If you’re on a low income or benefit we may be able to help you with the cost of eye tests and glasses.
- You need to come in and see us first before going to the optometrist or optician.
- You don't have to be on a benefit to qualify for this help.
- You'll have to pay the money back.
Who can get it
You may get help if you:
- are 16 or over (if you're 16-18 and have a Youth Service provider, contact Youth Services)
- are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
- normally live in New Zealand and intend to stay here
- have an immediate and essential need.
It also depends on:
- how much you and your partner earn
- any money or assets you and your partner have.
Your income will be assessed either weekly or yearly, depending on the kind of help you qualify for. These income and asset limits usually apply:
If you are: Weekly income before tax is less than Annual income before tax is less than single, 16-17 years $480.03 $24,961.56 single, 18+ years $551.70 $28,688.40 married, civil union or de facto couple (with or without children) $801.31 $41,668.12 sole parent (1 child) $669.46 $34,811.92 sole parent (2+ children) $705.31 $36,676.12
These don’t include what you need for day-to-day living, eg your home or your car. They do include money in the bank, or things like a caravan or a second property.
If you are: Your assets are worth less than single $1,050.92 married, civil union or de facto couple (with or without children) or sole parent $1,751.13
What you can get
We can pay $249 for:
- an eye test
- lenses, including single vision, bifocals or standard progressives
- frames (there are plenty of options to choose from)
- a fitting service
- a cleaning cloth and case
- a 2 year warranty on defective parts.
You'll have to pay this money back.
We have an arrangement with certain optometrists and opticians to provide optical services. We'll provide you with a list of approved suppliers in your area so you can choose which one to go to.
Here's a list of our preferred suppliers for glasses in your region.
If there is no preferred supplier in your area, we may still be able to help. Talk to us about your situation.
High clinical needs
We may be able to pay more than $249 if the optometrist or optician assesses you as having high clinical needs.
We do not cover the cost of lens coatings or glasses specifically for Irlen Syndrome.
How to apply
Use MyMSD to book an appointment to come in and see us. It will tell you what you need to bring.
If you have an urgent cost to pay within 24 hours, call us on 0800 559 009. We'll book you an appointment to come in and see us as soon as possible and tell you what you need to bring.
What happens next
If your application is approved, we'll give you a payment card (if you don't already have one) and load the money onto it.
You'll pay the supplier with your payment card (much like an Eftpos card) and you have 21 days to spend the money before it expires.
Book an appointment with the supplier
You need to book an appointment with the optometrist or optician that you've chosen. Tell them that you're a Work and Income client and take your payment card to the appointment.
They'll give you an eye examination and then advise you what you'll need.
You will have a wide variety of frames to choose from within the selected range. The inclusive price doesn't include high end, more expensive frames or extras you may want. You can't 'top up' or 'up-grade' with your own money so you can obtain costlier items or extras.
If you're assessed as having high clinical needs
The optometrist or optician will give you a quote for the amount that you need to pay.
Call us to book another appointment to come in and see us and make sure you bring the quote with you. We can load the additional money onto your payment card at your appointment.
Your glasses are covered by a 2 year warranty. If they're faulty, contact the optometrist or optician and they will exchange or repair them.
If you break your glasses, the optometrist or optician won’t replace them or refund money to you. If you need another pair of glasses you'll need to apply for hardship assistance again.