27 Sep 2018

Govt to look at changes to disabled care pay policy

11:20 am on 27 September 2018

The government is to repeal a law relating to parents caring for their disabled adult children and consider changes to the policy on paying the caregivers.

Diane Moody, 76, cares for her son Shane Chamberlain full-time

Diane Moody, 76, cares for her son Shane Chamberlain full-time Photo: RNZ / Screenshot

The government will repeal the section of the Public Health and Disability Act that denies parents the right to complain about breaches of their human rights relating to family care policies.

The bill, which was introduced under urgency without public consultation or select committee scrutiny, has long been regarded as discriminatory.

"The previous government's funded family care policy has been a nightmare for the families involved, said acting Associate Health Minister James Shaw, in a statement.

The policy allows payment of people to care for resident family members assessed as having high or very high needs relating to disability, long term chronic health conditions, mental health and addiction and aged care needs.

"Over the next couple of months the government will run targeted consultation with affected families and stakeholders on the key issues within Funded Family Care. Consultation will cover issues of eligibility, pay rates for carers, the employment relationship, and the type of care covered," Mr Shaw said.

In April, ministers had promised families they would fast-track a review of the Funded Family Care policy.

"We acknowledge that many families have waited a long time to see this policy changed and I want to thank them for their ongoing patience," Health Minister David Clark said in a statement.

Diane Moody, 76, who cares for her adult son full time said she was paid for 21 hours a week at the minimum wage through the Ministry of Health's Funded Family Care scheme.

She wants the Employment Court to declare her son Shane Chamberlain isn't capable of employing her, because she said it was the only way to change the system so that she and other families caring for their adult disabled children could be paid fairly.