Transition to Adulthood
Accessing disability support services
Engaging with your NASC
It is recommended that you prepare for your child leaving school or home and securing the support they will need in advance. To do this, start noting every job or task you do for your child that is above and beyond what you would do for others. Include everything, from help showering to safety in the community to meal preparation.
Your NASC will determine your child’s eligibility for Ministry of Health disability support services and tell you what is available in your area. You will receive an allocation for Home and Community Support Services (Personal Cares, Household Management) and / or Respite (‘I Choose’ / previously Carer Support, Home Support – a ‘buddy’ / support worker for a set number of hrs per wk, facility-based respite.) You can then choose to use your allocation with service provider agencies (such as Spectrum Care, Community Connections, IDEA Services, Hohepa, NZ Care and CCS) or by using Individualised Funding (IF) where you source and pay your own support workers to provide the HCSS and Respite services via a ‘Host’ agency (fund manager).
The NASC can also allocate a number of sessions per week at community day programmes. Some of these are funded by the Ministry of Health whilst other community participation programmes are funded by the Ministry of Social Development. The MSD programmes available may depend on level of ORS funding or benefit. It may be possible to ‘top up’ your allocation using other funding sources or private funds.
Supported Living is also available via the NASC from age 17. If this is the right service for your child, the NASC will assess eligibility and provide information about providers in your area. Alternatively, Community Residential Support Services provide support for up to 24 hours per day and are jointly paid for by the MOH and your child’s WINZ benefits.
The disability support system is in the process of being transformed. The New Model of support is being trialled and demonstrated in some parts of the country and incorporates Choice in Community Living and Enhanced Individualised Funding (EIF). Traditional NASC assessments are being replaced by Supported Self-Assessments and Local Area Coordination will assist individuals to access funding from MSD, MOH and MOE to strengthen community connection and create more flexible support driven by their own goals. More information can be found on the Enabling Good Lives website.
Work and Income benefits
From age 16, your child will be eligible for further benefits and we suggest you register with a WINZ coordinator to check your entitlements. You are eligible for the Child Disability Allowance until your child turns 18, but your child is entitled to the Supported Living Payment from age 16 and if they receive this, the CDA payments stop. The Supported Living Payment is for a person with a disability who is unable to work 15 hours a week or more, or for full-time carers of a person who would otherwise need extended or residential care services. It is paid into the account of the person the payment is for but WINZ allow parents to be set up as an agent and will allow joint or trust accounts if you explain why this is necessary. From age 16 and with proof of costs (receipts), the Disability Allowance can help pay for regular expenses as a result of the disability, such as medical and travel costs. WINZ benefits may be used toward living arrangements, community residential support services, further education, support at work or to pay board at home. For further information about supports and benefits, such as the Residential Support Subsidy, the Accommodation Supplement and Jobseeker Support, please see our Supported Living and Residential Care page.
If you wish to establish Welfare Guardianship, this can be set up after your child turns 18, but it has to be done through the Family Court and your child has to have significant intellectual disability and be shown to not understand the nature and consequences of their decisions. It is renewed every 3 years. It is often used for authorisations for medical decisions and surgical procedures, or for difficult periods or times of crisis. Another option is Family Trusts where trustees own and manage property or assets for the beneficiary. Read more here about powers to make decisions for adults. The following tool kit contains very useful information about Family Trusts, Property Managers & Welfare Guardians.