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NEW ZEALAND DISABILITY SUPPORT SERVICES Disability Information

Online:http://www.moh.govt.nz/
Phone: (04) 496 2000
Fax: (04) 496 2340

Needs Assessment Services Co-ordination (NASC)
Frequently Asked Questions about Needs Assessment Services.

Invalid's Benefit
If you have a permanent sickness, injury or disability that stops you working you may be able to get an Invalid's Benefit to help meet your living costs.

Sickness Benefit
Assistance for people who are temporarily off work because of sickness, injury, pregnancy or disability.

Disability and Child Care Allowance
This allowance reimburses people for ongoing regular costs that they incur because they have a disability. There is an income test that must be met. The amount of allowance paid depends on a person's costs. The Child Care Allowance is a payment made to the parent or guardian of a seriously disabled child who lives at home and requires constant care and attention. This is not currently income or asset tested.


 Needs Assessment Services Coordination (NASC)

The organization of health and disability support services in New Zealand has undergone a number of changes in the last decade. These have ranged from a "purchaser/provider" market-oriented model introduced in 1993, to the more community-oriented model that is currently in place. The current system was implemented through the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000 which allowed for the creation of District Health Boards - a key step in moving to a population based health system. This page provides the answers to some of the more frequently asked questions about Needs Assessment Services Co-ordination.

 NASC Questions

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 Invalid's Benefit

For people who are sick, injured or disabled this means making sure they are receiving the correct benefit and not missing out on training and job opportunities.

 Invalid's Benefit Questions

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 Sickness Benefit

Assistance for people who are temporarily off work because of sickness, injury, pregnancy or disability

 Sickness Benefit Questions

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 Disability and Child Care Allowance

This allowance reimburses people for ongoing regular costs that they incur because they have a disability. There is an income test that must be met. The amount of allowance paid depends on a person's costs.

 Disability and Child Care Allowance Guidelines
If You Are: Your Weekly Income Before Tax Must Be Under:
Single, 16 to 17 years $440.65
Single, 18 years or over $510.01
Married, in a civil union, or in a de facto relationship with or without children $742.05
Sole parent with 1 child $614.57
Sole parent with 2 or more children $647.48

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What is a NASC?

ANSWER: NASC stands for Needs Assessment and Service Coordination. It is often used to refer to the organization which the Ministry of Health Disability Services contracts to work with people with a lifelong impairment to determine their eligibility and need for Ministry of Health funded disability support services. The NASC's also assist the person to determine the best mix of supports based on their own strengths, resources and goals. The supports or services are then delivered by people in the person's networks, community or by service providers.

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What is a Needs Assessment?

ANSWER: A needs assessment is a facilitated process undertaken in partnership with the disabled person to determine their current abilities, resources, goals and needs and identifies which of these is the most important. The purpose is to decide what is needed to maximize a person's independence so they can participate as fully as possible in society.

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What is Service Co-ordination?

ANSWER: Service co-ordination is a process of identifying, planning and reviewing the package of services required to meet the prioritized needs and goals of a disabled person and, where appropriate, their family, and carers.

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Who is Eligible For a Needs Assessment?

ANSWER: Disabled people are eligible for a needs assessment should the person with the disability meet the Government's definition of disability.

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What is The Government's Definition of Disability?

ANSWER: The Government's definition of disability determines who is eligible for Ministry-funded Disability Support Services (DSS) via a NASC. The definition states that: "A person with a disability is someone who has been assessed as having a physical, psychiatric, intellectual, sensory, or age related disability (or a combination of these) which 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".

The Ministry primarily works with people with physical, intellectual, and sensory impairments/disability. Support for people with psychiatric and age related support needs are accessed through the person's local DHB.

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Who is Eligible For Ministry-Funded Services?

ANSWER: In applying the definition above, the Ministry will fund a range of Disability Support Services (DSS) for people who have been assessed as having a physical, intellectual or sensory disability (or a combination of these). Mainly these are younger people under the age of 65 years. Funding of Disability Support Services (DSS) for people with psychiatric disability and age-related disability was devolved to District Health Boards (DHB's) in 2002.

The Ministry will also fund DSS 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-exist with a health condition and/or injury. A NASC can clarify these by contacting its Ministry of Health Contract Relationship Manager.

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Who is Excluded From Ministry-Funded Support Services?

ANSWER:

  • People who are covered under the Injury, Prevention, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2001. ACC has been responsible since 1974 for funding support services for people whose disability is caused by injury or accident.

  • People aged 65 years and over who do not have a long term impairment (ie, physical, sensory, intellectual disability that was acquired before the age of 65 years)

  • People aged 65 years and over with a long term impairment who have been Ministry funded but who have been clinically assessed by a DHB or needs assessor as requiring age related residential care.

  • People aged 50-64 years who have been assessed by a DHB or DHB needs assessor as "close in interest" to persons aged 65 years and over and whose needs would be best met by DHB integrated health and disability services.

  • People who require an assessment solely as a result of a mental health need or addiction condition - these assessments are contracted for by the DHB through Mental Health Assessment Services or Community Mental Health teams.

  • People who require assessment as a result of a personal health need. A personal health need is defined as when a person's level of independent function is reduced by a condition that requires ongoing supervision by a health professional.

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How Do I Get a Needs Assessment?

ANSWER: A referral is required before a needs assessment can take place. This is a documented request for needs assessment and/or service coordination. A person can self refer or any other person or organization can make the referral, with the disabled person's agreement.

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What Are NASC's Key Roles and Responsibilities?

ANSWER: The contract the Ministry has with NASC's requires three things of the NASC:

  • Facilitating a Needs Assessment process

  • Service Coordination, which includes giving information about options, planning and coordinating the supports in a support plan, and allocating some DSD funded support services

  • Budget Management. The NASC manages an indicative budget for DSS on behalf of the Ministry as the funder, and has to ensure equitable and cost effective packages of support within that budget

Some NASC's have different staff working as Needs Assessment Facilitators and Service Coordinators; while others have the same person fulfilling the two different roles.

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What is NASCA?

ANSWER: The Needs Assessment and Service Coordination Association is a non-for profit incorporated society comprised of managers of NASC's contracted by either the Ministry or DHB's to work with disabled and/or older people and in a few instances mental health consumers. Membership is voluntary, but all Ministry of Health-contracted NASC managers are members.

Can I Get An Invalid's Benefit?

ANSWER: If you have a permanent sickness, injury or disability that stops you working you may be able to get an Invalid's Benefit to help meet your living costs.

To qualify for an Invalid's Benefit you must be 16 or over and:

  • unable to regularly work 15 hours or more a week because of a sickness, injury or disability which is expected to last at least 2 years or

  • your life expectancy is expected to be less than 2 years and you are unable to regularly work 15 hours or more a week or

  • blind with a specified level of restriction in your visual field or in the sharpness of your vision

The Ministry of Health will need to confirm your sickness, injury or disability and how it affects your ability to work.

To do this, they can use:

  • existing assessments you may already have, or
  • a Work and Income Medical Certificate

You can get a Medical Certificate from your local Work and Income Service Centre, or your doctor or specialist should have one.

We may also need you to see one of their doctors. They'll pay for this.

You'll also need to:

  • be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident

  • have lived in New Zealand continuously for two years or more at any one time since becoming a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident (except refugees with permanent residence)

  • normally live in New Zealand

If you've lived overseas, contact the Ministry of Health because they have agreements with certain countries.

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Can My Partner Be Included?

ANSWER: Your partner may be included in your Invalid's Benefit. They may need to:

  • develop a Job Seeker Agreement with the Ministry of Health and agree to look for work or prepare for work (we will help with this)

  • look for full-time work (30 hours a week or more) if you have no dependent children at home or your youngest dependent child is 18 or older or

  • look for part-time work (15 hours a week or more) if your youngest dependent child is 6-17 or

  • come to planning meetings and perhaps do things to help prepare for work if your youngest dependent child is under 6

You may not qualify if:

  • you have other money to live on, such as a partner's income or a type of living cost payment (like a Student Allowance) or

  • you deliberately caused your own injury

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What Are My Obligations?

ANSWER: Work offers opportunities now and in the future for you. We can help you plan for your future, and if you want to work, we can help you with this when the time is right for you.

You may need to take part in a planning process to help you set goals for your future or move towards work.

This could include:

  • coming to planning meetings and

  • preparing a Personal Development and Employment Plan that covers your goals for the future and the things you will do to reach those goals

If you do take part in planning, you'll need to show us that you are committed to reaching your goals. If there's a good reason why you can't or don't want to take part, please talk the Ministry of Health straight away.

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How Much Will I Get?

ANSWER: How much you get depends on your situation.

Payments are made weekly. If you already get income assistance you can usually switch to the Invalid's Benefit as soon as you qualify. Otherwise you'll usually get your first payment 2-3 weeks after you apply - it'll depend on how long it takes to get a medical report for you.

You may have to wait longer if you have been working and:

  • got holiday pay or another payment at the end of your job
  • are getting sick pay from your employer

You may qualify for other help, depending on your situation. Make sure you ask your Case Manager about the Community Services Card and family tax credit (if you have a dependent child or children).

You may also be able to get other types of help through the health system, such as home support services or time off for caregivers.

Please ask your doctor, local hospital or the Ministry of Health for details.


 Invalid's Benefit Payment
If You Are: Weekly Payments (after tax):
Single 16-17 $180.54
Single 18 or over $223.10
Married, de-facto or civil union couple each $185.92
Sole parent $293.08

You may get less if you have other income. You may also be able to get family tax credit or extra allowances as well. Tax has been deducted at the M rate.

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What Happens If I Work?

ANSWER: If your condition allows you can work when you get an Invalid's Benefit, but talk it over with your Case Manager and doctor first.

You can trial working 15 or more hours per week for an agreed period of up to six months and still qualify for your Invalid's Benefit. You need to talk to your Case Manager first. They can also offer extra help if you keep working after the six months is up. Ask us about this.

Depending on how much you earn while working your benefit could be reduced. They will look at all other income you and your partner get from any other source. If your total income goes over a certain amount your benefit is reduced.

The guide below shows the usual limits - but these go up if you work and are on the Invalid's Benefit (they can go up by as much as an extra $20 a week). You can ask the Ministry of Health to find out more about how working will affect your benefit.

If you are blind they won't make any deductions for money you earn from your own efforts.

You must contact the Ministry of Health straight away if you start any type of work. Talk with them about your options for working.


 Income Guide
If Your Yearly Income Before Tax Is: The Deduction From Your Invalid's Benefit Is:
Up to $4160 No change to your benefit
$4161-$9360 30c off for each $1 of income
$9361 or more ($181 or more a week) 70c off for each $1 of income

Any income you have can also affect any extra allowances you may get. Deductions vary, so please ask for details.

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What Happens If I Stop Work?

ANSWER: If you need to reapply for Invalid's Benefit you should contact your Case Manager right away. Depending on your condition and what you were earning, you may not have to wait for your first payment of benefit.

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Will My Invalid's Benefit Be Reviewed?

ANSWER: The information you have provided may be compared with information held by Inland Revenue, the Ministry of Justice, the Department of Corrections, the New Zealand Customs Service, the Department of Internal Affairs, the Accident Compensation Corporation, Housing New Zealand Corporation and New Zealand Immigration Service. It may also be compared with Social Security Information (for example, pension or benefit information) held by other governments.

Make sure you bring everything you need to your meeting.

Remember, if you don't think you qualify for this benefit, there may be some other way you can get help, so please ask.

It is important you tell about any changes that may affect your Invalid's Benefit.

When you get income support you must tell the Ministry straight away about any changes in your circumstances. If you don't you could miss out on extra payments - or you could end up with a debt to pay back. You could also be fined or even prosecuted.

Here are some things you need to tell them about:

  • Any changes in your income
  • Any changes to your health
  • Any changes related to work or study
  • Any changes in your home or family situation
  • If you intend to go overseas
  • If you go into hospital
  • If you move, change your name or bank account
  • Any change in costs you get extra help for

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What Do I Need To bring To My Meeting?

ANSWER: You'll need to bring along a number of things, like ID. There's a checklist below that tells you the sorts of things you need to bring. Call first on 0800 559 009 if you are unsure about anything.


 Checklist
Proof of: You'll Need To Bring:
Your identity and New Zealand residency (and your partner's if you have one) Two forms of identity. One must be birth certificate, passport or citizenship papers. The second can be a driver's licence or Community Services Card
Any name changes you and your partner have had Marriage certificate or deed poll papers
Your bank account number(s) Bank book or statement with your account number(s)
Children living with you who you support A full birth certificate for each child
You (and your partner's) IRD number A form or letter from Inland Revenue
You (and your partner's) last pay and all income for the last 26 weeks Items such as pay slips, bank statements, a letter from your employer(s)
Any assets you (or your partner) own which could earn income Items such as bank statements, share certificates, property valuations
Any benefit or pension you (or your partner) get from overseas A letter, statement or payslip showing your payments
Your housing costs Items such as a rent book or a letter from the person you board with; if you own your home bring details of your mortgage, rates, insurance and home repair costs
Costs and expenses for other allowances Please talk with the Ministry about what to bring
Emergency Proof of what created the emergency and/or receipts to show where your benefit/income has been spent. Quote(s) for the goods or services required (no quote for food is required).

By income they mean any income you (and your partner) get from any source, such as work, regular insurance payments like ACC, investments, business, private pensions, rent or boarders.

By assets they mean anything you or your partner own which you can earn income from such as savings, shares, stocks, loans to others or property you don't live in.

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Can I Appeal?

ANSWER: If you're unhappy about a decision that's been made there is a special review process and a Benefit Review Committee. Most misunderstandings can be resolved quickly and easily just by talking things over, so please try talking with your Case Manager first.

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Who Can Get It?

ANSWER: If you are temporarily off work or working at a reduced level because of sickness, injury, pregnancy or disability, you may be able to get Sickness Benefit.

To get a Sickness Benefit you need to be:

  • 18 years or over or
  • 16-17 years and living with a partner and children you support

You must also be:

  • in a job now but have had to stop working or reduce your hours and income because of sickness, injury, pregnancy or disability, or

  • unemployed or working part-time, and find it hard to look for and do full-time work because of sickness, injury, pregnancy or disability, and

  • be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident

  • have lived in New Zealand continuously for two years or more at any one time since becoming a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident (except refugees with permanent residence)

  • normally live in New Zealand.

You (and your partner's) income must be under a certain level.

When you apply you will need a medical certificate (they will give you a form to take to your doctor, dentist or midwife). Your first certificate can only last for up to four weeks.

If you are 16 or 17 years and single you may qualify if you are pregnant or having treatment in an approved rehabilitation programme.

If you are pregnant you may be able to get a Sickness Benefit from your 27th week, or earlier if you have complications. Your payments can continue for up to 13 weeks after the birth if you are caring for the child.

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Can My Partner Be Included?

ANSWER: Your partner may be included in your Sickness Benefit. They may need to:

  • develop a Job Seeker Agreement with the Ministry and agree to look for work or prepare for work

  • look for full-time work (30 hours a week or more) if you have no dependent children at home or your youngest dependent child is 18 or older or

  • look for part-time work (15 hours a week or more) if your youngest dependent child is 6-17 or

  • come to planning meetings and perhaps do things to help prepare for work if your youngest dependent child is under 6 years

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What Are My Obligations?

ANSWER: You may need to take part in a planning process to help you set goals for your future, including:

  • coming to planning meetings and

  • preparing a Personal Development and Employment Plan that covers your goals for the future and the things you will do to reach those goals

You may also need to show that you are committed to reaching your goals.

If you do take part in planning, you'll need to show that you are committed to reaching your goals. If there's a good reason why you can't or don't want to take part, please talk with the Ministry of Health straight away.

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How Much Will I Get?

ANSWER: How much you can get for the Sickness Benefit depends on your personal situation. The guide below shows what you may be able to get a week after tax.

Payments are made direct to your bank account each week. It usually takes 2-3 weeks for your payments to start. You may have to wait longer if you have been working and you:

  • got holiday pay or some other payment at the end of your job
  • are getting sick pay from your employer

You and your partner can have other income of up to $80 a week (before tax) between you before your Sickness Benefit is affected. 70c is taken off your benefit for each dollar of income you have over this $80 limit.

Any income you get could also affect any extra help you get. The deductions vary so please ask about this. You need to tell about any other income you get, including benefits you might have from other countries.


 Sickness Benefit Payments
If You Are: Weekly Payments (after tax):
Single under 20 at home $118.98
Single under 20 away from home $148.73
Single 20-24 $148.73
Single 25 or over $178.49
Married, civil union, or de facto couple (each) $148.73
Sole parent $255.65

You may get less if you have other income. If you have children you may also be able to get family tax credit or extra allowances as well. Tax deducted is at the M rate.

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What About Legal Things?

ANSWER: When you apply for income support you agree to two very important conditions. All the information you give us must be true, with nothing left out - and you must tell the Ministry straight away about any changes in your circumstances that could affect your payments. If you don't keep these conditions, you are breaking the law and can be prosecuted.

The information you have provided may be compared with information held by Inland Revenue, the Ministry of Justice, the Department of Corrections, the New Zealand Customs Service, the Department of Internal Affairs, the Accident Compensation Corporation, Housing New Zealand Corporation and New Zealand Immigration Service. It may also be compared with Social Security Information (for example, pension or benefit information) held by other governments.

When you get income support you must tell the Ministry straight away about any changes in your circumstances. If you don't you could miss out on extra payments - or you could end up with a debt to pay back. You could also be fined or even prosecuted.

Here are some things you need to report:

  • Any changes in your income
  • Any changes to your health
  • Any changes related to work or study
  • Any changes in your home or family situation
  • If you intend to go overseas
  • If you go into hospital
  • If you move, change your name or bank account
  • Any change in costs you get extra help for

The Ministry primarily works with people with physical, intellectual, and sensory impairments/disability. Support for people with psychiatric and age related support needs are accessed through the person's local DHB.

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What Are My Rights?

ANSWER: You can ask to see your file and ask the Ministry to correct anything that's wrong. You can also ask for a review if you're not happy with a decision - and you can appeal against the review outcome if you're still not happy. Of course you also have the right to expect helpful and efficient service.

If you have any questions call on 0800 559 009 from 7am to 6pm Monday to Friday and Saturday 8am to 1pm or contact your Case Manager at your nearest Service Centre. If you are deaf, hearing impaired or find it hard to communicate by phone, you can send a message to the Deaf Link free-fax 0800 621 621.

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What Else Do I Need To Know?

ANSWER: When you get a Sickness Benefit you'll need regular medical certificates from your doctor or dentist. A registered practicing midwife can fill these in if you are pregnant.

The Ministry will write to you when your certificate is about to run out to check that you still need Sickness Benefit. This letter will explain the ways the Ministry can help you.

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What Do I Need To bring To My Meeting?

ANSWER: You'll need to bring along a number of things like ID - there's a checklist below that tells you the sorts of things you need to bring. For the Sickness Benefit, you must also make sure the medical part of your application form has been filled in by your doctor, dentist or midwife before we meet. And remember, if you don't think you qualify for this benefit, there may be some other way we can help, so please ask.

Call on 0800 559 009 if you are unsure about anything.


 Checklist
Proof of: You'll Need To Bring:
Your identity and New Zealand residency (and your partner's if you have one) Two forms of identity. One must be birth certificate, passport or citizenship papers. The second can be a driver's licence or Community Services Card
Any name changes you and your partner have had Marriage certificate, civil union certificate or deed poll papers
Your bank account number(s) Bank book or statement with your account number(s)
Children living with you who you support A full birth certificate for each child
You (and your partner's) IRD number A form or letter from Inland Revenue
You (and your partner's) last pay and all income for the last 26 weeks Items such as pay slips, bank statements, a letter from your employer(s)
Any assets you (or your partner) own which could earn income Items such as bank statements, share certificates, property valuations
Any benefit or pension you (or your partner) get from overseas A letter, statement or payslip showing your payments
Your housing costs (to apply for an Accommodation Supplement) Items such as a rent book or a letter from the person you board with; if you own your home bring details of your mortgage, rates, insurance and home repair costs.
Costs and expenses for other allowances Please talk with the Ministry about what to bring

By income they mean any income you (and your partner) get from any source, such as work, regular insurance payments like ACC, investments, business, private pensions, rent or boarders.

By assets they mean anything you or your partner own which you can earn income from such as savings, shares, stocks, loans to others or property you don't live in.

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