Being a full-time carer for a disabled friend or family member is an important and worthwhile job, but it can also be difficult at times. Read on for information about what support is available for carers.
There are a variety of financial support options available to carers of disabled people.
Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People provides reimbursement of some of the costs of caring and supporting a disabled person, allowing their carer to take some time out for themselves. Information about Carer Support, including how to access it, is available on the Ministry of Health website.
Supported Living Payment for full-time carers
This is a weekly payment, available through Work and Income, for people who are caring full-time for someone with a disability or serious health condition who is not your partner.
Caring for someone who is disabled due to injury
If a person with an injury covered by ACC chooses to have a whānau/family member or a friend care for them, ACC may be able to pay them if they are providing care long term.
Child Disability Allowance
This is a fortnightly payment made to the main carer of a child or young person with a serious disability. This payment is for the extra care and attention that you need to give to a disabled child. It is not income tested and you may be able to get both the Child Disability Allowance and the Disability Allowance for the same child.
More information about different type of financial support available can be found in the Ministry of Social Development’s ‘A Guide for Carers – He Aratohu mā ngā Kaitiaki’
Support to take breaks
It’s important to take breaks as a carer, not only short breaks during the day, but also breaks away from home. These give you a chance to recharge, which is important for your wellbeing, and the wellbeing of the person you care for.
Carers New Zealand have created a resource called Time Out, with information and advice to help carers proactively plan and organise respite breaks for themselves.
Funding is available for respite (breaks). This is allocated by NASCs and funded by Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People. These include the Carer Support Subsidy and Individualised Funding – Respite (for disabled people). ACC also provides funding for respite.
If you don’t have anyone who can take over from you while you take a break, services such as Mycare can help. Mycare is New Zealand’s largest online community of people seeking or offering home and community support.
Organisations that can help
There are several organisations in New Zealand that exist to support carers.
Carers New Zealand
Carers New Zealand is the national body providing information, advice, learning, and support to approximately 490,000 carers and organisations in Aotearoa. Their website is a great place to go for support and advice.
Care Matters is a national well-being resource service, which provides a wide range of resources and workshops to carers and whanau of disabled people. Their website has online resources, and information about upcoming workshops.
Disability specific support services
Carers may also be able to get support from a disability support service, such as Altogether Autism or Motor Neurone Disease New Zealand, who can provide specialist knowledge, advice, and resources for your individual circumstances.
Talk to someone
If you’re finding things difficult, talking to someone about your situation can help. You may want to talk to family, friends, neighbours, or other carers.
If you’re finding yourself overwhelmed by your thoughts and feelings, ask for extra help. Some options are to call:
- Lifeline: 0800 543 354
- Youthline: 0800 376 633
- Healthline: 0800 611 116
- Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757
Last updated on Tuesday, 16 August 2022