Your online guide to disability services
Funding & Disability


Disability support service is a term describing the range of day to day supports funded to assist people to live in their community. Support can include working with a person to develop or maintain their skills or supporting a person with the activities they are unable to do. Supports include things like help in the home, personal assistance, information, and support to live independently. Some support is also designed to assist family/whanau such as carer support. Disability Support Services are funded by Disability Services, a part of Health and Disability National Services of the Ministry of Health.



Who is eligible for Disability Support Services?

Essentially disability support services are funded to meet the longer term and permanent impairment needs of disabled people. To ensure that the funded services are available to this group of people the Ministry of Health determined a definition of disability that must be met to access the range of disability support services they purchase. The definition of disability is described as:

"A person with a disability is someone who has been assessed as having a physical, intellectual or sensory disability (or a combination of these) that is likely to continue for a minimum of six months and result in a reduction of independent function to the extent that ongoing support is required.”

Disability support services for people with certain neurological conditions that result in permanent disabilities, certain developmental disabilities in children and young people such as Autism and physical, intellectual or sensory disability that co-exists with a health condition and/or injury are also funded.

Disability Services mainly fund disability support services for people aged under 65 years. Services to assist people aged over 65 years are typically provided by a District Health Board (DHB).

Disability Services do not fund disability support services for people whose primary needs are driven by a personal health condition, mental health, health conditions more commonly associated with aging, or injury/accident covered by ACC.

To access some disability support services eligibility criteria in addition to that described above can also be required. This could include having a Community Services Card to be eligible for household management services.

Who provides Disability Support Services?

Disability support services are categorized according to the type of support being provided. Disability Services advertises what type of service it is looking for and invites organisations/service providers to apply for a contract to provide the service. This is referred to as a request for proposal process. If it is agreed that the organization has the capacity to provide the service, Disability Services will enter into a contract (agreement) with them. The service to be provided is specified in the agreement.

Click here for the MOH Service Specifications

Disability support services are predominantly delivered by private and not-for-profit providers based in the community. Providers vary in size from national organizations to small owner operated local enterprises and are typically referred to as non-government organizations (NGOs). Disability support services may also be contracted from DHBs.

How does a person obtain a Disability Support Service?

The majority of disability support services are accessed through a Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) service. A NASC plays a significant role in coordinating the effective utilisation of disability support services in their region. Disability Services contracts with organizations to provide this service. A NASC service will determine a person’s eligibility for funded disability support services and work with a person and their family/whanau/aiga/carer to identify their support needs, and what resources, supports and services are available, to meet these needs. A NASC will identify which disability support services are funded by Disability Services and allocate funding for a person to access these services.

These services are then delivered by service providers contracted under the various disability support service categories listed below.

What type of Disability Support Services are available?

Service provider organizations are funded to provide disability support services in the following categories. A brief description of the type of support provided is given in each category. For more information and the opportunity to download an information sheet and a list of providers in your area click on the service below:

  • Behaviour Support Services
    Behaviour Support Services (BSS) aim to improve the life of an intellectually disabled person whose behaviour challenges their support networks and may risk harming themselves or others. It also supports the learning of other behaviours and skills to enable a person to take part in their community.
  • Community Residential Support Services - Intellectual Disability
    Community Residential Support Services (CRSS) provide 24 hour support to people with an intellectual disability aged over 16 years. The service is provided in a home type environment in a community setting and is expected to meet a range of needs and goals as identified by a person’s Individual Plan (IP).
  • Community Residential Support Services - Physical Disability
    Community Residential Support Services (CRSS) provide 24 hour support to people with a physical impairment aged over 16 years. The service is provided in a home type environment in a community setting and is expected to meet a range of needs and goals as identified by a person’s Individual Plan (IP).
  • Disability Information & Advice Services
    A number of organisations are contracted by the Ministry of Health to provide accurate, independent and objective information and advice about disability and disability support services.
  • Equipment, Housing & Vehicle Modifications
    Equipment and Modification Services (EMS) fund or part fund equipment, housing modifications and vehicle modifications. Applications for funding of disability related equipment and modifications are made following a specialised assessment. This area of funding used to be called Environmental Support Services (ESS).
  • Household & Personal Support
    Home Based Support Services (HBSS) are available to people wishing to live in their own home but who require support to do so. Home based support services provide people with personal support and assistance to maintain and organise their home.
  • Individualised Funding
    Individualised funding (IF) is an administrative arrangement that enables people to hold and manage their own needs-assessed budgets. It provides the opportunity to manage the personal support services a person requires in a way that they believe best meets their needs.
  • National Intellectual Disability Care Agency (NIDCA)
    The National Intellectual Disability Care Agency (NIDCA) is a specialist needs assessment and service coordination agency for people with an intellectual impairment who have high and complex behavioural needs. NIDCA replaced the previous 5 regional RIDCA's in 2013 and this contract is held by Capital and Coast DHB.
  • Needs Assessment
    Needs assessment and service coordination (known as NASC) is the process through which disabled people gain access to Government-funded disability support services. The process is carried out by a NASC agency. The Ministry of Health funds NASC for people under 65 years. District Health Boards (DHBs) fund NASC for people 65 years and over.
  • Rehabilitation
    Rehabilitation services support people to adapt, develop or maintain life skills and are available within health, residential and community-based settings.
  • Respite and Carer Support
    The Ministry of Health is responsible for providing appropriate and acceptable respite options for people with different needs. Respite services are available to people and their carers/family/whanau whose primary role involves the care and support of a disabled family member.
  • Supported Independent Living
    Supported Independent Living (SIL) services assist a person to live safely in the community with an appropriate level of support. The SIL service provider discusses a range of supported living options with a person and works alongside them to facilitate and support a move to independent living.


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