Budget 2012 will make available $143.7 million over the next four years to improve the lives of people with disabilities.
Speaking at the New Zealand Federation of Disabilities Information Centres’ Conference in Queenstown today, Health Minister Tony Ryall says the $143.7 million is made up of $132.7 million in new investment and $11.0 million in savings.
The disabilities sector receives the largest share of new health funding in the budget, other than DHBs.
The Government is committed to providing disabled people with more support so they can have greater independence and live better lives in their communities, Health Minister Tony Ryall and Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia say.
The $143.7 million investment will fund initiatives including:
• $54.7 million over the next four years for more home and community support services, such as help with showering, getting dressed, preparing a meal, and house work. This will help people with disabilities to continue living in their community rather than having to enter residential care.
• $1.3 million one-off funding for additional cochlear implants and follow-up services for adults and children in 2012/13
• $20.7 million over the next four years for more help with supports like hearing aids, hoists and wheelchair access.
• $57.6 million over the next four years for the increasing numbers of disabled people using residential support services.
• $9.4 million over the next four years to give more people greater choice and control of the services they receive.
This adds to the $1.035 billion the Government already spends every year in supporting disabled people including $450 million for residential care. Taxpayers also fund $224 million for disabled people living at home. This includes payments to non-family care givers.
The National led government has been introducing a newer, more individualised approach to disability funding. This has involved giving disabled people much greater say on how their share of the budget is spent. There are now almost 1,300 disabled people who have control of their allocated budget and they can choose how, what and who supports them.