Under $200: No funding is approved for housing modifications under $200.
- $201 - $8,076: Approval is required from Enable New Zealand.
- $8,076 - $25,000: Approval is required from Enable New Zealand subject to the outcome of an Income and Cash Asset Testing conducted by the Department of Work and Income New Zealand (NB: Applications for children 15 years and under are exempt from income and cash asset testing.)
- $15,334: maximum funding available for access modifications.(e.g. Ramps and lifts)
- $25,000+: Special permission must be sought from the Ministry of Health.
Note: All dollar levels are inclusive of GST
Any request for the provision of funding of housing modifications must follow the procedures outlined in the Housing Modification Manual. Written approval must be sought from Enable New Zealand prior to the start of any modifications. Enable New Zealand will not provide verbal approval for the purchase of housing modifications.
2. Income and Cash Asset Testing
Housing modification approvals (or sum of ) in excess of $8,076 inc GST are subject to an Income and Cash Asset test. The Income and Cash Asset test will determine the amount over and above $8,076 inc GST the person is able to receive to assist with housing modifications.
Enable New Zealand will notify the person in writing of their need to be Income and Cash Asset tested by the Department of Work and Income New Zealand and will arrange for the Department of Work and Income New Zealand to undertake the Income and Cash Asset test.
Once the Income and Cash Asset test has been undertaken, Enable New Zealand will be advised by the Department of Work and Income New Zealand of the funding the person is able to receive. This amount is the maximum the Ministry of Health can contribute. This funding will be paid directly to the Contractor on completion of the modifications. Where the person is required to contribute towards the cost of the modifications the identified sum must be paid directly to the builder/Contractor at the completion of the modifications. Enable New Zealand is not responsible for any financial obligations/requirements the person may undertake regarding the additional portion of funding.
The person may decline (in writing) an Income and Cash Asset test, in which case the maximum grant that can be made available is $8,076 inc GST. Where the person declines an Income and Cash Asset test the maximum total sum of the grants that can be made available is $8,076 inc GST.
Should the person have any queries relating to the Income and Cash Asset test they will need to contact the Department of Work and Income New Zealand. Enable New Zealand will monitor and follow up all requests for Income and Cash Asset testing to ensure they are completed in a timely manner./p>
3. Privacy Act
Under the terms of the Privacy Act 1993 the person must be informed of the following:
The collection of statistical information such as gender, ethnicity, and disability type will assist the Ministry of Health develop a clearer picture of the requirements for people with disabilities and will ensure that future access to Disability Support Services is fair and equitable for all.
The information provided on the application forms will be used:
- to ensure that the client receives the correct entitlement;
- to assist the Ministry of Health in planning and purchasing future services;
- for such other functions as permitted under law;
- to allocate the person a personal identification number.
Enable New Zealand will provide the Ministry of Health with information about the services the person may receive. The person has the right to access the information held about them and has the right to have corrections made to this information. The Ministry of Health acknowledges that under the Health Information Privacy Code (1994) all information will be received in the strictest confidence.
4. Housing Modification Levels
Housing modifications are considered in four levels. These levels are based on the complexity of the assessment of need, identification of solution and building work. The levels allow for requirements and procedures to be developed to suit the type of housing modification.
To supply and install handrails/minor alterations where the identified solution is the most cost effective and is the only option available to assist the person with access into and within the home, or to enable independence with transfers eg.
- Minor modifications up to a value of $500 inc GST
- External rails
- Internal rails
To provide access and safety into and/or around the person's home eg.
- Platform lift
- Door widening
- Easy steps
To provide facilities for the person to carry out essential daily activities required for them to return to/or remain in their home eg.
- Wet area shower
- Alter existing shower/bath
- Kitchen/laundry modifications
To provide additions and/or extensions to the house to ensure that the person can either return to/or remain in their home eg.
- Additional bedrooms
- Ensuite bathrooms
- Through Floor lifts
Note: The assessment team for a Level 4 housing modification must include a Consultant.
5. Registration as a Specialised Housing Assessor
To become a Specialised Housing Assessor, suitably qualified people must complete a registration form and forward this to Enable Information.
The registration forms and registration standards are available from Enable Information.
The Specialised Housing Assessor must notify Enable Information in writing of any change in details eg. address/workplace, employer etc.
Registration may be removed from a Specialised Housing Assessor if an audit shows that the assessment and recommendations are inappropriate, or he/she did not comply with the correct application and documentation process, or when the Specialised Housing Assessor has not maintained their assessment skills within this area of registration.
6. Registration as a Contractor or Consultant
Contractors/Consultants wishing to carry out housing modification work must be approved by, and registered with Enable New Zealand.
Approval and registration as a Contractor/Consultant is undertaken by completing an application form. Enable New Zealand will establish if there is a need for more Contractors/Consultants in the region, and if so review the applicant's portfolio of work and references to ensure the applicant is competent.
The Contractor/Consultant will comply with and be bound by the Enable New Zealand Contract Agreement for services which includes building standards, timeframes, schedules and professional standards.
Contractors who are approved and registered are able to provide quotes on request, and undertake work upon written approval, from Enable New Zealand.
Consultants who are approved and registered are available to provide consulting services upon written approval from Enable New Zealand.
7. Deregistration of Contractors/Consultants
The Contractor/Consultant will be removed from the register if they breach the Enable New Zealand Contract Agreement and for the reasons set out below. Once removed from the register, the Contractor/Consultant may not be considered for any further housing modification work through Enable New Zealand.
Examples where Enable New Zealand will deregister a Contractor/Consultant:
- Failure to act in a professional manner with the Specialised Housing Assessor, the person, their advocates, their family or whanau,
- Failure to ensure that all information relating to the person is kept strictly confidential.
- Failure to undertake all work in a safe manner complying with the relevant Acts, Regulations, Standards and Code of Practices.
- Failure to complete housing modifications within negotiated times and/or acceptable standards.
- Failure to remedy any defects arising from defective materials, workmanship and equipment identified during a contract maintenance period.
- Acts of negligence, whether or not those acts result in injury or loss of property.
- Enable New Zealand will obtain written information from all parties involved identifying issues of concern. This may include an independent assessment.
- Enable New Zealand will contact the identified Contractor/Consultant in writing for clarification/explanation of the identified issues.
- Enable New Zealand will make a decision regarding the status of the Contractor's/Consultant's registration on receipt of all documentation.
- Where no contact is received from the Contractor/Consultant within a specified time, Enable New Zealand may make a decision regarding the Contractor's/Consultant's registration based on the available information and without further reference to the Contractor/Consultant.
- The Contractor/Consultant will be advised in writing of the outcome of any action taken by Enable New Zealand regarding their registration status.
- The decision of Enable New Zealand in respect of any deregistration will be final and binding.
8. Engaging a Consultant
A Consultant (draftsperson/architect) may be engaged to draw up plans and specifications where the Specialised Housing Assessor has identified the needs and possible solutions which are outside their range of skill to develop and sketch.
- This is defined as being outside of the standard housing modification schedules.
The Specialised Housing Assessor must complete the application form and provide a report assessing needs and possible options for changes to the person's environment. The Specialised Housing Assessors will note the need for consultancy input into developing the building solution.
Where the Specialised Housing Assessor notes the need for assistance with a 'standard' modification the Specialised Housing Assessor will need to demonstrate the extenuating circumstances of the case before a Consultant will be engaged ie. issues of possible risk with the proposed housing modification.
Enable New Zealand will consider the request to engage a Consultant and, where approved, engage the services of the Consultant. The Specialised Housing Assessor will receive a copy of the Consultant contract.
The Consultant must not proceed with any work until they have received an approval from Enable New Zealand. Where a Consultant has been engaged to assist with the proposed modifications without Enable New Zealand approval, reimbursement of their costs will not be considered.
The Consultant shall prepare plans and specifications in conjunction with the Specialised Housing Assessor and the person.
9. Preferred Contractor
Enable New Zealand will take into account any recommendations of a preferred Contractor when selecting Contractors to quote. The person, Specialised Housing Assessor or Consultant may recommend a Registered Contractor taking into account:
- ability to meet the person's needs
Enable New Zealand will negotiate with the person who recommended the Contractor where that quote is not acceptable.
10. Audit of Contractors
In addition to random audit checks, Enable New Zealand will identify Contractor's work that requires further investigation when:
- Quotes appear excessive when compared to price indicators ie. recognised prices for similar modifications.
- The Specialised Housing Assessor, Property Owner and/or person raise concerns with Enable New Zealand at the quote, finished cost and/or standard of work of the modifications.
- Other factors are evident that alert Enable New Zealand to warrant an audit of pricing and standard or work.
Enable New Zealand will evaluate cases that warrant further investigation. Where there is an investigation on the quoted price, Enable New Zealand will:
- Check against established costing schedules.
- Compare prices for similar works.
- Consider obtaining a second quote or comparative price from a second contractor and/or independent person.
Where the investigation endorses the price and standard of the works, no further action will be taken.
Should the audit confirm any concerns, Enable New Zealand may take the following steps:
- Discussion/negotiation with the Contractor to re-evaluate the submitted quote.
- Discussion/negotiation with a Contractor as to the standard of the work.
- Formal warning to the Contractor concerning pricing and standards including action that may result in de-registration as a registered Contractor.
11. Approval of Plans and Specifications
The person must take time to examine the plans and specifications of the proposed modifications and approve these when they meet with his/her requirements and reasonable expectations.
The legal owner of the property must approve any modifications to be undertaken and sign the 'Registered Property Owner Approval' form prior to any work commencing. The Property Owner must have the opportunity to examine and approve the plans and specifications of the proposed modifications.
Housing New Zealand Property Owner approval should be sought through the local Housing New Zealand Corporation Case Manager.
12. Incomplete Applications
Where an application has been received at Enable New Zealand, and cannot be processed due to incomplete information, Enable New Zealand will endeavour to contact the Specialised Housing Assessor by telephone, fax or email to discuss and request the missing information.
Where any contact has failed, Enable New Zealand will return the application form to the Specialised Housing Assessor for completion.
13. Incorrect Applications
An application will be returned to the Specialised Housing Assessor where:
- An incorrect application form has been used - the Specialised Housing Assessor will be required to complete the correct application form before resubmitting to Enable New Zealand.
- The correct documentation has not been submitted and/or used - the Specialised Housing Assessor must complete and forward the correct documentation.
- The application for a housing modification has not been signed by a Registered Specialised Housing Assessor, person or Property Owner.
In the following circumstances Enable New Zealand will return the application to the Specialised Housing Assessor who will need to apply for funding from an alternate source.
- An application has been received for housing modifications costing under $200 inc GST.
- An invoice is received for housing modifications costing over $200 inc GST without prior approval from Enable New Zealand.
14. Declined Applications
Where an application for the purchase of housing modifications over $200 has been received at Enable New Zealand and it (or a part of the application) does not meet Ministry of Health eligibility criteria, Enable New Zealand will:
- Discuss the application with the Specialised Housing Assessor, stating the reasons why it does not meet Ministry of Health criteria.
- Notify the person and the Specialised Housing Assessor in writing of the decision and provide review rights.
- Decline the application (or part of the application) for funding.
- Where deemed necessary, Enable New Zealand will initiate the audit process.
15. Progress Payments
Enable New Zealand may consider progress payments for major or staged projects or where there is an unforeseen delay. Only one progress claim per housing modification will be accepted unless approved in writing by Enable New Zealand.
Enable New Zealand will not consider the payment of deposits for materials or equipment required to undertake the modifications.
16. Completion of Work (over $500 inc GST)
Where required by the Building Act 2004 and the Building Amendment Act 2005, the Contractor/Consultant will obtain the necessary Building Consent and Code Compliance Certificate.
On completion and sign off of the housing modification the Contractor/Consultant will forward the Building Consent and Code Compliance Certificate to the Property Owner.
On completion and sign off of the housing modification the Contractor/Consultant will forward the contractor's invoice, the completed Notice of Building Work Completion, and a copy of the Building Consent and Code Compliance Certificate to Enable New Zealand.
Payment may be withheld if all the documentation is not provided with the invoice.
Enable New Zealand will notify the Specialised Housing Assessor and the Nasc service that the work is complete.
The Specialised Housing Assessor will ensure that the provided recommended modifications are meeting the person's needs. This will involve a visit to the person's home to establish that the environmental modification was appropriate. Where the Specialised Housing Assessor identifies further needs for the person, and possible further housing modifications, this issue will be addressed under a new application for funding.
Where there are issues around the Territorial Authority (Building Consent Authority) issuing the Code Compliance Certificate the contractor needs to follow them up in the first instance. If the Contractor/Consultant are unable to resolve the issues, Enable New Zealand will follow them up on their behalf. Payment will be withheld until the issues have been satisfactorily resolved.
17. Payment of Invoices
Invoices are paid on the 20th of the month following receipt.
Invoices that are received after the cut off date for the payment on the 20th are covered by an additional payment run on the 5th of the following month.
All documentation must be completed and received at Enable New Zealand to allow at least ten working days prior to the payment run dates for the processing of the invoice. Payment may only be made following receipt of all necessary documentation.
18. Review of Assessment
The person who is not satisfied with the results of an assessment has the right to seek a second opinion from another Specialised Housing Assessor, or receive from Enable Information the names of Specialised Housing Assessors who could carry out the assessment. Where the person chooses a private assessment service, they will need to fund any costs associated for the assessment. The person may need to contact their local Nasc provider if they cannot identify an appropriate Specialised Housing Assessor.
19. Applications Not Supported by the Specialised Housing Assessor
The person has the right to have their application forwarded to Enable New Zealand with the Specialised Housing Assessor's report noting the rationale for not supporting the application.
Enable New Zealand will consider applications on the recommendation of the Specialised Housing Assessor.
Where the person is not satisfied with the decision made by Enable New Zealand to decline an application, they may apply for a review of decision.
20. Review of Decision
If the person is not satisfied with the decision to decline their application, they have the right to request a review. To request a review, the person will need to provide additional information to Enable New Zealand. Any request to review a decision must be received within 28 days of the decision to decline.
A review of decision will be carried out by the Enable New Zealand management team who will advise the person in writing of the outcome, or progress of the review within 10 working days.
If the person is dissatisfied with the outcome of the review of decision, they may request a second appeal. This should be sent to the Manager of Enable New Zealand. All information relating to the application will be forwarded to the Ministry of Health for a decision.
Enable New Zealand will notify the person of the decision reached by the Ministry of Health.
21. Enable New Zealand Complaint Process
In compliance with the Health and Disability Commissioner (Code of Health and Disability Service's Consumers' Rights) Regulations 1996, any complaint regarding Enable New Zealand staff or process is to be expressed to the Manager of Enable New Zealand, who will investigate the complaint and undertake appropriate action.
The complainant is entitled to access the services of independent advocates provided under the Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994 and the services of the Health and Disability Commissioner in preparing and/or submitting a complaint.
More information on these services can be obtained from the Health and Disability Commissioner at PO Box 1791, Auckland, telephone (09) 373 3556 or fax (09) 373 3557.
The complainant has the right to receive any information held by Enable New Zealand that is, or may be, relevant to the complaint in terms of the Official Information Act.
In accordance with Enable New Zealand's Complaints Procedures, the complaint and any actions that may be taken will be documented. The Enable New Zealand management team will come to a decision regarding the complaint and the complainant will be advised in writing of the outcome or progress within 10 working days.
If the outcome of this decision is not to the satisfaction of the complainant, an appeal may be submitted. The appeal should be sent to Enable New Zealand. The appeal and all information relating to the complaint will be forwarded to the General Manager of Enable New Zealand for a decision.
22. Disputes/ Issues Arising from the Modification Process
Enable New Zealand must be notified of any disputes arising from the housing modification process. Enable New Zealand will investigate and negotiate a resolution with the parties involved.
Where a dispute is with the standard of building work undertaken by the Contractor, Enable New Zealand may halt payment of the invoice until the work is completed in a satisfactory manner. If a Contractor declines to undertake remedial work or fails to complete the work within a reasonable time, Enable New Zealand will employ another Contractor to complete the work. Enable New Zealand will recover any costs associated from the original Contractor. Enable New Zealand will review the Contractor's ongoing registration for housing modification work.
Where Enable New Zealand is satisfied that the issues identified are not substantiated and that it would not be fair or reasonable to withhold payment, the Contractor's invoice will be processed for payment.
23. Specialised Housing Assessors Audit Process
The Specialised Housing Assessor is considered to be an expert in their field, as such the audit process will only be initiated when the Specialised Housing Assessor appears to be making inappropriate recommendations, not following correct procedures, or there are other grounds for an audit to be considered.
Enable New Zealand will contact the Specialised Housing Assessor to discuss the issues before proceeding with the audit. If the issue can be resolved between Enable New Zealand and the Specialised Housing Assessor, no further action will be taken.
Where a full audit needs to be conducted, Enable New Zealand will write to the Specialised Assessor's Employer requesting an audit. All relevant documentation must be enclosed, and a copy will be sent to the Specialised Housing Assessor.
The Employer is to examine the process followed, the assessment and recommendation made by the Specialised Housing Assessor and determine if the relevant standards have been met. The Employer is to notify Enable New Zealand in writing of the result of the audit within 10 working days.
If it is agreed between the Employer and Enable New Zealand that the correct procedure was followed and that the recommendation was appropriate, the Specialised Housing Assessor will be advised of this in writing by Enable New Zealand. No further action will be taken.
If it is considered that the Specialised Housing Assessor did not comply with the correct procedure or made an inappropriate recommendation, the appropriate office of the Ministry of Health (Wellington/ Hamilton or South) will be notified of the Specialised Housing Assessor's actions.The Ministry of Health may seek the advice of a relevant professional group, who will make the final decision regarding the withdrawal of registration, the period of withdrawal and future registration. The Ministry of Health will notify Enable New Zealand and the Specialised Housing Assessor's employer of any change to the assessor's registration status.