Disability Assistance

Help when living with a disability

Help when living with a disability

If you or someone you’re caring for has a disability, we may be able to provide extra assistance.

If you wish to apply for any of these types of assistance, it’s important that you contact us as soon as possible.

We can grant you financial assistance from the date you first contact us, if you complete your application within 20 working days of that date.

Disability Allowance

The Disability Allowance is for people who have a disability and need help with everyday tasks or ongoing medical care. It helps with things like regular visits to the doctor or hospital, pharmaceuticals, medical alarms, extra clothing or travel if these arise from your disability.

You can get a Disability Allowance on its own or with:

  • a main benefit (like Supported Living Payment)
  • New Zealand Superannuation or a Veteran’s Pension.

You can apply on behalf of a child if they’re aged 18 years or under and financially dependent on you.

To qualify, you must:

  • be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, who normally lives here and
  • have a disability that is likely to last at least six months and
  • need ongoing help or ongoing medical care.

If you’re on a benefit, you’ll usually qualify for a Disability Allowance.

If you’re not on a benefit, or are getting New Zealand Superannuation or the Veteran’s Pension, your and your partner’s income must be under a certain limit as shown in the following table.

If you're...
Your weekly income before tax must be under
Single aged 16–17 years with no children
Single aged 18 years or over with no dependent children
Married, civil union or de facto couple with or without children
Sole parent with one dependent child
Any other sole parent $762.26

Rates as at 1 April 2015

The Disability Allowance is usually paid straight into your bank account with your main benefit or pension (or weekly if you don’t get any other assistanceff). The amount you get depends on the extra costs you have because of your disability, up to a certain amount, and it’s not taxed.

The Disability Allowance can help pay for a number of things – as long as your doctor tells us you need them because of your disability. Over the page are some of the things we may be able to help with, and the sorts of proof we need to see – so keep all your receipts.

Here are some of the extra costs we may be able to help with… We’ll need to see…
Doctor’s, specialist’s and hospital fees that aren’t already subsidised Receipts or invoices showing the date, cost and reason for your visit
Prescription fees Receipts or print-outs from your chemist showing the date, cost, the item you received and whether it’s subsidised
Travel to your doctor, specialist, hospital or counsellor Tickets or receipts showing the date, cost and how you travelled (if you travelled in your own car, we need to know the cc rating of your car and how far you travelled)
Heating Your summer and winter electricity bills
Medical alarm rental and monitoring

The Disability Allowance – Assessment for Medical Alarm form completed by a doctor, and the contract or receipt for the installation/ rental of the medical alarm.

For more information ask us for our Disability Allowance Medical Alarm factsheet or visit our website

Remember – when your Disability Allowance is reviewed, we need to see proof of any costs that have increased or are new. Ask us for a Disability Allowance file to keep your receipts in.

Special Disability Allowance

The Special Disability Allowance may help with the costs of visiting your partner if they’re in hospital (for at least 13 weeks) or getting the Residential Care Subsidy. You must be on a benefit or pension to get this allowance of $38.48 a week as at 1 April 2015), which is paid with your benefit or pension.

Modification Grant

We also have the Modification Grant for people with disabilities that helps with the costs of special equipment you may need at work, or changes to your workplace so it’s easier for you to work. To get the Modification Grant you must have a disability that’s likely to last at least six months.

Child Disability Allowance

The Child Disability Allowance is paid to the main caregiver of a child or young person with a serious disability in recognition of the extra care needed for that child.

To qualify, you must be:

  • a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, who normally lives here and • the main caregiver of a child or
  • have care and control of the child for the time being if there is no main caregiver. Also, the child must:
  • have a serious physical or intellectual disability and
  • be aged under 18 years and
  • need constant care and attention for at least 12 months because of their disability.

You may be able to get both the Disability Allowance and the Child Disability Allowance for the same child. But you can’t get this allowance if the child already gets a benefit (except for the Orphan’s or Unsupported Child’s Benefit). If the child is aged 16 years or over, they may be able to get Supported Living Payment.

The Child Disability Allowance is $46.49 a week (as at 1 April 2015) for each child who qualifies. This is a set amount and doesn’t depend on your income or costs. This allowance is paid into your bank account every two weeks and is paid separately from any other assistance you may get.

In most cases, it won’t affect any other assistance you may get from us.

Tell us about changes

It ‘s important you tell us about any changes that may affect your payments, for example, to your income or relationship.

For the Child Disability Allowance we also need to know if the child leaves your care or goes into hospital.


To apply for any of these types of assistance, it’s important that you contact us as soon as possible, as this will affect the date payments can start from.

If you’re applying for the Disability Allowance and the Child Disability Allowance, your doctor must fill in part of the application form. You’ll need to bring this when you meet with us.

Try to make sure you bring everything you need to your meeting. However, if you don’t have all of the information available, it’s important that you still meet with us.