Using my budget

You can use your personal budget to pay for the supports you require to overcome barriers you face, as a result of disability.

What can I use my funding for?

Your funding can be used flexibly in a way that gives you options and control over your support.

You will usually have worked out what you want funding for with your Kaitūhono/Connector.

If you have not worked with a Kaitūhono/Connector, you will have communicated with someone from Mana Whaikaha about your support and funding (your Mana Whaikaha Contact Person).

Some examples of how people may use their personal budget are outlined below.

Mere worked with her Kaituhono/Connector Grace to develop ideas about getting a flat of her own. They worked out it would take 8 months for Mere to get this set up. Mere decided she wanted someone to organise the flatting for her as there were lots of issues to sort out including specialised equipment, accessible accommodation, and a roster for support staff. Grace and Mere met with two providers who offered to coordinate the flatting. Mere liked both the service coordinators so chose the one who had the lower hourly rate. They signed a service agreement for 8 months.

Abbey requested funding for a blender costing $130 as she needs her food puréed.

Sione requested funding for a reversing camera for his car which cost $150 as he wasn’t able to drive his car safely – he has a deteriorating physical impairment.

Zoe’s parents requested funding for a baby monitor so they would know if she was distressed in the night – Zoe, who is 8, isn’t able to communicate verbally and uses body movement to indicate she is upset. She is often unwell and her parents need to go to her straight away if she wakes.

Ben uses his funding to employ his own support staff. However, he wasn’t sure about the financial side of this and wanted an agency to do the payroll for him. He knew about a disability support provider who did this for people and also about an online option. For the first year Ben paid the provider to manage the payroll as he knew and trusted them. Over this time Ben learnt a lot more about employing and paying staff and in year two he has chosen to use the online payroll option as he feels more in control and independent.

Carol and Brian are in their late 60s and have a 35 year old son, Benji, who has recently moved from residential care to live at home. They are really pleased about this but recognised there would be huge challenges for each of them in adapting, in particular around Benji’s behaviour which can sometimes result in aggression, and his high health needs. Having resilient, reliable staff was essential and was something Carol and Brian felt would be a huge job for them to manage. In addition they needed behaviour support input and district nursing. Their Kaituhono/Connector worked with them to choose an independent, experienced and skilled person to facilitate the successful transition home and to coordinate the support on an ongoing basis. A portion of Benji’s budget goes to cover this cost while the remainder is spent on direct support worker costs. Carol and Brian use a provider to employ Benji’s support workers but have made the decisions about who is employed, when, and how this is done.

What your personal budget can’t be used for

To use your personal budget for something you need to be able to show how it helps you overcome a barrier as a result of disability. In addition, there are some things you can’t use your personal budget for:

  • illegal activities
  • gambling
  • alcohol
  • tobacco
  • a personal injury that is covered by ACC
  • supplementing your general household income
  • paying for things another government agency funds.

You may be able to use your funding for things another government agency funds, if the support is not suitable or involves a wait that would significantly reduce the likelihood of achieving one or more potential good outcomes. In this situation, you will need to give permission for Mana Whaikaha to discuss the purchase with the agency.

What else you need to know

Legal obligations

You must meet all your legal obligations related to this funding, including:

  • Employer obligations; and
  • Tax obligations.

Information is available on the Mana Whaikaha website about being a good employer.

Funded Family Care

If you wish to pay a family member to support you this needs to be consistent with the government’s policy on funded family care. You will have to meet the eligibility criteria for funded family care, and stay within the rules for this care. At present, this means:

  • the disabled person being supported must be over 18;
  • the carer must be over 18;
  • the carer cannot be the disabled person’s spouse, civil union or de facto partner;
  • the support must be within the home, for activities that directly support the disabled person (including supporting them to parent);
  • the support cannot be for more than 40 hours a week, and none of your funded family carers can work more than 40 hours a week (including other work).

If this is something you wish to pursue, you should discuss it further with your Connector or Mana Whaikaha Contact Person.

Sensitive expenditure

Sensitive expenditure is defined as ‘supports where it would not be apparent to a third party, who isn’t familiar with your context how it is a disability support’. For these supports, we may need to record the explanation, and demonstrate that:

  • it helps you overcome a barrier related to disability; and
  • that it is the best option to help you overcome that barrier.

Sensitive expenditure may not always be approved. Therapies that would not ordinarily attract public funding (alternative/complementary therapies) are always sensitive expenditure.

The funding process

Although there may not be a rule against a particular support, this does not guarantee that the support will be funded. This is because your supports will need to fit within the funding that the system can make available to you, and you may need to prioritise amongst these.