Changes to Purchasing Rules and Equipment Modifications Services


Published 25 March 2024


Whaikaha’s recent announcement about changes to Disability Support Services (DSS) Purchasing Rules and Equipment Modification Services have caused anxiety and uncertainty to disabled people and their families, whānau and aiga.

We learned about the changes when they were announced, and immediately our minds turned to how we can best help people.

Since the original announcement, there have already been some changes in the rules, so we know the situation is fluid. Whaikaha is working on responses to the vast range of questions and feedback it is receiving, and uploading updated information to its website as it becomes available. That’s why we are leaning on the Whaikaha website as the primary source of reliable information and directing people there for the latest updates.

In the meantime, we've compiled our own Q & A based on the feedback we've been receiving from the people we support since the announcements.


Q. What has changed?
A. Whaikaha’s Purchasing Rules have been adjusted for Carer Support, Individualised Funding (IF), Choices in Community Living (CICL), Enhanced Individualised Funding (EIF), Enabling Good Lives (EGL) personal budgets.

Changes have also been made to Whaikaha’s Equipment Modification Services.

For disabled people and whānau in Auckland, the changes only apply to Carer Support, IF and CICL (EIF and EGL are not available in the region). The changes to EMS are nationwide.


Q. What does this mean?
A. This means there are new rules on how disabled people and whānau can spend disability funding for Carer Support, IF and CICL. Secondly, there is a new prioritisation process for those who want to access Whaikaha’s Equipment and Modification Services.

Whaikaha has said it wants to allow some flexibility on how these supports are used, and at the same, they want to ensure that the funding is used specifically for supporting disabled people.

We know that what this means looks different for each person and their situation.

We've been talking directly with people and organisations in the sector, using our network to navigate these changes and advocate for the best possible outcomes for disabled people and whānau.


Q. Who decided to make these changes?
A. The decision was made by Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People. NASCs were not consulted on the announcements.


Q. Why did they make these changes?
A. Whaikaha has pointed to the growing demand for disability supports, but the available Government funding remains fixed.


Q. Why weren’t disabled people and whānau consulted before the change?
A. The Whaikaha CEO has apologised for the way in which the Ministry went about announcing the changes. Their CEO has said it is her intention to work with disabled people, tāngata whaikaha Māori and whānau to develop a long-term solution.


Q. How can I now use Carer Support, IF, CICL, and access Equipment Modification Services?
A. The Whaikaha website is the reliable source of information about what these changes mean. Providers are working on the same information that’s currently on the Whaikaha website. If there are further changes, then Whaikaha will update the website.

For example, on their website, they talk about:
• travel costs that can and can't be paid for using your flexible funding
• activities and breaks that can and can't be paid for using Carer Support or IF.


Q. What will happen to a purchase I made before the rule change on Monday 18 March?
A. Whaikaha said there is a ‘grace period’ for costs you had before Monday 18 March. If you committed your funding on something before 18 March, such as a booking, paying a deposit, then you can go ahead with the payment and your claims will be reimbursed. Also if you have paid for something before 18 March but you haven’t yet put your claim in, you will still have those costs reimbursed.

But, if you sought approval or quotes for things, but you didn’t make a binding commitment before 18 March, if you go ahead you are unlikely to be able to claim for those costs.

It is also unlikely you’ll be able to claim for any significant or unusual costs you commit to between 18 and 28 March.

The new rules will apply fully from midnight Thursday 28 March. Please make claims for expenses you have incurred up until 18 March 2024, by no later than 12 April 2024.


Q. I have questions about my Carer Support claims. Who can I talk to about them?
A. All Carer Support queries continue to be managed by Te Whatu Ora’s Carer Support team. You can contact them on 0800 855 066 or email


Q. How will this affect you, Taikura, in allocating disability support?
A. NASCs have not been told to change the way we allocate disability support. We remain committed to supporting disabled people and whānau to live their best lives and to connect people with supports that align with enabling good lives.


Q. Where can I get more information?
A. Whaikaha’s website and announcements on their Facebook page is the primary and most reliable source of information about this matter.


Q. What does this mean for disability supports provided by other government agencies, like Te Whatu Ora, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Social Development, etc.
A. We don’t have any information about this as yet.

The announcement underscores the importance of other agencies with disability support responsibilities to ensure disabled people and their carers and families, have appropriate access to their services, particularly healthcare, learning support and the range of social service supports including housing, employment and vocational services.