More detailed information about these steps can be found in our booklet Long-term Residential Care for Older People – What you need to know.

1. Needs assessment

Ask to have your needs assessed by your district health board (DHB) or by a Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) agency by:

  • asking your doctor, hospital, social worker or other health provider to arrange for your assessment – which may include specialist geriatric assessment – or to provide you with details on who to contact or
  • phoning your local DHB and ask to be put through to a Needs Assessment Service Coordinator

2. Financial means assessment

If your needs assessment determines that you need long-term care in a rest home or continuing care hospital, and you want to apply for the Residential Care Subsidy, your needs assessor will give you a Residential Care Subsidy form so you can apply to Work and Income for a financial means assessment.

It is important to send in your financial means assessment application form as soon as possible, even if you can not supply all the papers required by Work and Income, as eligibility for the Residential Care Subsidy can only be back-dated for up to 90 days before the date of the means assessment.

You must continue to pay for your care until it is confirmed that you are eligible for the Residential Care Subsidy.

3. Residential care subsidy and residential care loan

If the financial means assessment shows that your assets are equal to or below the applicable asset thresholds, you qualify for government funding through the Residential Care Subsidy. You then pay only the assessed contribution (as advised by Work and Income) from your income to the cost of contracted care provided to you. If you do not qualify for the Residential Care Subsidy, you may qualify for a residential care loan. You can apply for this through Work and Income.

If you are aged 50–64 years and single with no dependent children, the Residential Care Subsidy is not asset tested and starts from whichever of the following is the later:

  • the date you were needs assessed as requiring long-term residential care or
  • the date you entered the rest home or hospital.