What is respite?

Respite is taking a break from your caring responsibilities. Taking time out can help you feel rested and re-energised. Families can have differing needs, so there needs to be a different respite structure in place to cater. Some children may have behavioral challenges and/or high medical needs. Other's maybe very able and need a different type of respite choice. Whatever those needs might be there are service providers and funding supports to tailor to individual needs.


Accessing respite supports and services

To access respite supports and services you first need to contact your local Needs Assessment Service Coordinator (NASC). NASCs are are organisations contracted by the Ministry of Health to work with families or the disabled person to:

  • identify their strengths and support needs
  • outline what disability support services are available
  • determine their eligibility for Ministry-funded support services

The amount of funded respite support available is based on your needs. It's always advisable to be upfront with what your needs are and how the supports can enable you to get a healthy balance in your life.


What are currently FOUR different types of respite options available?

Carer Support 

Carer Support is a subsidy that helps you take some time out for yourself. It provides reimbursement of some of the costs of using a support person to care and support your child while you have a break. It is only available to 'full-time' carers, full-time being a person who provides more than 4 hours per day unpaid care to a disabled child. The number of hours or days that Carer Support is funded for depends on your needs and those of the person you care for.

In terms of Carer Support - $72.00 currently equates to one day respite (24 hours)

Please Note: This support is being phased out in 2019 and being replaced by the more flexible respite I Choose.


IChoose (flexible respite budgets)

The Ministry is replacing Carer Support with a more flexible type of respite support called I Choose.

I Choose (also known as a 'flexible respite budget') will make it easier for you to have a break from caring responsibilities.

I Choose is not ready yet. When it is ready, you will be notified and told about the changes around the time of your review or reassessment.

I Choose is a once or twice per year cash payment into your bank account. You will be able to use the money that is paid into your bank account to buy any respite support or service you want, as long as it gives you a break from your caring role.

Please Note: You can incorporate I Choose into your Individualised Funding package or have it as a separate payment.


Individualised Funding

Individualised Funding (IF) is a way of paying for support services. IF enables parent/caregivers to directly manage the hours they are allocated for Home and Community Support Services. This can range from simply choosing support workers and planing how best to use the hours of support, to employing support workers and managing all aspects of the service delivery.

In terms of IF Respite - $172.89 currently equates to one day respite (24 hours)


Family Whanau Home Support

This is funding for a 'buddy' or support worker for a few hours per week.


Facility-based respite

This is an overnight stay at a respite house or other facility. This respite option is only available for children with complex disabilities or high medical needs.


Respite options in your community

There are a range of respite options available in each region. The Ministry of Health has compiled a list of the different options you can click on below :-