Home support services for older people and others

Support can be provided by a carer funded by Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand and Te Aka Whai Ora – Māori Health Authority. These services can help you to: 

  • maintain your independence and quality of life 
  • stay in your own home for as long as you can 
  • participate in your community. 

Support services may include: 

  • personal care, such as helping you get out of bed, shower, get dressed, manage your medication 
  • household support, such as help with cleaning, or preparing meals. 

Eligibility for home support services

A person can receive support services if: 

  • they are eligible for publicly funded health and disability services 
  • their needs are assessed by a Te Whatu Ora Needs Assessment Services Co-ordination agency as requiring a support package funded by Te Whatu Ora. 

The first step is to have your needs assessed by a Needs Assessment Services Co-ordination agency on behalf of Te Whatu Ora, to see if you are eligible for home support services. 

You can be referred for a needs assessment by a health professional, or you can refer yourself.  

Find your nearest assessment agency on the Needs Assessment and Service Co-ordination Association website 

After a needs assessment is carried out, the person receiving care can choose to have a whānau or family member, or an external carer, provide this care. The carer can then be employed by a Home and Community Support Service provider to deliver the agreed services.  

This range of caregiver options gives more choice to people who want to stay in their home and community, but need support services to do so. It means that caregivers who provide support for family members can be compensated for their time and effort.  

A whānau or family member can become a paid carer if they are: 

  • 16 years or over 
  • physically able to perform the necessary tasks 
  • available to attend to the person according to their care plan. 

FAQs for home support services

I already receive home support services from a provider. Can I switch to have a whānau or family member paid to provide my care?

People who already receive home support services from a provider can switch to having a whānau or family member paid to provide their care as long as both parties meet the criteria. We recommend that you speak with your home support provider to discuss the process. 

I have never received publicly funded home support services before but would like to have a whānau or family member paid to provide the care I need. How can I do this?

Once your need for support services has been confirmed by a needs assessment, you can advise the agency that you are interested in having a whānau or family member paid to deliver the agreed care package. Your needs assessor will then guide you through the process. 

Does my paid whānau or family carer have to be employed by the home support provider?

There are several benefits from having your whānau or family carer employed by a home support provider. For example, the provider will: 

  • provide training and support for your carer, so they deliver your care in a way that is safe for both of you 
  • arrange payment, sick leave and annual leave for your carer 
  • arrange alternative support for you, if your carer is sick or on leave. 

Some Te Whatu Ora Needs Assessment Services Co-ordination agencies offer Individualised Funding, where the care needs are managed by the client with the support of an  Individualised Funding host. You can discuss the options for paid care once you have been assessed. 

Does paying a carer affect their other sources of income?

If a whānau or family carer is getting paid, this may affect other payments they receive, such as jobseeker support. This should be discussed with Work and Income service centre.


You can find out more information on the Work and Income website.  

Are there any exclusions to receiving paid care?

You can only receive Te Whatu Ora funding for home support services if you are eligible for publicly funded health and disability services in New Zealand.

You can read more about this on the Te Whatu Ora website. 

In addition, paid care will not be funded by Te Whatu Ora if you are:  

  • in long-term residential care 
  • eligible for Whaikaha Disability Support Services (DSS) funding (unless the person has a Te Whatu Ora/Whaikaha dual funded package of care) 
  • impaired by an injury where cover has been accepted by ACC.  

How can I make a complaint about my home support services?

If you are unhappy about the service you or your carer are receiving, you have the right to make a complaint.

Find more information about making a complaint on the Ministry of Health website. 

For support in making a complaint, you may wish to contact a Health and Disability Advocate. An advocate can help you identify what the issues are that need to be addressed, how to make your complaint, and what resolution looks like. They then provide support to help you take your concerns to the care provider.   

The Nationwide Health and Disability Advocacy Service (Advocacy Service) offers free advocacy support to anyone receiving home support services. Contact them on 0800 555 050 or via the Advocacy Service website.


Pātiki and Waharua Kōpito patterns

Looking for more information?

The Carers NZ website has more information, advice, and support for carers in our network. You can also email us at info@health.govt.nz.