- What is the Residential Care Subsidy?
The Residential Care Subsidy (RCS) is what the Ministry of Health pays towards the cost of long term residential care in a hospital or rest home.
- Will the subsidy pay the full fee?.
The RCS won’t pay for the care in full. The resident will be required to contribute some of their income (including most of their superannuation or other benefits) towards the cost of care.
- Understanding the process.
The first thing that happens is that the person going into care must have a Needs Assessment. This will determine what kind of care they need (both mental and physical health care). Unfortunately, it is not possible to get hold of the RCS application form until the Needs Assessment has been completed. Once the application form has been submitted, there will be a Financial Means Assessment of the resident’s/the couple’s income and assets to decide if they are eligible for the RCS.
- Who does what?
The assessment of income and assets is done by Work and Income NZ (WINZ) but the Ministry of Health actually pays the RCS directly to the hospital or rest home. The resident will need to pay the amount they are required to contribute to the hospital or rest home separately.
- Don’t worry about the timing.
You can enter care before the subsidy is approved. Many people worry about who will pay the rest home hospital fees whilst they are waiting for the subsidy to be approved. The reality is that hospitals and rest homes deal with this situation all the time. We know how the process works and will be ok to wait for payment until the application has been processed.
- What happens if the resident’s needs change and they require a higher level of care?
If a resident’s needs change and they require a higher level of care, ie hospital level care rather than rest home level care, there will be no change in the resident’s assessed contribution towards the cost of their care.
- Where are some good resources?
The Ministry of Health website www.health.govt.nz a good starting place. The easiest way to get to the relevant information is to go to the website and then search for “residential care subsidy”. The questions and answers document is particularly helpful. You could also look at the WINZ website www.workandincome.govt.nz for more detailed information about the financial side of things.
Paying for care – Residential Care Subsidies and Residential Care Loans.