Individualised Funding (IF) is a way of paying for Home and Community Support Services which lets you directly manage the resources you’ve been allocated for disability supports.
Home and Community Support Services include help with household management and personal care.
IF gives you increased choice and control to choose who provides this support, and how and when you use it. Your options range from engaging support workers and planning how your supports will be used, to employing your own care providers and managing all aspects of service delivery.
Using Individualised Funding
IF can be used to:
- purchase support services provided by support workers (employees, contracted personnel or organisations) and pay costs relating to the employment of support workers;
- employ support workers as long as they are not the spouse/partner or parents of the person with the disability, and as long as they do not live in the same house as the person with the disability.
IF doesn’t cover costs related to medical supplies, equipment, home renovations, leisure, recreation and personal or family costs, and can’t be used to increase the personal income of an individual or family. Respite can now be used under Individualised Funding.
Who can get Individualised Funding
If you can manage your own services, or have someone in your support network willing to do so, then IF may be right for you.
You can get IF if you:
- are eligible for Ministry-funded services
- have been allocated Home and Community Support Services
- have talked to a Needs Assessment Service Coordination organisation (NASC) to see if IF is suitable for you
Talk to your local NASC to learn more. They’ll do a needs assessment, which takes into account essential need and natural supports available to you.
If you can access home and community support services, and wish to use IF, they can make a referral to an IF Host of your choice.
Individualised Funding hosts
If you want to use IF to manage your support allocations, you must do this through an IF host organisation. These are organisations contracted by the Ministry of Health to support people using IF. IF hosts will:
- help you understand IF
- help you learn how to organise, setup and manage your supports;
- administer payments for the support services;
- help you manage your responsibilities – this includes reporting back to them on the support hours used, so that they can be paid for
Enhanced Individualised Funding (EIF)
The Ministry of Health has begun its evaluation of this pilot project. A number of people using IF have been contacted by the reviewer. They have also spoken to Manawanui In Charge, the NASC and the Ministry of Health. Generally, the feedback has been positive taking into consideration new funding models will always have issues and challenges to sort out. Manawanui have highlighted to the reviewer some of these challenges and issues and are hoping that the positive outcomes for people using EIF will be captured by the evaluation.
People using IF have access to grants from Te Pou – you can apply for money from two grants.
- Consumer Leadership Development: this grant money can be used to fund your own attendance at conferences, workshops and other sessions – or it could be used to purchase some support for lifestyle planning or establishing Circles of Support. If you think of something you would really like to do to assist you to manage your IF or build your knowledge – apply for one of these grants.
- Workforce Development Grants: this grant money is available to allow you to send your staff on training sessions, conferences, workshops etc. If you and your staff want to go to a conference for example, you could apply for Consumer Leadership for your own use, and the Workforce Development Grant for your staff.
The best thing about having access to these grants is that you can participate in these activities without using any of your IF funding to do it – just make sure you put the cost of wages etc. in the grant application.
There has also been a development with our partnership with Work and Income. As you are likely aware, if you need help finding support workers/staff, you can list your vacancy with the Work and Income Work Broker in your area – they will provide you with a list of potential matches, and do the police check for you. If you employ one of them for more than 15 hours/week (or partner with someone else on IF to employ them together), you get a $500 payment from Work and Income. If you keep the person for 3 months, you get an additional $500 at the end of that timeframe. Your Coach will check in on you by phone fortnightly to see how the employment situation is going.
Of course, as with any employment situation, there are no guarantees, and we do not recommend that you employ anyone you are not comfortable with – but Work and Income wants to get people into employment, and this arrangement is one that just may suit you. IF Hosts are also required to ensure that the service is working well and report back to the Ministry.
All IF Hosts provide this level of service for a fee set by the Ministry. If you want IF Hosts to take on the responsibility for recruiting, training and paying your support workers and possibly managing the legal aspects of your service, your IF Host may do so for an extra fee determined by them.
More information from the Ministry of Health
National carer matching service
Find relief carers and support workers with Mycare
If you or someone you know requires extra support to live comfortably and safely at home, take control of your home support needs and connect with a nationwide network of caregivers and support workers with Mycare.
Mycare is an easy-to-use online platform and app that allows customers to browse through thousands of support workers and helpers to assist with a wide range of services. Whether it’s grocery shopping, support with activities, help around the house, or personal care, Mycare gives you the power to select a helper that best suits your needs.
Worker profiles allow you to check interests, experience and qualifications. You can also read reviews from other users to help gauge if their personality and skills are a good fit for you.
Download the app on iOS or Android or log onto the Mycare website to list a job for free and find a suitable worker. Book their time and make a payment through Mycare’s secure payment system.