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What is the Residential Care Subsidy?

The Residential Care Subsidy is financial assistance that may be available for those over 65 needing residential care and who meet eligibility criteria (including health and financial criteria).

NOTE: It is distinct from the Residential Support Subsidy that may be available for those under 65. 

The Residential Care Subsidy – in brief

To be eligible for a Residential Care Subsidy (RCS) in New Zealand you must be a qualifying person or a special case.

You are a qualifying person if:

  • You are aged 65 or over and;
  • You are eligible for publicly funded health and disability services and;
  • You have been assessed as requiring long-term residential care and;
  • You are entitled to apply for a Financial Means Assessment (i.e., you have been assessed as being eligible for residential care).

An example of a non-qualifying person is someone without New Zealand residency. If this is the case, the person may negotiate the cost of care with the provider and pay privately.

You are a special-case person if you are:

  • Aged 50 to 64, single and have no dependent children or;
  • An exempt person or;
  • An ‘elderly victim of crime’.

The rules differ to those for a qualifying person. For example, if you are aged 50 to 64, single and have no dependent children, your income will be means tested, not your assets. Contact Work and Income for more detail.

The Financial Means Assessment

A Financial Means Assessment determines whether you are eligible for a RCS. Work and Income conduct a financial means assessment. There are two parts to this:

  • Means assessment of assets
  • Means assessment of income and the residents contribution

Individual circumstances vary widely, and some situations can be complex. Please therefore ensure that you get the appropriate advice from Work and Income. You can phone the Residential Care Subsidy Unit freephone 0800 999 727.

Find: Nationwide services & contact details

Updated: 11 Jun 2024
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