Our clients

Find out what supports are available to you at different traffic light settings and other useful updates.

We use resources from the Ministry of Health, COVID19.govt.nz and other reliable agencies to help you navigate available services during COVID-19 restrictions. Some of these resources may still be referring to Alert Levels rather than the new Traffic Light System RED, ORANGE and RED. Please bear with us as we wait for these resources to be updated by the leading agency. 

Food and essential costs supports

Food support in Easy Read format

Published 8 September 2021

The COVID-19 website has lots of information and advice in Easy Read format about COVID-19 and how to get food support. Check it out.

 

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Priority shopping for people with disabilities 

Published 26 August 2021

Countdown has a priority online shopping service for older people, people with disabilities, people with chronic health conditions, and people who are self-isolating.

For New World and PAK'nSave, customers can call 0800 363 977 between 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday only, to book a priority slot at selected stores. If you call outside the priority operation times, you will not be able to access the priority services. Note that this service is not available in all areas. New World can do deliveries and PAk'nSave only provides Click and Collect. If the priority slots are fully booked, people will be referred to SVA.


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WINZ food grants and other urgent costs support

Last updated 14 May 2020

Work and Income NZ (WINZ) may be able to help you pay for food if you’re on a low income or a benefit.

  • You don't have to be on a benefit to qualify for this help.
  • You don't have to pay the money back.

If you're struggling to meet other living costs, or if you get an unexpected bill, WINZ might be able to help you, even if you're working.

 

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Help with essential costs

Last updated 20 September 2021

If you’ve lost your job or can’t work at the moment, you may be able to get a benefit or some other financial help from the Ministry of Social Development. 

 

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For foodbanks, priority grocery service and free counselling service, visit our Information Hub

Published 15 February 2021

We have a list of social care supports available to you all year round, like SVA's priority grocery service for tangata whaikaha/people with disabilities, your nearest foodbank, and free counseling services so you can reach out to during challenging times.

This list keeps growing so be sure to check it regularly for any updates. 

 

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Financial support

What is the Wage Subsidy Scheme and when can I apply?

Last updated 19 November 2021

Applications for the seventh COVID-19 Wage Subsidy August 2021, known as Wage Subsidy August 2021 #7 is open until 25 November. 

For more information, visit the Work and Income website here. 

 

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Financial support for families and employers

Published 6 September 2021

If your income has been affected by COVID-19, you may be able to apply for financial support.

 

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For people employing a support worker: COVID-19 leave support scheme and short term absence payment

Last updated 19 November 2021

The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is available for employers, including self-employed people, to help pay their employees who need to self-isolate and can't work from home.

This means your workers:

  • can't come into work because they are in one of the affected groups and have been told to self-isolate, and
  • can't work from home.

Find out who can get the Leave Support Scheme

Anyone who is unwell should call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or talk to their doctor or health provider. Employers should encourage their employees to do this if they're unwell.

COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment is available for employers, including self-employed people, to help pay employees who can’t work from home and need to stay at home while waiting on COVID test result.

Note: there is no MSD support for employers to pay staff who are unable to return to work as a result of mandatory vaccination. However, financial assistance from MSD remains available for people who have become unemployed, regardless of their vaccination status.

 

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Using your current supports

Behavioural support during COVID restrictions

Last updated 23 August 2021

People who are eligible for disability support services from us can get immediate wellbeing and behaviour support advice, support, risk assessment and safety planning from Explore Specialist Advice

Please call Explore on 0800 000 421. Don’t wait until things become unmanageable or unsafe--call them earlyYou don’t need a referral from us to access these services, but you will be asked to identify your NASC. 

Explore is open Monday to Friday from 9am- 5pm.

Additionally, you can continue to contact your mental health service provider if this is available to you. 

 

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Individualised Funding flexibility

Last updated 15 September 2021

During COVID restrictions, you can use your IF flexibly. 

These rules only apply if you are allocated IF through the Ministry of Health (not your DHB). Please contact your DHB for information about other supports.


Remember:

  • you must work within your current funding allocation
  • you cannot use your Individualised Funding for the following:
  1. illegal activities, gambling or alcohol
  2. to pay for things that are not disability supports like rent/mortgage, food, personal debt, gifts, power, usual household items etc.

As it is up to you to choose what support or services to buy, it’s your responsibility to make sure that the support or service is of good quality and covers all your requirements.

Remember that you must continue to honour any employment contracts that you have. You can find out more about terminating an employment agreement at: www.employment.govt.nz/ending-employment/.  

 

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Carer support: Taking a break during COVID restrictions 

Last updated 3 December 2021

Did you know that you can use your Carer Support funding more flexibly?

What does ‘more flexibly’ mean? 

  • Resident family members can be paid as relief carers
  • Relief care can be used whilst at work (even when working from home)
  • People can use the funding to purchase things that will provide respite for them, whilst staying within budget.

Some key things to keep in mind when using your Carer Support during this time:

  • A resident family member includes parents living with you in your bubble during lockdown.
  • Although there’s more flexibility around using your funding, the purpose of Carer Support remains unchanged: it’s funding for full-time carers so they can take a break, while the person they care for is looked after.
  • The Ministry provides clarity on their website on how you can use your Carer Support allocation during this time. It can't be used for things like food, gifts, rent, household items, etc—please read the guideline.
  • It’s important that you manage your funding sensibly so you don’t run out, as you may not get extra if you use it all during lockdown. 
  • You can download a Carer Support form and then email it to csclaims@health.govt.nz. You can also take a clear photo of a completed paper form and email it to the address above. 

If you have questions about Carer Support, please give us a call.

Finally, if the person you’re caring for or supporting is not coping well and you’re concerned about their behaviour, there is a phone service available and we encourage you to use it. Explore Behaviour Service has a specialist available Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm. Please call them on 0800 000 421. Don’t wait until things become unmanageable or unsafe, call them early.

 

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Face covering and PPE 

Rules about wearing face covering

Last updated 4 December 2021

Under RED and GREEN light, you are legally required to wear a face covering on public transport, on flights, and if you're a taxi or ride-share driver. The same applies when visiting healthcare services such as aged care facilities. Find out more.

Some people are unable to wear face coverings because of their disability or specific health conditions. Find out more about face mask exemptions on public transport, in schools and tertiary education, and getting face exemption cards for people who need visual cues and other situations. 

Make a mask 

Face coverings like scarves, bandanas or other fabric masks are acceptable forms of providing protective physical barrier to help keep people safe.

Here's a step by step instruction on how to make a face covering in 10 seconds.  

Here's a video from the WHO on how to make a fabric mask at home.

How to put on a mask

Using and handling disposable and reusable masks play an important role in stopping the spread of COVID-19. 

Download this Easy Read (PDF 1.75MB) version on how to put on face masks. 

Or read Government advice on how to use and dispose masks, which includes an instructional video on putting on masks.  

You can also print out this colourful PPE guide and show it to young members of your whanau if they're unsure about how to use face masks and coverings. 

 

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Do you need PPE?

Last updated 3 December 2021

If you need access to PPE, please contact your provider or IF host to find out if you can still be supplied with free PPE.

 

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How to make WHO's recommended 3 layer fabric mask

Last updated 4 December 2021

Under certain traffic light restrictions, it is strongly encouraged to wear a mask when you are out and about.

World Health Organisation findings show that wearing a mask can reduce the risk of infected people spreading COVID-19.

You can use a non-medical grade mask for each person in your household or make your own fabric mask. Pease do your part to beat the spread of COVID in your community. 

Here's a video from the WHO on how to make a fabric mask at home

 

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Education

Children with learning support needs

Last updated 15 September 2021

Check the Ministry of Education website for information on what families can expect around distance learning during COVID restrictions. 

Schools should be in touch with families to find out how they can continue to support your tamariki under any traffic system colour. Feel free to contact them too if you have difficulty accessing online learning or can't pick up your child's school learning pack. 

If you need respite care, please contact us and we'll work through it. 

 

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Transitioning students with disabilities back to school

Last updated 20 September 2021

Watch this Ministry of Education resource for parents and whānau of children and young people with disabilities, high health needs and learning and behaviour difficulties.  
  
It focuses on wellbeing and transitioning back to early learning services and schools for young children and school students. 

 

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Good to know

What to expect when you're isolating at home because you have COVID-19

Last updated 30 November 2021

For someone with COVID-19 who can isolate at home, Care in the Community by the Ministry of Health will include: 

  • An initial contact from a healthcare provider within 24 hours of a positive result notification, to discuss any health, accommodation and wellbeing requirements. Household contacts will also need to isolate, they’ll be supported with health advice and getting tested as well.   
  • A designated point of contact, most likely from a local healthcare provider, who will be responsible for looking out for the person’s health and wellbeing needs, including making a plan for checking in regularly while the person is infected. 
  • A health pack tailored to the individual’s health needs delivered within 48 hours to help the person manage recovery
  • Ongoing clinical monitoring over the duration of the isolation period to make sure the person is coping with symptoms and is safe to continue being cared for in the community.
  • A health assessment at Day 10 to determine whether the person can safely end time in isolation.

Household contacts will need to stay at home for at least 10 days, to make sure they remain free from the virus. The households’ dedicated health contact will continue to check in on them during this time. For more information about self-isolation, visit the Ministry of Heath website.

While most people who test positive for COVID-19 and their immediate household will be able to get food delivered by friends or family, some people and whānau will need help including those with more complex circumstances.

Some people are able to work from home and are less likely to lose their jobs if they have to self-isolate, others are much more financially vulnerable if they have to stay home. 

The Ministry of Social Development is leading the coordination of the welfare approach, working closely with key agencies across the health, housing education, economic and other sectors, and with iwi/Māori. For more information about welfare support during self-isolation, visit the MSD website. 

 

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Your right to choose who supports you in your own home  

Published 26 August 2021

Disabled people who receive support in their own homes are entitled to confirm and ask for evidence that a support worker has been vaccinated. If this information is refused, the person has the right to manage access to their home and refuse support from an individual who does not meet those requirements. Please get in touch with us for further information regarding the availability of alternative support.  

MBIE has updated information here: Vaccines and the workplace » Employment New Zealand  

 

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Parents' Zoom meeting: managing anxiety

Last updated 2 June 2020

Disability Connect regularly holds Zoom meetings for parents/carers of disabled peopled on how to manage anxiety. Check out their website to find out how you can join. It's a good place to deepen your understanding of anxiety and discuss strategies that may help manage it. 

 

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Autistics' Zoom group lockdown experiences

Last updated 20 September 2021

Altogether Autism provides Zoom groups for people with Autism who want to talk about their COVID restriction experiences.

The Zoom group is a place for safe sharing, connection, and understanding. The group is run by and for autistics. Teens and adults are welcome to join for free. 

Find out more information by going to the Altogether Autism website

 

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Community testing centres in Auckland

Last updated 26 August 2020

If you are not feeling well or if it's likely that you have been exposed to COVID-19, please take a test. There are several testing centres in Auckland you can go to. These tests are free.  

Community testing centres are drive-thru so people can maintain physical distancing and be safely tested.

If you’re unsure if you need to be tested, please call your family doctor or phone Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

To get a COVID-19 test outside these hours, please contact your GP or visit your local Urgent Care Clinic.

 

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Paerangi: An online resource created to better inform Maori on COVID-19

Last updated 13 August 2020

Paerangi is an online directory of supports and services available for Maori communities in Tamaki Makarau. They provide information in te reo and English, and even access to NZ interpreting service. Some of the information they've collated are around where to get:

  • mental health support
  • medical services
  • housing help
  • money help, and others

Check out their website now

 

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Supporting Pacific communities to fight COVID-19

Last updated 13 August 2020

Bula Vinaka, Fakaalofa Lahi Atu, Fakatalofa Atu, Halo Olaketa, Kia Orana, Mālō e Lelei, Mālō Nī, Noa’ia, Talofa Lava, Taloha Ni, Tēnā Koutou Katoa.

Prepare Pacific

Check out Prepare Pacific for information that can help our Pacific communities battle against coronavirus. Information, updates and advice are available in Pacific languages.

Prepare Pacific features the very popular Talanoa with Dr Api Talemaitoga, where he shares regular updates about the coronavirus and answers questions and concerns from a Pacific perspective.

You can also view Pacific Panel discussions on Covid-19 and how to keep Pasifika families safe and healthy. Best of all, these discussions are provided in several Pacific languages. 

You can also follow them on Facebook

 

Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP)

The MPP website also features the latest key messages on Covid-19 in New Zealand in many Pacific languages. The videos are also available on MPP’s Facebook page, YouTube channel, Twitter account, LinkedIn.

 

Pacific health support 

Visit http://pacifichealth.org.nz/covid-19-support/ for more information on how you can get Pacific focused health support. 

 

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Life at RED

Here's how we work while we’re on RED

Last updated 3 December 2021

Referrals 

We will continue to process referrals. It will greatly help if you can provide as many details as possible on your referral so we can process your application as soon as possible. We recommend that you use our online referral form to help us decide on your eligibility to receive disability support. 

Assessment

As a precautionary health measure, we’re moving our assessments to phone calls. We’ve been offering this option since last year and this has been well-received by our clients. We can also offer video assessments via Skype or Zoom or another VOIP app of your choice, if this is preferred. 

Service coordination 

We will continue to confirm your Ministry of Health disability support package either through email or post. 

Changes to your disability needs  

As per usual, if there are any changes to your disability needs, please contact us anytime and we’ll work on it together. 

Work hours

Our work hours will remain the same, from 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. 

Response times 

Due to the increased reliance on email and phone communications between us and the people we support, please bear with us as we work on responding to you as soon as possible. For non-urgent requests, it may sometimes take longer than usual to connect and we appreciate your patience throughout this exceptional time. 

Call centre

Our call centre will remain open 24/7. 

Office access 

Our Mt Wellington office will be closed to the public until further notice. 

We will provide you with more updates in the coming days, so watch this space.

In the meantime, please stay safe.

 

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Unite against COVID-19

Disability residential care services under Red 

Last updated 3 December 2021

Find out about service planning and delivery, visiting and moving of disability residents while regions are at Red of the Covid-19 Protection Framework. 

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Non-residential disability services operating at RED

Last updated 3 December 2021

Find out about respite care, day services, supported living, home and community support and choice in community living, needs and assessment services, behaviour support, equipment and modification and audiology while regions are at Red of the Covid-19 Protection Framework. 

 

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