Carer Support

The purpose of Carer Support is to enable full time Carers to have a break from their carer role.

This can mean Carer Support can be used to reimburse some of the costs of engaging a support person to care and support a disabled person while the full-time carer has a break.

This information is about Carer Support for disabled people who are supported by Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People. Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand external URL provides carer support for people receiving support from Te Whatu Ora Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) services.

What is Carer Support?

Carer Support is a subsidy that can be used to provide the full-time carer a break from their caring role. It provides reimbursement for some of the costs of care and support for a disabled person while you have a break.

Your local NASC allocates the Carer Support subsidy. The NASC allocate Carer Support in days which can then be treated as a whole budget for the year.

Who can get Carer Support?

Carer Support is available for ‘full-time Carers’ – as set out in our Who is a Carer section of our website. 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 allocated for depends on your needs and those of the person you support. Needs Assessment Service Coordinators undertake a needs assessment and allocate supports, including Carer Support.

How can you use Carer Support subsidy?

The Purchasing Rules governing what you may use your Carer Support for changed on the 18 March 2024.

You can use your Carer Support as a contribution towards paying someone to support your disabled family member.

You can 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 amount of days you are allocated funding, times the daily amount 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 per annum. 

The claiming process for Carer Support has not changed so please claim as usual, using dates of care and costs, or costs of items with receipts attached.

What you can and cannot claim for?

Carer Support funding is governed by the same Purchasing Rules as Individualised Funding (IF) / Enhanced Individualised Funding (EIF). These can be found on our Purchasing Guidance page. Understanding these rules will help you make the most out of your Carer Support funding.

Flexibility and person-led choice is key to Carer Support, so when making a claim or thinking of using your Carer Support funds you should first consider "will this provide the full time Carer with a break?" 

You can claim for:

  • A contribution to the costs of substitute caring whilst the full-time carer takes a break 
  • Expenses that are a necessary part of supporting the disabled person while the full-time carer takes a break 
  • One-off purchases of:
    • tablet devices;
    • noise cancelling headphones; 
    • sensory items (such as fidget spinners etc.); and 
    • weighted blankets

You cannot claim for:

  • All purchases of items as a form of delivering respite, except those listed above
  • All self-care services such as massages, pedicures and other appearance or therapeutic care that are not for the direct benefit of the disabled person.
  • All expenses that are not a necessary part of supporting the disabled person while the full-time carer is taking a break.
  • Gifts and other forms of recognition for support provided voluntarily.
  • Travel related costs for disabled people, whānau, and/or persons providing support, including:
    • Accommodation
    • Overseas and domestic travel
    • Food

How do you get a form?

Full-time Carers will receive a claim form in the post

  • when a new allocation of Carer Support has been made or
  • where a claim form for Carer Support has been processed and paid, a new claim form is sent out with your remaining Carer Support allocation.

If you don't have a current form, you can download them here:

Carer Support form word (DOCX 80KB)

Carer Support form pdf (PDF 123KB)

How can you make a claim?

The Ministry of Health is our partner who fulfills claims processing. There are a couple of ways of doing this:

  1. By email: Carer Support forms can be sent by email to To do this, you can either download the form to your desktop or print out the form, and fill it in accurately and sign it. Electronic signatures are accepted if you submit the form electronically. If you print the form out you will need to scan it back or take a photo of it on your phone and attach this to an email. If you do not have a scanner at home, your local library can help you with this or you can take a photo on your phone as along as all the forms details are clear. The benefit of sending us your form via email is that we will receive it quicker and begin the processing.
  2. By post: Print out the form, or use the form we have sent to you, fill in all the relevant fields before addressing with our reply paid address and post. If you have additional paperwork to put with your claim, we suggest you use an envelope. There is no need to put a stamp on it.

How long does a claim take to process?

Processing time can varying depending on the volume of claims received however a correctly filled in form should take 10 working days to process from the time it is received. See our tips below to ensure your claim can be processed easily by our team.

Please call Te Whatu Ora Contact Centre, Carer Support team on 0800 855 066 or email if you have an enquiry regarding your claim.

Tips for filling in your form correctly

When submitting your form, it is important to complete it correctly so that it gets approved the first time. The below tips have been put together after we looked at reoccurring issues we've seen when people submit their claim forms.

  • Make sure your images aren't blurry. And make sure all the form is included in the photo/scan - we often get images with the bottoms cut off.
  • The claim form needs to be signed and dated. We need both.
  • Make sure you provide support carer information.
  • Make sure you provide identifying information. Your client name, ID and full time carer name.
  • In the subject header of your email (not just on the form) you need to provide your client information (carer name and/or ID). For example, if you are sending in a bank account verification we need to understand which client this account is relevant for. Please don't assume just your email address is sufficient.
  • Please make sure you send everything together in one email. This means the claim form and any supporting documentation needs to be sent in one email. Multiple emails adds time.
  • One file format is ideal. Sometimes we receive in one email jpegs, word docs and pdfs. This adds to the time we need to process. Our preference is pdf.
  • There is only one email address to send your claim to, 
  • If you are mailing in your claim form with receipts or other support documentation, its a good idea to put it in an envelope so it doesn't get lost. You just write our postage paid details on it. No stamp required.

Ensuring you have considered all these tips enables easier and quicker payments. 

Example of Carer Support Claims

Lily and Liam

Lily has an allocation of Carer Support for her son Liam who is 15 years old and has an intellectual disability. Liam is very keen on engines and in particular tractor engines. Lily has contacted a local farmer who has agreed to spend a day teaching Liam all about engines.

Lily is going to use her Carer Support to make a contribution to the mileage costs for the farmer. While Liam is with the farmer, Lily spends time reading, turns her phone off and enjoys the break. 

  • Individualised
  • Helps achieve an outcome
  • Included in the plan
  • Within the purpose of the allocation


Payments to people for caring for your disabled family member using Carer Support will be treated as part of their overall income and will depend on their individual circumstances. You may wish to seek advice about tax issues from the Inland Revenue Department or, if you receive a benefit, from Work and Income New Zealand.