What assistance is available to help with costs related to having a disability?
You might be eligible for a Disability Allowance from Work and Income if you have a disability that is going to last at least six months and have regular, on-going costs which are not covered by another agency such as ACC.
Your income and that of your partner will be factored into how much you can get. If you’re already on a benefit you will probably qualify for the Disability Allowance. This is a weekly payment to help you with costs associated with your disability, for example:
- doctor’s, specialist’s and hospital fees which aren’t already subsidised
- travel to see the doctor, specialist, hospital or counsellor
- heating your home
- prescription fees
- medical alarm
If you’re abled-bodied and are looking after a child (aged 18 years or under) with a disability, you can apply for the Disability Allowance on the child’s behalf. More about financial assistance for carers is elsewhere on this page.
The Modification Grant is available to people with a disability which is likely to last at least six months, and who need help with the costs of special equipment that will allow them to remain in work, or get work - for example ramps and handrails and visual aids.
If your disability makes it difficult for you to get in and out of or around your home, the Ministry of Health might be able to help fund modifications to your home.
If you were hurt in an accident you might qualify for compensation from ACC. See the next question.
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I had an accident and am now off work long-term. What help am I entitled to?
You may be entitled to ACC assistance, including:
- rehabilitation services to help restore your health, independence and participation in life to the maximum extent practicable. This includes medical treatment, social rehabilitation, and work rehabilitation. If your injury stops you working, ACC will help you put together an individual rehabilitation plan so that you can set goals around getting your life back together.
- weekly compensation for up to 80% of your income.
- a lump sum payment if you have become permanently disabled
- support for your family
For more information on injury support, see our ACC page or the ACC website.
You could be eligible for one of the following WINZ benefits:
- The Jobseeker Support benefit. If you are sick, injured or disabled and have to temporarily reduce your work hours or stop work all together as a result, you may be entitled to the JobSeeker Support benefit (even if you have a job to go back to).
- The Supported Living Payment. You may be eligible to receive the Supported Living benefit if you are severely limited in your ability to work on a permanent basis because you are sick, injured or disabled.
- A disability allowance
Note that there are conditions and obligations associated with receiving a benefit.
For more information on how Work and Income may be able to help you if you're temporarily unable to work due to sickness or injury, see their webpage on assistance for disability or illness or contact them on 0800 559 009.
If you are receiving ACC payments you will need to tell Work and Income about this.
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What assistance is available to someone caring for a person with a disability?
If you are providing full-time care at home, to an adult who would otherwise need hospital or rest home care or similar, you may be eligible for a Supported Living Payment to support you in that role.
You may also be eligible for publicly-funded home support.
If you are caring for someone aged under 18 years who has a disability you may be entitled to the Child Disability Allowance. This is paid to the main caregiver of a child (aged under 18 years) who has a serious physical or intellectual disability, and who needs constant care and attention for at least 12 months due to the disability.
The Special Disability Allowance helps with the cost of visiting a partner in hospital (if they will be in hospital for at least 13 weeks).
More information about the above allowances and grants is on the WINZ page on caring for someone with a disability. Note that there are conditions and obligations associated with receiving most benefits.
You can contact Work and Income to discuss your situation on 0800 559 009. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can also help you with working out what you might be eligible for, or help you complete your application form.
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I have a disability and need help finding work. Who can help?
Workbridge is a non-profit, agency committed to helping find work for people with a disability, injury or illness which is likely to last more than six months. Their service is free. Workbridge can help you:
- figure out what kind of work you want to do,
- find work experience which fits with your employment goals,
- write your CV, and
- learn how to apply for jobs and do job interviews.
They may be able to arrange for financial assistance to help you with training or work. To see how Workbridge can help, you can see their website or call them on 0508 858 858.
Work and Income may also be able to help. You can also visit our Finding work pages.