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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.