The principle of Carer Support is to provide full time Carers with time to themselves as a break from their full time Carer role. This can mean reimbursement of some of the costs of engaging a support person to care and support a disabled person or purchases which provide the disabled person with self-directed entertainment.
What is Carer Support
Carer Support is a subsidy that helps you take some time out for yourself. It provides reimbursement of some of the costs of care and support for a disabled person while you have a break. Once assessed, your Carer Support allocation will be given to you in a number of days.
Who can get Carer Support
Carer Support is available for ‘full-time Carers’ – as mentioned in our Who is a Carer section of our site, 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. This is assessed by your Needs Assessment Service Coordinator (NASC).
How can you use Carer Support funds
You can use your Carer Support to part fund paying a support worker to look after your loved one. You can also look to use your Carer support to fund purchases which allows you to take a break. This was originally in response to the ongoing pressure Covid 19 put on full time Carers and will be ongoing.
There is often some confusion around what you can claim for but here's some guidance on that.
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 consider the following questions:
- Does the claimed item/service help you to live your life or makes your life better,
- give you a break from caring for your family member with a disability, or to provide a break for the disabled person
- is the use of funding reasonable and cost-effective,
- not funded through other funding options such as a Disability Allowance.
You cannot use your Carer Support for the following:
- illegal activities, gambling or alcohol; or
- to pay for things that are not disability supports like rent/mortgage, food, personal debt, gifts, power, regular household items etc.
If you have bought something to give you a break instead of paying a support carer, you do not need a signature from a support worker on your Carer Support forms. In the hours section of the Carer Support form you need to write the item purchased and the cost. You will also need to provide an invoice/receipt. The amount of the purchase must fall within your allocation. All claims must be sent in within 90 days of the date of care.
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 the claims processing. There are a couple of ways of doing this:
1. By email: Carer Support forms can be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 currently accepted if you do the form electronically. If you print it 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 days to process from the time it is received. There are some things you can do to help the team get the high volumes of claims processed. They are:
- Send a single email/form for each claim
- Include the client number in the subject line of your email (your client number is on the top right of the form we send you)
- Scan the claim first and then the supporting documentation (receipts etc) after it
- The claim (including supporting documentation) should be saved as a pdf if you can. This will save us time.
- Please make sure it can be easily read.
Please call the Contact Centre on 0800 855 066 if you have any questions or want to know the current processing time.
Who funds Carer Support
Carer Support for people with disabilities is funded by Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People.
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.