Support and respite for carers

If you care for someone with a disability there are services and subsidies available to support you too. Find out how to take a break while making sure the right level of care is in place.

Respite is taking a break from your caring responsibilities. Taking time out can help you feel rested and re-energised. A Needs Assessment and Coordination Service (NASC) can help you get funding for respite and find respite options that will work best for you.

Respite options

Respite support or services that are allocated by NASCs and funded by our Ministry include:

Carer Support subsidy

This is a subsidy that provides reimbursement of some of the costs of care and support for a disabled person while you take a break. It's available for ‘full-time carers’ – a person who provides more than 4 hours per day unpaid care to a disabled person (for example, the parent of a disabled child).

Currently there is an option for you to also purchase items that would provide you with a break, this is in response to the current Omicron outbreak in NZ and is a temporary exemption. There are also some increased flexibility options for paying family, whānau and āiga who live in the same household as the disabled person.

Find out more about Carer Support on the Ministry of Health website

Individualised Funding (IF)

This is a type of funding that gives disabled people a way of directly managing their disability supports. It can be used to purchase respite through support workers or other suitable alternatives so that a full-time carer can have a break (including school holiday programmes or facilities). There are also some increased flexibility options for paying family, whānau and āiga who live in the same household as the disabled person. Your IF Host will be able to explain this further.

(An IF Host is a provider that supports people who have IF budgets, along with supporting you to pay support workers they also offer advice and information on how and what you can use your IF for.)

Find out more about IF on the Ministry of Health website

Other respite options

Our Ministry also funds the following respite options:

  • Family Whānau Home Support: This is a 'buddy' or support worker that visits for a few hours per week.
  • Facility-based respite: An overnight stay at a respite house or other facility.

What you can use Carer Support or Individualised Funding for

You can access either Carer Support or IF to do any of the following:

  • reimbursing friends and family to spend time with the disabled person you care for while you take a break
  • employing a support worker to spend time with the person with a disability
  • paying for the person with a disability to do an activity or programme that they enjoy
  • having an overnight break while the person with a disability stays with a friend, family member, support worker or an organisation with skills in caring for people with disabilities.

Find respite support and services near you

There are a range of respite support and services nationwide and what is available can change based on the region you live in.

Find out what's near you:

Resources for carers

There are also resources available for carers and supporters, like the Guide for carers.

Guide for carers

Whether you’re new to caring or have years of experience, this is a useful guide to have as a reference. It lets you know about a range of help available for people who care for and support family, whānau, āiga or friends with a physical or mental health condition, a disability, an injury or an illness. You can access this guide in both a screen-friendly and print-friendly PDF.

Get the guide from the Ministry of Social Development website