsible for recruiting, training and paying your support workers and possibly managing the legal aspects of your service, your IF Host may do so for an extra fee that they set and you pay.

More information

From the Ministry of Health

For an operational policy that sets out the terms of access for IF, see the Restrictions on Access to Hosted Budgets operational policy.

For an operational policy that sets out accountability requirements for hosted schemes such as IF, see the Guideline for Verification of Supports within Hosted Funding Schemes.

You can also read the Service specifications for IF providers.

From Inland Revenue

Find out more about tax and record-keeping obligations for Individualised Funding clients (or managers).

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