Clarification on Purchasing Rules from Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People

April 24, 2024

New information has been released by Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People to clarify changes to purchasing rules announced on 18 March 2024.  For any questions, please email  

On Monday 18 March 2024, Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People, announced changes to the purchasing rules for Carer Support, Individualised Funding, Enhanced Individualised Funding, personal budgets, and Choices in Community Living.   

There are also changes to the purchasing rules for Equipment and Modifications.  Information about the changes is outlined below and you can also visit the Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People website What people can buy with Disability Funding: Purchasing Rules | Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People 

Health-funded Carer Support is not included within the new guidelines. 

Updated 24 April 2024


When did the purchasing rules change?  

The changes applied from Monday 18 March 2024 and there was a grace period until 12 April 2024 for people to claim against purchases or services already committed to.  

The information below aims to help clarify what can and cannot be funded with Disability Support Services (DSS) funding.  DSS funding is government funding provided through Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People.  


What does it mean in a nutshell?  

Changes made on 18 March 2024 have and will impact people who receive Carer Support, Individualised Funding (IF), Enhanced Individualised Funding (EIF), personal budgets, and Choices in Community Living (CiCL).   

Changes also impact people who need equipment and modifications, with people who have the highest need being prioritised Equipment and Modification Services | Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People 

These changes do not mean a reduction in DSS funded supports and services allocated to disabled people, however, it does change what can be purchased.  


What can be funded? 

You can use your Carer Support / IF – Respite for activities and breaks such as:  

  • Items that support the disabled person to carry out tasks more independently are generally available through IF, Individualised Funding Home Management (IF HM), Individualised Funding Personal Care (IF PC), EIF, CiCL, and personal budgets, except when these items are already provided for or managed under EMS. 
  • Items that support the disabled person to self-regulate.  These items are limited to tablet devices, noise cancelling headphones, sensory items (such as fidget spinners etc.) and weighted blankets where this creates a break for family carers.  Disability specific apps and software for a tablet that help a person self-manage can also be purchased.  These items can only be purchased once in any 12-month period.  
  • Commitments made with a service or person prior to 18 March 2024 can be continued so a disabled person can maintain their current employment, participation in a course of study, therapy, or a timebound programme.  
  • Therapies in place before 18 March 2024, including Speech Language therapy, psychologist involvement in behaviour support and occupational therapy.  A new course of therapy cannot be funded.  Therapy that can be funded by another government department is not included.  
  • Some forms of therapy can also have respite aspects and can be funded from IF, EIF and personal budgets. These include equine, art, and music therapy.
  • Transport such as driving services and rideshare costs (even if the disabled person has used Total Mobility Services).  Driving and rideshares can be used when it is more cost effective than support workers’ time to drive a disabled person.  
  • Community-based and run respite programmes.  
  • After school, holiday programmes and youth programmes, which directly benefit disabled people.  
  • Costs to cover support workers and family carers, including entry fees for recreational activities such as Rainbows End, a music festival, the swimming pool or the movies.  Please note, the disabled person and any other companions or family members are expected to meet their own costs.  


You cannot use Carer Support / IF – Respite funding for:  

  • Support during school hours when a child is not attending school fulltime. 
  • Supplementing some day programme costs.  
  • Beauty or therapeutic treatments to have a break. 
  • Overseas or domestic travel. 
  • Accommodation. 
  • Food and meals out, takeaway meals. 
  • Exercise and recreational equipment. 
  • Koha and gifts. 
  • Private services when funding for support has been declined by (or on behalf of) the responsible government agency, or if waiting times are too long. 
  • Purchasing larger items such as spa pools, trampolines or play gyms. 
  • Therapies paid for by other government departments.  
  • Illegal activities, gambling, alcohol or to pay for things that are not disability supports like rent / mortgage, food, personal debt, gifts, power, regular household items etc.  


What is Carer Support? 

Carer Support is a subsidy that can be used to provide the full-time carer a break from their caring role.  It provides reimbursement for some of the costs of care and support for a disabled person while you have a break.  Your local NASC allocates the Carer Support subsidy.  The NASC allocate Carer Support in days which can then be treated as a whole budget for the year. 


What is IF?  

Individualised Funding, Enhanced Individualised Funding (EIF) or personal budgets which allow more flexible use of Disability Support Services (DSS) funding.  This group of options is sometimes referred to as flexible funding.  


Equipment and Modification Service (EMS) 

Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People’s Equipment and Modification Services (EMS) provide free or subsidised equipment and modifications to disabled people.  

EMS cover:  

  • Equipment. 
  • Housing modifications.
  • Vehicle purchase and modifications.  

Exclusions are now in effect for items that support the disabled person to carry out tasks more independently if these items are already provided for or managed under EMS.   Please go to What people can buy with Disability Funding: Purchasing Rules | Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People for more information. 


Will there be more changes? 

We do not know if there will be more changes, or clarification, but we will share any updates provided by Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People. 


For more information  

For further information please contact Whaikaha:   

If you have queries about Carer Support, please contact the Carer Support team by emailing or phone 0800 855 066.   

If you are using Individualised Funding or Enhanced Individualised Funding, please contact your IF Host.

You can also contact your local NASC.  Your Way | Kia Roha Connections & Funding teams that provide NASC services can be reached on 0800 758 700 weekdays between 8.30am and 4.30pm, or email   


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