About Carer Support
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 the person in need of care or purchases which will provide the Carer with respite.
Carer Support for older people, people living with long-term chronic health conditions, or mental health and addiction issues is funded by Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand.
What is Carer Support
Carer Support is a subsidy that helps you take some time out for yourself. It provides reimbursement for some of the costs of care and support for the recipient of care 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’. A full-time Carer is the person who provides more than 4 hours per day unpaid care, for example, the wife of a husband who has dementia.
The number of hours or days that Carer Support is funded for depends on your needs and those of the person you care for.
The Carer Support Subsidy is accessed by having a needs assessment from a Te Whatu Ora Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) service, and your GP, Mental Health Clinician or Specialist may also be able to support you to access a Carer Support Subsidy. Paid family and whānau carers may also be eligible for Carer Support and will be advised of this by their NASC.
The Carer Support Subsidy for people with disabilities is funded by Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People.
You can find more information about Whaikaha Carer Support on Carer Support | Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People
How can you use Carer Support funds
You can use your Carer Support as a contribution towards paying a support worker to look after your loved one. You can also use your Carer Support to fund purchases which allow you to take a break.
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 number of days you are allocated funding and multiply that by the daily amount to figure out your total Carer Support budget.
For example, Lisa is allocated 25 days at a rate of $80 per day. Lisa's total Carer Support budget is therefore 25 x $80 = $2000.
What you can claim for
There is often some confusion around what you can claim for, but here's some guidance on that.
Carer Support funding is governed by purchasing guidelines. Understanding these guidelines will help you make the most out of your Carer Support funding and minimise frustrations when making a claim.
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 "is this purchase offering the full-time Carer a break?"
What you cannot claim for
- Illegal activities
- things that are not disability supports like rent/mortgage, food, personal debt, gifts, beauty treatments, power, regular household items, etc.
What if you've made a claim?
If you have bought something to give you a break instead of paying a support worker, you do not need a signature from a support worker on your Carer Support forms, however the full-time carer must sign/date the form. In the hours section of the Carer Support form you need to write the item purchased and the cost.
Working out the impact of the purchase on your total allocation is a good idea. This means working out the budget you have with all your Carer Support days added up, for example, $80 allocated per day for 25 days = $2000 for the year, and then evaluating the cost of the purchase on this total amount.
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 to get a Carer Support 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.
How to make a claim
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 form’s details are clear.
The benefit of sending us your form via email is that we will receive it quicker and begin the processing. If possible, please use the PDF format when sending by email.
Print out the form, or use the form we have sent to you, then fill in all the relevant fields before addressing with our reply-paid address, Private Bag 1942 Dunedin 9054, 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 it takes to make a claim
Processing time can vary 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 ensuring your claim can be processed easily by our team.
If you are granted an advanced approval of a claim, no further claims will be paid until the receipt for any previous advance is provided to confirm the use of the advance funding.
A copy of the receipt must be attached to the next claim submitted and will be checked by the Carer Support Team when processing the next claim. Disputes regarding this will be considered by the relevant Te Whatu Ora district representative, to ensure carers can be adequately supported in making claims.
Please call Te Whatu Ora Contact Centre, Carer Support team on 0800 855 066 or email email@example.com if you have an enquiry regarding your claim.
Tips for filling out the Carer Support Form
Tips for filling in your form correctly
When submitting your form, it’s a good idea to understand how to do it correctly so that it gets approved the first time. The below tips have been put together after we looked at the most common reoccurring issues we've seen when people email in 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 ok.
- 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 add time.
- One file format is ideal. Sometimes we receive jpegs, word docs and pdfs in one email. This adds to the time we need to process. Our preference is pdf.
- There is only one email address to send your claim to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- If you are mailing in your claim form with receipts or other support documentation, it’s 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. Address is Private Bag 1942 Dunedin 9054.
- Making sure you have considered all these things makes our ability to enable payments easier and quicker.
* Verification can be in the form of a pre-printed deposit slip, the top of a bank statement, or a handwritten deposit slip stamped by the bank. Account verification should display the full bank account number (including the suffix) and the account holder’s name. Alternatively, if you have internet banking, please provide a screen shot that includes the bank's header, the account holder's name and the full bank account number (including the suffix).
Examples of Carer Support claims
Sometimes it’s helpful to see how other people have used their Carer Support funding. These examples are based on real-life claims.
Penny is the fulltime carer for her uncle Mike. Although Mike receives home support services through an agency, Penny still provides him with care outside of these visits.
Penny sometimes uses her allocation of her Carer Support Subsidy to pay for Mike to go to day activity programmes for older people with dementia. This gives her time to recharge her own batteries.
She also purchased technology to allow her to remotely set Mike’s heating so she doesn’t have to check in on him as frequently
Josie is the full-time carer of her son Mitch, who suffers from anxiety.
Josie wants to use 2 days of her 28 Carer Support allocation to purchase a weighted blanket for Mitch.
The weighted blanket will help Mitch feel safe and secure in his own bed at night which enables Josie to get a good night’s sleep.
People paid to care for your disabled loved one using Carer Support may have tax implications as this will be treated as part of their overall income. This will depend on their 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.
Information for allocators of the Carer Support Subsidy
Carer Support allocations can be made by NASCs, GPs, Mental Health Clinicians and other Specialists such as Paediatricians.
Allocators of carer support are responsible for making sure carers are fully informed of the purchasing guidelines and expectations around the use of Carer Support.
Please ensure to provide guidance to carers to assist them in using the Subsidy in a way that will optimise its benefit for them. The purchasing guidelines can help you do this.
To support you in making allocations of Carer Support, please find the registration forms attached which offer further guidance: