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Health & disability

Benefits and compensation: What you’re entitled to from Work and Income and ACC

Work and Income benefits

You can get the Supported Living Payment if you’re 16 or older and your ability to work is permanently and severely restricted because of an illness, injury or disability. You may also be able to get additional payments for ongoing disability costs.

In this section we summarise those benefits and allowances. For more detailed information about benefits, see: “Dealing with Work and Income”.

Main benefit for disabled people: Supported Living Payment

Social Security Act 2018, ss 34–37,

You can get the Supported Living Payment if you’re 16 or older and you’re permanently and severely restricted in your ability to work because of an illness, injury or disability.

You must be unable to regularly work more than 15 hours a week, and this incapacity must be expected to continue for at least two years. A doctor will need to assess you and certify that you qualify.

For an overview of the Supported Living Payment rates, go to workandincome.govt.nz and search “Supported living payment”.

If Work and Income refuse to grant you the Supported Living Payment benefit on medical grounds, you can apply for a review by a Medical Appeal Board. If you’re refused on the basis that your income is too high, you can apply for a review by a Benefit Review Committee (see: “Challenging Work and Income decisions: Reviews and appeals”)

Supported Living Payment for totally blind people

Social Security Act 2018, Schedule 4, part 3, clauses 2-4

You’ll also automatically qualify for the Supported Living Payment if you’re totally blind and you’re 16 or older. If you’re in employment as well, you’ll be entitled to an additional allowance (up to 25% of your income) on top of the Supported Living Payment. The amount of additional allowance you get depends on your income.

Help with ongoing disability costs: The Disability Allowance

Social Security Act 2018 ss 84–89, schedule 8, clause 44

The Disability Allowance pays you back for the costs of goods and services that directly help you with an ongoing health issue. To qualify, you must have an impairment that:

  • is likely to continue for at least six months, and
  • has reduced your independent functioning to the point that you need ongoing support for the normal functions of life or need ongoing supervision or treatment by a health professional.

The Disability Allowance is usually granted for doctor visits, prescriptions, alternative treatments (for example, physiotherapy and acupuncture) and special foods. You’ll need to provide Work and Income with invoices, quotes or receipts, so it’s a good idea to save them before you apply. For more information about what costs you can claim for, see: “You’ve got a serious illness, injury or disability”.

The allowance is paid as a weekly amount, up to a maximum. If your actual costs are more than the maximum, the difference can be covered by another benefit called Temporary Additional Support.

Decisions about whether particular costs can be claimed can be appealed to a Benefit Review Committee (see: “Challenging Work and Income decisions: Reviews and appeals”)

Who can get the Disability Allowance?

The Disability Allowance is income-tested, which means that you can only receive the Disability Allowance if your income is under a certain amount. The income threshold depends on the size of your household.

However, there is no income limit if you’re totally blind. As well, if you’re considered “severely disabled” by Work and Income then they can choose not to apply the income limit. This is called the “income exemption”.

To determine severe disability for the purposes of the income exemption, Work and Income will look at how your disability affects:

  • your participation in employment
  • how you can look after yourself
  • how you can participate in the community.

The question is whether you’re extremely limited in doing those things. Importantly, there is no standard medical assessment so it’s up to Work and Income. Your case manager should look at all the available information about you, including anything you share with them about your disability.

For more information on the Disability Allowance including the income limits, go to workandincome.govt.nz and search “Disability allowance”.

Help with children’s ongoing disability costs: The Child Disability Allowance

Social Security Act 2018, ss 79–83

The Child Disability Allowance is paid to a caregiver for a child who has a physical or mental impairment and therefore needs constant care and attention. The impairment must be permanent or likely to last for more than a year. You’ll need to get confirmation from a doctor that you qualify for the allowance.

You may also be able to get the Disability Allowance for the child (see above).

The Child Disability Allowance isn’t income-tested, and so even people on very high incomes can get it.

If Work and Income refuse you a Child Disability Allowance, you can appeal to a Medical Appeal Board.

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Disability rights

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Auckland Disability Law (ADL) provides free legal services to disabled people associated with their disability related legal issues. ADL is the only specialist disability law community law centre in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Website: www.aucklanddisabilitylaw.org.nz/
Email: info@adl.org.nz
Phone:  09 257 5140
Text only: 027 457 5140

Disabled Persons Assembly

DPA is a pan-disability organisation run by and for disabled people. DPA and its members work with the wider disability community, other disabled persons’ organisations, government agencies, service providers, international disability organisations and the public.

Website: www.dpa.org.nz
Email: info@adl.org.nz
Phone:  04 801 9100
Facebook: www.facebook.com/dpa.nz.7

Nationwide Health & Disability Advocacy Service

The Nationwide Health & Disability Advocacy Service offers free, independent, and confidential advice to support you in resolving issues with health and disability services.

Website: www.advocacy.org.nz
Email: advocacy@advocacy.org.nz
Phone:  0800 555 050

Le Va

Le Va is working with Manatū Hauora/Ministry of Health to support Pasifika people with disabilities and their families.

Website: www.leva.co.nz/our-work/disability-support
Email: admin@leva.co.nz
Phone:  09 261 4390
Instagram: www.instagram.com/Levapasifika
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/LeVaPasifika

Te Rōpū Taurima

Te Rōpū Taurima is a kaupapa Māori service that supports people of all ethnicities with intellectual impairments around New Zealand.

Website: www.terooputaurima.org.nz
Email: info@terooputaurima.org.nz

People First New Zealand

People First New Zealand is a self-advocacy organisation that is led and directed by people with learning disabilities.

Website: www.peoplefirst.org.nz
Email: ask@peoplefirst.org.nz
Phone:  0800 20 60 70

Deaf Aotearoa

Deaf Aotearoa is a national organisation representing the voice of Deaf people, and the national service provider for Deaf people in New Zealand.

Website: www.deaf.org.nz
Email: hello@deaf.org.nz
Phone:  0800 33 23 22
Freetext:  8223
Instagram: www.instagram.com/DeafAotearoa
Facebook: www.facebook.com/deafaotearoanz

Blind Low Vision NZ (previously called Blind Foundation)

Blind Low Vision NZ is New Zealand’s main provider of support to New Zealanders who are blind or have low vision.

Website: www.blindlowvision.org.nz
Email: generalenquiries@blindlowvision.org.nz
Phone:  0800 24 33 33
Instagram: www.instagram.com/BlindLowVisionNZ
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/BlindLowVisionNZ

Sign Language video about the courts and justice



Achieve is a national network established to ensure equal opportunity and access to post-secondary education and training for people with impairments.

Website: www.achieve.org.nz
Email: info@achieve.org.nz
Phone:  03 479 8235

Inclusive Education

Inclusive Education provides New Zealand educators with practical strategies, suggestions and resources to support the diverse needs of all learners.

Website: www.inclusive.tki.org.nz
Email: inclusive@tki.org.nz

Government Agencies

Whaikaha/Ministry for Disabled

Whaikaha is the Ministry for Disabled People. On the website, it contains information about how to access support and funding and has a directory of advisory services.

Website: www.whaikaha.govt.nz
Email: contact@whaikaha.govt.nz
Phone:  0800 566 601
Text: 4206
Communication can also be made through NZ Relay Calls

Health and Disability Commissioner

The Health and Disability Commissioner website sets out your rights under the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights and how you can make a complaint to the Commissioner.

Website: www.hdc.org.nz
Email: hdc@hdc.org.nz
Phone:  0800 11 22 33

To make a complaint online: www.hdc.org.nz/making-a-complaint/make-a-complaint-to-hdc

Office for Disabled

The Office for Disabled is administered by a small team from Whaikaha, and works closely with government agencies and the disability sector to make the best decisions for disabled people.

Website: www.odi.govt.nz
Email: office_for_disability_issues@whaikaha.govt.nz
Phone:  0800 566 601

Ministry of Health Services and Support

Website: www.health.govt.nz/your-health/services-and-support

Te Kāhui Tika Tangata/Human Rights Commission

The Human Rights Commission website provides information about human rights in Aotearoa and outlines how you can make a complaint to the Commission about individual or systemic disability discrimination.

Website: www.tikatangata.org.nz/ or www.hrc.co.nz
Email: infoline@hrc.co.nz
Phone:  0800 496 877 (0800 4 YOUR RIGHTS)

To make a complaint online, download a complaint form or find out more about the complaints process: www.tikatangata.org.nz/resources-and-support/make-a-complaint

Privacy Commissioner

The Privacy Commissioner website provides information about your rights and responsibilities under the Privacy Act 2020 and the Privacy Principles. It also outlines the role of the Privacy Commissioner and how to make a privacy complaint.

Website: www.privacy.org.nz
Email: enquiries@privacy.org.nz
Phone:  0800 803 909

To make a complaint: www.privacy.org.nz/your-rights/making-a-complaint

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