Where can I look for support under the new disability system?5 min read

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To properly take advantage of the new disability support system you need to be informed.

Mana Whaikaha, which has been in place in the MidCentral region of the North Island since October 1, 2018, intends to give disabled people and their whānau power in their lives, and control over the support available to them.

But to do this you need to know who you can turn to with questions on the day-to-day realities of this new system. Here’s our introduction:

The new disability support system is called Mana Whaikaha.The new disability support system aims to give disabled people and their whānau more control of their lives.

Who are Connectors?

Connectors are one of the closest allies that disabled people and their whānau have under Mana Whaikaha. Their purpose is to help you steer through the new system, and provide guidance on some of its more technical and time-consuming aspects.

Connectors are among the closest allies that disabled people and their whānau have in the new system.

Examples of the roles Connectors can play in helping with disability support include:

  • Deciding what’s important: Connectors will work with you to establish your priorities in terms of goals and how to get there.
  • Finding opportunitiesDiscovering community initiatives and supports that will be useful to you.
  • Empowering you: As well as looking at what options are there to help you, Connectors can help identify areas where you can contribute to the area where you live.
  • Communicating with government agencies: Your Connector will assist you in using the supports provided by government agencies.
  • Making funding applications: One of the most important Connector roles is helping with funding applications. However, it’s important to realise that they don’t have decision-making powers in terms of the final amount of support money you ‘re given.

Crucially, Connectors are there to work with you, and they will understand that only you know what’s most important, and what’s standing in your way. This means they won’t make decisions for you, but rather offer guidance based on what you tell them. Connectors also won’t get involved in family issues, act as your support worker, or simply exist to be your friend.

Connectors have a wide variety of roles under Mana Whaikaha.Connectors can help you with paperwork, and funding applications.

How can you find a Connector?

As your Connector will be your primary point of contact with the Mana Whaikaha system, choosing who this person will be is an important decision. When deciding on a Connector, you have three options:

1. A Mana Whaikaha Connector:  Mana Whaikaha has its own Connectors that you can work with.

2. Someone you know: Your Connector doesn’t have to be a professional working in the disability sector, so you can choose a trusted friend or family member. However, they will need to pass a confirmation process before starting work to ensure they understand their role, and can stick to the principles of the new system.

3. An alternative service: You can choose to work with any organisation or person you choose to but they may not be paid for this work. One such possibility is CCS Disability Action. We can offer support similar to the official connector service  that is both free of charge and designed to put you at the forefront of making decisions about your life.

Connectors are there to work with you, empowering you to make decisions about your life.Connectors will work with disabled people and their whānau to establish their priorities and how to overcome obstacles.

Where else can you get information about Mana Whaikaha?

It’s important to realise that you can participate in the Mana Whaikaha system without a Connector, if this idea doesn’t appeal to you. However, it’s still advisable to seek advice from knowledgeable sources on how you can maximise the available benefits.

At CCS Disability Action we have been providing support and advocacy services to the disabled community in New Zealand for over 80 years. We have a reputation for taking a partnership approach to our work, and seek to promote better outcomes in areas such as education, employment and mobility parking, as well as important transitions including moving into your own accommodation.

Under Mana Whaikaha we can provide services ranging from answering questions and helping you employ support staff, to fully managing your budget on your behalf. Rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach, we tailor our services to each individual to establish how we can best work towards your requirements in the way you’re most comfortable with.

For more information on how CCS Disability Action can help you, or if you’re interested in our Connector Service, get in touch with our team today.