Carer support

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 time out for themselves.

On this page:

What Carer Support is

Carer Support is a subsidy that helps you take some time out for yourself. It provides reimbursement of some of the costs of using a support person to care and support a disabled person while you have a break.

Who can get Carer Support

Carer Support is available for ‘full-time carers’ – a full-time carer is the person who provides more than 4 hours per day unpaid care to a disabled person, for example, the parent of a disabled child.

The number of hours or days that Carer Support is funded for depends on your needs and those of the person you care for.  

Who funds Carer Support

Carer Support for people with age-related support needs, mental health and long-term medical conditions is funded by district health boards.

Carer Support for people with disabilities is funded by the Ministry of Health.

Getting Carer Support

You can be assessed by a Needs Assessment Service Coordination organisation (NASC) or, in some circumstances, by a doctor. They will then allocate your Carer Support days and undertake a review with you, usually after a year.

You can find out more about claiming Carer Support at Carer Support claims or by talking to your local NASC.

Who can provide support care

Carer Support is designed to be flexible. You can use it to subsidise:

  • friends, some family members or neighbours who provide relief care
  • people who provide relief care in a formal setting, for example a rest home.

Carer Support cannot be used:

  • while the full-time carer is at work
  • to pay a parent or partner of the disabled person
  • while the disabled person is in hospital
  • to pay a carer who lives at the same address as the client.

If you’re unsure about how you can use your Carer Support, please contact the person or agency who has allocated your carer support.

Tax issues

Carer Support payments may be subject to income tax. This will depend on your individual circumstances. You may wish to seek advice regarding tax issues from the Inland Revenue Department or, if you receive a benefit, from Work and Income New Zealand.

Extended flexibility for Carer Support

The Ministry of Health has extended the flexibility for Carer Support until 30 November 2020 (extended from 30 September 2020). 

These rules only apply if you are allocated Carer Support through the Ministry of Health (not your DHB). Please contact your DHB for information about other supports.

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 from your family member 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.

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