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Purchasing Guidelines

Have the Purchasing Guidelines changed? 

The underlying principles and rules have not changed. We have updated the language in the guidelines to make them clearer. This means that hopefully, the rules that determine whether you can use your funding on a particular purchase, are now easier to understand. 

 

How were the guidelines developed? 

The guidelines were written in consultation with the disability community, Hosts, family/whānau, the Whaikaha Carer Support Working Group and the Office of Disability Issues Whānau group. Their feedback was implemented throughout the process. 

 

Do the same Purchasing Guidelines apply to other types of Individualised Funding (IF)? 

Yes, the guidelines apply across all IF types, funded through Whaikaha. 

The guidelines describe the four rules that determine whether a person can use funding on a particular purchase, when using person-directed funding such as IF, EIF, Personal Budgets, IF Respite, Carer Support 

Person-directed funding (IF, EIF, Personal Budgets, IF Respite, Carer Support) is designed to assist tāngata whaikaha Māori, disabled people and their whānau to have more control over how they use available funding.   

 

Are the Purchasing Guidelines meant to cover expense costs that usually fall under the admin category? E.g., if an agent wishes to buy a hand sanitiser for Carers? 

Yes, this is an example of how rule Two in the guidelines applies. The expense is incurred when providing support and would not be needed if the person did not have a disability.  

 

How will these Purchasing Guidelines be relevant to supporting people who require 24/7 support, and Carers who need a break? 

The guidelines define the four rules that determine whether a person can use funding on a particular purchase, when using person-directed funding such as Individualised Funding (IF), EIF, Personal Budgets, IF Respite, Carer Support. 

The four rules apply, regardless of the level of support a person may have. Respite care will be guided by the four purchasing rules, in the same way other support is.  The rules are the same for Carer Support and for other IF type services. Respite care can form part of an Individualised Funding budget, and there are a range of respite options available for Carers to have a break. 

 

How are these guidelines going to offer consistency and fairness to people with varying abilities to request services for support? For example, a person who does not know how to create a story to sell to the Host about how 'x' is a disability support, is less likely to use their allocation, because they are fearful of doing it wrong. 

The best approach for people is to ensure they have an Individual Support Plan (ISP). The plan helps others understand your goals and how you will purchase support to achieve them. You can access help to describe what is important to you. The Purchasing Guidelines include information about making a plan external URL

When you first start IF, your Host agency should work with you on an ISP. Your ISP is flexible and can change, as you experience changes in your life.  

If you do not already have an ISP developed, then discuss this with your IF coach. They can help you write a plan that reflects your current goals. The plan does not have to be long and is something you can write yourself. If you do need more help, you can use some of your funding to pay for support to develop a plan. 

 

How do the Purchasing Guidelines fit with the Enabling Good Lives principles?     

The Enabling Good Lives (EGL) vision states that in the future, disabled people and their whānau will have greater choice and control over their supports and lives. The EGL vision sees disabled people as being able to make more use of essential and universally available support systems. 

The guidelines describe the four rules that determine whether a person can use funding on a particular purchase, when using person-directed funding. They are designed with flexibility, respecting each person’s unique situation. 

Person-directed funding (IF, EIF, Personal Budgets, IF Respite, Carer Support) is designed to assist tāngata whaikaha Māori, disabled people and their whānau to have more control over how they use available funding.  

The principles that underpin IF, directly overlap with the EGL approach –  such as, ensuring disabled people have control over their disability supports, and ensuring the supports are tailored to their individual needs and goals. Recognising and respecting the abilities and contributions of disabled people and their whānau. Ensuring that disabled people can make decisions about their own lives. 

Using your funding

What can I use my Individualised Funding (IF) for? 

You can use Individualised Funding for purchases that meet the purchasing rules.  The funding allocated to you through the Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) is available to meet your needs, in line with the purchasing rules. 

Each person’s situation is unique. There is no list about what you can use the funding for, it may differ for each person. Your purchases need to align with the purpose the funding was allocated for, and they need to be disability related.   IF is usually allocated for Personal Care, Household Management and Respite support. 

When you meet with your IF Host for the first time, you should be asked to complete an Individual Service Plan (ISP). This is a good opportunity to think about how you want to use your budget. Your Host will refer to your plan to help you make purchase decisions.  The best way to make sure your funding works well for you is to: 

 

Can I buy items with my IF? 

Yes, you can purchase items that fit within the purchasing rules.  It is important that purchases are aligned with the purpose of your funding and only needed due to the person’s disability.  

 

Can I pay family members to provide my support? 

Yes, through Whaikaha, people eligible for publicly funded disability support services can choose to have their support provided by a paid whānau Carer. The Carer must be over the age of 16 and must be able to provide the support needed.

Whānau Carers can include parents, partners, spouses, siblings, resident and non-resident whānau/family members. It can also be people who are considered as whānau by the person receiving care. 

If this is an option that you are interested in, we encourage you to discuss it with your NASC or Host in the first instance. 

Te Whatu Ora has its own policy on paid family Carers, for those accessing supports through Te Whatu Ora’s funding streams.  

 

Can funding be used to pay for GP/dental work or healthcare for Carers? E.g the Carers are unable to afford to meet their own health requirements, due to leaving work to care for their loved ones. 

You can discuss how the guidelines apply to your specific situation with your IF Host. The answer to this depends on several things.  

We would expect your Host to explore the below questions with the family, in a shared discussion. We would not usually consider the personal health needs of a family member to be disability related, but ensuring the wellbeing of a Carer might be more practical than losing the Carer, if that person is no longer able to provide support. 

You might notice that most of these questions are questions you would ask yourself anyway, to make sure you were getting the most out of your support. 

The way we expect the rules to be worked through is: 

  1. Is the purchase/support aligned with the purpose of your funding?  Is it related to personal care? Household management? Respite?  
  2. Is the purchase/support needed because of disability? Is the purchase/support specific to your disability/because of your disability? 
  3. Is the purchase/support reasonable and cost effective? Thinking about your total budget, does this purchase make good use of the allocation on something that will make a lasting impact?  
  4. Is this funded elsewhere? Are there additional sources of funding available? For example, Te Whatu Ora is responsible for health care. Work and Income may assist with dental care, and reduced costs of health care may be available with a community services card.  

 

Can I use my funding for holidays and overseas travel?  

Please see above. You can discuss how the guidelines apply to your specific situation with your IF Host. The answer to this depends on several things.  

We would expect your Host to explore the questions and rules with the family, in a shared discussion.  

The way we expect the rules to be worked through is: 

  1. Is the purchase/support aligned with the purpose of your funding?  E.g. is this paying for personal care while you are away? 
  2. Is the purchase/support needed because of disability? During the trip, what are the additional costs you incur because of disability? Or is the entire trip required because of the need for respite? 
  3. Is the purchase/support reasonable and cost effective? Why is this trip overall a cost-effective use of funding, compared to other uses? 
  4. Is this funded elsewhere? Are there additional sources of funding available? Is any of the support you are seeking available from another organisation, or part of another organisation’s responsibility to deliver? 

In general, it is likely that if the disabled person is travelling then they might use their funding to cover the costs of support. However, per rule One, it will depend on the purpose of the allocated funding. 

 

I want to go overseas for my respite. What can I claim under IF Respite for this trip? 

We encourage you to explore this with your Host in advance, with the above questions. 

To meet rule One, you would have to be clear how this would be creating a break for you or for the disabled person. 

When you are paying the costs of someone else providing the care that you usually would, so that you can have a break, you can be most confident that you are meeting rule Two.  

Generally, the high cost of travelling overseas might limit how cost-effective the trip would be. You would need to describe why the trip is good value for money and a cost-effective way of getting a break, to meet rule Three. 

 

What costs can be claimed if a disabled person has a respite break with a Carer present? E.g., flights or mileage, accommodation, food, activity costs for both person and Carer?  

Please see above. The answer to this depends on several things.  

We would expect your Host to explore these questions and rules with the family, in a shared discussion.  

The way we expect the rules to be worked through is: 

  1. Is the purchase/support aligned with the purpose of your funding?  E.g. is this paying for personal care while you are away? 
  2. Is the purchase/support needed because of disability? During the trip, what are the additional costs you incur because of disability? Or is the entire trip required because of the need for respite?  
  3. Is the purchase/support reasonable and cost effective? Why is this trip overall a cost-effective use of funding, compared to other uses? 
  4. Is this funded elsewhere? Are there additional sources of funding available? Is any of the support you are seeking available from another organisation, or part of another organisation’s responsibility to deliver? 

In general, it is likely that if the disabled person is travelling then they might use their funding to cover the costs of support. However, as per rule One, it will depend on the purpose of the allocated funding. 

A number of people have taken this approach to taking a break. We encourage you to talk with your Host directly if this is something that you want to explore. 

 

If the main Carer can use funding for a respite break is this limited to only the main Carer? What about the other parent, siblings of the non-disabled person etc?  

Generally, respite includes sustaining balance and wellbeing for the whole whānau unit. 

We understand that more than one person in any whānau will be contributing to the life of the disabled person, and that it may be appropriate for more than one person in a whānau to access respite. 

 

Can I claim something like My Food Bag under respite?  

Respite funding can be used to make difficult parts of the day easier, so that you can get little breaks, or do not require a large break as often. Most purchases under respite fall into this category.  Something like My Food Bag might meet this description. You can discuss how the guidelines apply in your specific situation with your IF Host. The answer to this depends on several things. 

Typically, you might expect to use your respite for part of the cost – what you estimate the difference between the cost of the food might be and the cost of the Food Bag overall. 

In some circumstances it is recognized that accessing and preparing food; might be considered a disability support expense.  

The cost of the food itself is unlikely to be a disability support, as food is an expense experienced by all New Zealanders.   

The way we expect the rules to be worked through with your IF Host is: 

  1. Is the purchase in question aligned with the purpose of respite? E.g. Will it meet the purpose of respite – of having a break? 
  2. Is the purchase in question needed because of the person’s disability? 
  3. Is the purchase/support in question cost effective? Is it a cost-effective way to take that break, and you are confident that you will have sufficient funding to last you for the rest of your allocation period? 
  4. Is this funded elsewhere? Are there additional sources of funding available? Are you confident that the costs involved are not the responsibility of another agency? 

 

Hosts sometimes ask for a personal contribution to be made for purchases. Is this compulsory? How much should this be? 

There are instances where something might cost more because of the person’s disability but is something that anyone might require. This is typically the case where there are fewer mainstream options available, or they are more expensive. In these cases, it might be appropriate to use your flexible funding for the additional cost of a purchase, because the purchase is needed by a disabled person. 

An example of this could be things like food delivery services. These kinds of services/products might make part of the day easier. However, as food is a general item that everyone requires, you might use your flexible funding for the additional cost of the preparation/delivery only. 

The decision about what the contribution is should come from a shared discussion, and not solely decided by the Host.  

We would expect the Host to discuss developing a plan, which outlines how the person/family intends to use the funding, and how it fits within the purpose of their allocation. 

Following the development of a plan, we would expect the Host to work with the person/family to identify what they feel might be an appropriate contribution – always bearing in mind that the person/family knows their circumstances best and how a purchase meets any disability related needs. 

 

What is the difference between a purchase and an expense? 

Generally, a purchase is an item that might have an ongoing use to you – potentially beyond the life of the initial allocation. A purchase may be a one-time thing, that can help you long-term. 

An expense is likely to be the cost of something that you must pay and that is ongoing. 

We encourage you to seek clarification from your IF Host if needed, as each situation is different. 

 

Do IF Hosts determine what a disability support is?  

The Purchasing Guidelines provide guidance on what a disability support is.  Your Host can discuss how the guidelines apply to your specific situation, and your Host can work through the purchasing rules with you.  

 

What sort of things can I claim that I possibly haven’t thought about? 

It is not what something is, but what it does, that makes it a disability support. If something offers disability support, you may try claim it. 

You should consider what your goals are in terms of support, what you are wanting to help the disabled person /your whānau with, or what you wish to set up. 

A first step is to outline what the challenges are that disability creates to meet those goals. 

E.g., You can think about what items are needed to overcome the challenges you currently face, or what items could benefit your whānau to offer disability support. 

 

If the person’s allocated funding is not fully used, where does the residual go?  

If you find that you do not need to use your full allocation within the period set, it is returned to the national pool and may benefit other disabled people. 

Working with your Host or NASC

What can I expect from the role of my Host?  

IF Hosts are there to support you to make effective use of your funds and budget.  They will work with you to ensure that your purchase and supports are relevant to your personal situation. 

IF Hosts also: 

  • Ensure that purchases fall within the Purchasing Guidelines 
  • Support you to revisit your plan as your needs change 
  • Provide advice and guidance 

They can provide you with additional services such as: 

  • Payroll services 
  • Paying support workers on your behalf 
  • Deducting ACC fees 
  • Calculating sick leave 
  • Holiday pay etc for your support workers  

 

What does a coach do? 

A coach will help you with advice around how you can use your budget based on the allocation you have. For example, how to set a budget that meets your needs, or how much you pay someone per hour.

They can offer suggestions or ideas about employing support workers, and what you might need to think about when looking at becoming an employer.         

                        

Are Hosts now Enabling Good Lives (EGL) providers? 

EGL is an approach, rather than a service. Hosts, like all disability support organisations, should be working with the EGL principles. 

Hosts have not been given the full role that sites such as Mana Whaikaha, EGL Christchurch, and EGL Waikato hold in facilitating Good Life Plans. 

 

Why do I need to justify my purchases or the way I want to spend my respite funding?  

IF Hosts are there to support you to make effective use of your funds and budget.  Your IF Host must also check that the service is working well and report back to the Ministry about it. 

Whaikaha has an overall responsibility to assure Government and the public, that disability support funding is being used for the purpose that it was assigned for.  

The conditions placed on respite funding help in part, to provide that assurance.  

IF Hosts making sure purchases are in line with your Individual Service Plan (ISP) and meet the purchasing rules, are a key part of providing assurance too. 

 

What do I do when the Host and I can ot agree on a claim, even if I believe I have met all four rules and provided all necessary paperwork e.g. receipts? What do I do if my purchase was turned down, but I believe it meets the guidelines? 

If you believe further consideration is needed, you can raise this with your Host, and discuss how the rules in the guidelines apply in your situation. 

If your concerns are not addressed, you can make a complaint with your Host. If needed you can ask an advocate, friend, support worker or family member to help you. There is information about making complaints to service providers and, if needed, to Whaikaha on our complaints page

Whether you make your complaint in person, in writing or anonymously, and whether you make it to your service provider or directly to our Ministry - your complaint will be kept confidential and will be responded to. 

There are also services available that can support you: 

  • New Zealand Relay Service: You can contact the New Zealand Relay Service for help making a complaint. Relay services are for people who are Deaf, hearing impaired, Deafblind, and for those with speech impairments who want to communicate with friends, family or organisations. You can phone them on 0800 771 771 and use the text service via the NZ Relay website external URL
  • Nationwide Health and Disability Advocacy Service: If you need support with making a complaint, you can contact the Nationwide Health and Disability Advocacy Service, a free independent service that offers advice and support related to the complaints process. You can contact them by phone on 0800 555 050 or email at advocacy@advocacy.org.nz  
  • If you have a general funding question you can also email us at contact@whaikaha.govt.nz or phone 0800 566 601 or text 4206.  

 

What do I do if I disagree with the funding allocation I have been given?  

You can seek a review through your Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) in the first instance. All NASCs must have a process for review. This may include the option of having another NASC peer review the allocation. 

 

What can I do when there are supports I am eligible for that meet the rules, but funding has been used up?   

Funding is generally allocated for 12 months. If this is through an IF budget, then you will need to plan and budget for funding to last 12 months. 

Your IF Host provider can assist you to plan to ensure you have the support you require for the full 12 months. 

If your needs change, and the funding runs out early, then you should discuss this with your IF Host. Your IF Host can advise whether you need to talk to your NASC about what has changed for you. 

If the budget does run out, there is no guarantee that additional funding will be allocated.  It is very important that you manage your budget and get the advice you need to do this early. 

 

I want to change my Host. Will this affect my allocation? 

If you wish to change Hosts, you can discuss this with your Needs Assessment Service Coordination. 

Changing Hosts does not affect the amount of your annual allocation.  

Carer support

Where can I get a list of what Carer Support can be used for? 

The basis of Carer Support is to provide full time Carers with time to themselves, to offer a break from their full time Carer role.  This can mean reimbursement of some of the costs of engaging a support person to care for a disabled person. It can also mean a purchase, which provides the disabled person with self-directed entertainment/activities. 

You can use your Carer Support as a contribution towards paying a support worker to look after your loved one. You can also look to use your Carer Support to fund purchases that allow you to take a break, for example, entertaining your disabled family member.  

This was originally in response to the pressure Covid-19 put on full-time Carers and will be ongoing. 

You can find more information about Carer Support on the Whaikaha website external URL  

 

Why can’t Carer Support be paid in one lump sum?  

You can now use your Carer Support as a total budget, and not just as your budget per allocated day.  What this means is you can take the number of days you are allocated through Carer Support and multiply this by the daily amount of funding, to figure out your total Carer Support budget.  

For example, Lisa is allocated 28 days at a rate of $80 per day. Lisa's total Carer Support budget is therefore 28 x 80 = $2,240  

You can find more information about Carer Support on the Whaikaha website external URL  

General and funding questions

What community coordination is there currently in raising awareness and are there any plans to promote the availability of this funding?   

We are currently receiving proposals from disabled people’s organisations, family networks, regional leadership groups, DIAS and Kaupapa Māori organisations. These proposals seek to offer opportunities to expand disabled person and whānau-led facilitation approaches, including assisting people to use their flexible funding.  

While this is an initial step, our expectation is that there is increasing opportunity to grow community led development through transforming the system.  

 

When is Whaikaha going to instigate an EGL approach to funding across New Zealand? 

  • The United Nations has recommended that the different funding streams are brought into alignment. When will this happen? 

The UN has endorsed the rollout of the EGL approach. Shortly we will be presenting a paper to Cabinet, outlining our plan for how we continue to transform the disability support system using an EGL approach. This will be the small but crucial launch pad for the next phase of transformation and further changes.   

 

How does monitoring personal budgets relate to the Government’s commitment, through EGL, to be trusted and trusting partners? 

  • How does it relate to self-determination? 
  • How does it relate to the right to privacy that other New Zealanders enjoy through other benefits?   

Individualised funding is not a form of income support, unlike benefits, and in practice there are a range of accountability requirements across both income support and disability funding. Having appropriate monitoring and reporting in place supports the building of trust between partners. 

Maintaining confidence that disability support funding is achieving the outcomes intended, is further part of maintaining trust within the community and in the system.  Whaikaha has an overall responsibility to assure Government and the public, that disability support funding is being used for the purpose that it was assigned for.  

The conditions placed on funding help in part, to provide that assurance.  

 

Why can't the funding all be put into one budget (instead of PC, HM, Respite etc) and get rid of the guidelines?  

Bringing together a range of funding sources is a key part of an EGL personal budget’s formation. Whaikaha is looking to make this approach more available as part of transforming the system. EGL personal budgets are required to follow the same guidelines as Individualised Funding. Regardless of how this develops in the future, Whaikaha will always be under some requirement to demonstrate funding is being used for its intended purpose.  

 

Why does IF not get paid directly to the clients, or their agent, like other support service funding? 

Other support service funding is not paid directly to people, however some people on EGL personal budgets do have the option to directly manage that funding. That is in fact a direction that we wish to expand. 

Where a Host is not involved, EGL sites play a role in ensuring that personal budgets are used for the overall allocated purpose. There is a focus on taking an approach that makes greater use of upfront planning and support, rather than relying on monitoring and making decisions at the time of purchase. 

For now, IF Hosts play an important role in administering funds, as well as helping IF recipients to use their funding to best meet their needs. We will have to consider, through system transformation, what the right balance of roles in supporting personal budgets is, and where those roles best sit. 

 

How will NASCs enable more choice and control for disabled people? 

All disability support organisations should be working to the Enabling Good Lives (EGL) principles. Transforming the disability system in line with EGL principles is a key program of work for us.

We want to ensure all New Zealanders and their whānau, who are eligible to access disability support services through Whaikaha have access to creating good lives for themselves.  Find more information on our Enabling Good Lives webpage.

 

I thought EGL meant the Hosts would be removed from the system?  

In the Enabling Good Lives sites, whānau choose to manage their budgets in a variety of ways, including direct funding, hosted budgets, and provider managed supports.  It is likely that this range of options will continue to be available, as part of the EGL approach.  

This cabinet paper, 2017 High Level Design of the transformed system, external URL ensures there is a range of options for the disabled person and their whānau to manage their budget.