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 don't have to be on a benefit to qualify for this help.
  • You'll have to pay the money back.
  • You don't have to get a quote before you see us.
  • Who can get it

    You may get help if you:

    • are 16 or over (if you're 16-19 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:

    Income limits

    If you are: Weekly income before tax is less than Weekly income limit (before tax) from 1 November 2021 until 30 June 2022
    single, 16-17 years $514.41 $678.07
    single, 18+ years $591.20 $847.59
    married, civil union or de facto couple (with or without children) $858.72 $1695.18
    sole parent (1 child) $717.40 $1165.44
    sole parent (2+ children) $755.82 $1483.29

    Asset limits

    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 $1,193.21
    married, civil union or de facto couple (with or without children) or sole parent $1,988.20
  • What you can get

    We can pay $280 for:

    • an eye test
    • lenses, including:
      • single vision
      • bifocals, or
      • standard progressives
    • frames
    • prescription sunglasses, if they're part of an in-store special that includes glasses and sunglasses for under $280
    • a fitting service
    • repairs
    • a cleaning cloth and case
    • a 2 year warranty on defective parts.

    You'll have to pay this money back.

    What's not included

    We don't pay for:

    • high end, expensive frames
    • extras you may want, eg tinting
    • lens coatings or glasses specifically for Irlen Syndrome.

    You also can't 'top up' or 'up-grade' with your own money so you can obtain costlier items or extras.

  • How to apply

    You need to call us.

    We'll talk with you to understand your situation and how we can help. We'll let you know what information you need to provide and how to get this to us.

    Choose a supplier

    We'll ask you what supplier you want to use. We have an arrangement with certain optometrists and opticians to provide optical services.

    Here's a list of our preferred suppliers for glasses in your area. You can choose which one to go to.

    If there's no preferred supplier in your area, we may still be able to help. Talk to us about your situation.

  • What happens next

    Step 1 - We'll give you a payment card

    If your application's approved, we'll give you a payment card (if you don't already have one) and load the money onto it. We'll talk to you about the best way to get this to you.

    You'll pay the supplier with your payment card (much like an Eftpos card). You have 21 days to spend the money before it expires.

    Step 2 - Book an appointment with the supplier

    You need to book an appointment with the optometrist or optician that you've chosen. Take your payment card to the appointment.

    They'll give you an eye examination and then advise you what you'll need. Use your payment card to pay for the frames you choose.

    Assessed as having high clinical needs

    We may be able to pay more than $280 if the optometrist or optician assesses you as having high clinical needs. If this happens, you need to get evidence of the amount you need to pay and call us.

  • Repairs

    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.