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What is carer support?

The Carer Support Subsidy is a payment offered to carers to help reimburse some of the costs associated with caring. It is paid to the person who is being cared for and is intended to help pay for carer relief (other than those who live with you) to allow the carer to take a break.

Carer Support is available for ‘full-time carers’. A fulltime carer is the person who provides more than four hours per day of unpaid care. Carer support for people with age-related needs (as well as those with long-term medical conditions) is funded by Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora.  

Carer Support days are allocated depending on the need identified in an assessment – your NASC/older person’s service will generally complete this assessment. The allocation is reviewed each year.

The carer can choose how they intend to take a break, and use the subsidy to pay for, or subsidise, this. It can be used for example, to pay friends some family members or other people to provide relief care or to pay for formal services (such as respite care at a residential care facility or contracted day programme). 

The Carer Support payment rate varies depending on where you live, where you take your care and who provides it. If Carer Support is taken at a rest home or other residential care facility (such as formal respite care), a top up payment may be required to cover the full cost of the service. The carer, or the person being cared for, should ask about this when booking.

For payment, your carer needs to ensure the assessment is done and allocation approved, keep track of days used, make any bookings needed and arrange for payment of the relief care. While Carer Support claims can be completed electronically, Health NZ currently require completed forms to be printed and posted to the Payment Centre within 90 days or they may not be paid. Some relief caregivers or service providers may want an upfront payment. If so, a receipt is needed for reimbursement from the Payments Centre.

See the Health NZ website for more information and for reimbursement forms, or contact their Carer Support Line on freephone 0800 855 066.

Updated: 11 Jun 2024
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