Paying for residential care
You’re responsible for paying for your own care. You can apply for government help if you can’t afford all or some of the cost of your care.
If you want to get government help, the rest home or hospital you choose must have a contract with the local District Health Board (DHB).
What your payment covers
The contract you sign with the rest home or hospital — known as an Admission Agreement — shows what you pay each week for your care.
The payment covers all the services you get from the rest home or hospital. This includes:
- services that your rest home or hospital has been contracted by the DHB to provide
- other services the home offers that you need or choose to have.
The government only pays for the services that the home has been contracted by the DHB to provide. You must pay for any other services yourself — for example, if you choose a premium room.
What you pay
You pay a capped amount for the services provided by your rest home under their contract with the DHB. This is called the maximum contribution. The amount you pay depends on the region you live in.
The maximum contribution is set by the Ministry of Health and is adjusted every year on 1 July.
The rest home tells you the cost of any other services they provide. You must pay the full cost of your care if you:
- move to a rest home that doesn’t have a contract with a DHB
- haven’t had a needs assessment, although this is rare, or
- aren't eligible for government help.
Getting government help to pay
If you can’t afford to pay the maximum contribution, then you can apply for government help.
There are 2 types of help for age-related care:
- Residential Care Subsidy
- Residential Care Loan.
The Residential Care Subsidy provides all or part of the maximum contribution, depending on your assets and income.
If the value of your home is too high for you to get the Residential Care Subsidy — even though you don’t have much cash or other assets — you might be able to get a Residential Care Loan. The amount you borrow is interest free, and is usually paid back from your estate or when your home is sold.
If you get an NZ government pension or benefit
If you’re eligible for the Residential Care Subsidy or a Residential Care Loan and receive NZ Super, a Veterans’ Pension or another benefit, most of your pension or benefit goes to pay for your rest home care.