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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 www.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. For information about challenging decisions by Work and Income, go to the section of that chapter called “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, go to “You’ve got a serious illness, injury or disability in the chapter Work and Income.

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. For information about challenging decisions by Work and Income, go to “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 www.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

COVID-19 information


The Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) has up-to-date COVID-19 information for the disabled community on their website. They also post new information on their Facebook page and their Information Exchange newsletter. You can sign up by going to the website linked above. For more information about DPA, see below.

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and information.

Auckland Disability Law



ADL provides assistance and referrals to disabled people on their legal issues, and work with other Community Law Centres, legal professionals and community organisations to raise disability awareness and achieve the best outcome for disabled people.

Office for Disability Issues


The Office for Disability Issues is the focal point in government on disability issues.

Human Rights Commission


This page on the HRC website focuses on the Commission’s work around both individual and systemic disability discrimination. There are resources available in multiple accessible formats.

Health and Disability Commissioner


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

The Health and Disability Commissioner has a range of pamphlets and other information on health and disability issues.

Contact a Health and Disability Advocate

Phone: 0800 555 050

Make a complaint to the Commissioner

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

PO Box 1791, Auckland

You can make a complaint by phoning the Commissioner’s office toll-free, by email, by filling in the online complaint form or by writing to them.

Ministry of Health Services and Support


Publicly funded health and disability services available in New Zealand.

Disabled Persons Assembly


The DPA is a pan-disability organisation. DPA works to improve social indicators for disabled people and for disabled people be recognised as valued members of society. DPA and its members work with the wider disability community, other disabled persons’ organisations, government agencies, service providers, international disability organisations and the public.

People First


People First New Zealand is a self-advocacy organisation that is led and directed by people with learning (intellectual) disability. People First has a free Disability Information and Advice Service and they also produce legal resources in Easy Read form which are free to download from their website.

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.

Deaf Aotearoa also works closely with Deaf communities, government agencies and other organisations to increase awareness, promote New Zealand Sign Language and strengthen the rights of Deaf people.

Family Violence – It’s Not OK


Phone: 0800 456 450

“It’s not OK” is a community-driven behaviour change campaign to reduce family violence in New Zealand. Its goal is to change attitudes and behaviour that tolerate any kind of family violence. The website has resources for families who are experiencing abuse. It’s not OK is an initiative housed within the Ministry of Social Development.

Family violence and disabled people


Inclusive Education


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

Attitude Toolbox: The Whole Truth about Courts and Justice


This accessible video has information about the New Zealand justice system and courts. The video is presented in New Zealand Sign Language and fully subtitled in English.

New Zealand Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal


This Tribunal hears and determines disciplinary proceedings brought against health practitioners.

Public Trust


Public Trust is New Zealand’s largest provider of Wills and estate administration services.

Te Rōpū Taurima


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

Le Va


Le Va supports Pasifika families and communities to unleash their full potential and have the best possible health and wellbeing outcomes.

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.



Phone: 0800 24 33 33

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

Privacy Commissioner


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

You can download the pamphlet “Your Health Information: Know Your Privacy Rights” from the Privacy Commissioner’s website, at: www.privacy.org.nz

You can also download a copy of the Health Information Privacy Code from: www.privacy.org.nz/the-privacy-act-and-codes/codes-of-practice/health-information-privacy-code-1994

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