If your child has a disability you may be eligible for financial support to help you cover any additional expenses.
This may come from Work and Income, ACC (if the disability is the result of an accidental injury), through health cards, from the Lottery Grants boards or through the mental health teams of district health boards.
Your health professional, social worker or Needs Assessment Service Co-ordinator (NASC) Service should be able to advise you on what help you’re eligible for.
These are some of the benefits you may be eligible for:
- Child Disability Allowance – This is available to parents of a child with a serious disability. It covers the extra care that may be needed by a child who has a physical, sensory, psychiatric or intellectual disability. The allowance is non-taxable and non-means tested. You must be a New Zealand resident to qualify and to apply you must complete a Child Disability Allowance application form (PDF). Your doctor should complete the medical section.
- Childcare Subsidy – This helps families pay for Early Childhood services for their young children. If you already receive the Child Disability Allowance you can also receive childcare subsidy until your child reaches the age of six. You may be eligible for up to 50 hours a week, depending on your income. The requirement for both parents to be working is waived when a family is receiving Child Disability Allowance. Phone Work and Income on 0800 559 009 for more information or go to the relevant pages on their website.
- OSCAR Subsidy - This helps families pay for after school and holiday programmes. You can receive OSCAR subsidy for children aged between 5 and 13 (or up to 18 if your child receives a Child Disability Allowance). You may be eligible for up to 20 hours during term time and 50 hours during holidays if you are in training or if your family has ill health or disability issues. Contact Work and Income on 0800 559 009 for more information or go to the relevant pages on their website.
- Community Services Card – This card allows you to get discounts on doctor’s fees and prescriptions. If you haven’t already received one call Work and Income on 0800 999 999, check their website, or download the application form (PDF).
- Disability Allowance – You can receive this in addition to the Child Disability Allowance. It covers regular costs associated with having a disability that is expected to last six months or longer. The allowance is non-taxable, means tested and there is a limit to how much you can claim per week. Your doctor will need to sign the application form and you must submit receipts for your ongoing costs with your application and every year after. Ask your healthcare worker for a form or you can also call Work and Income on 0800 999 999 or visit their website for more information.
- Mobility Parking Permit Scheme – You may be eligible to apply for this scheme which provides people with mobility parking spaces. Information and application forms can be found on the CCS website, alternatively you can contact your local CCS branch - call them free on 0800 559 009.
- Other work and income assistance – You may be eligible for other financial assistance from Work and Income. Call 0800 559 009 to discuss your individual circumstances.
- Travel & Accommodation costs – You may be eligible to claim for many of the costs you incur while attending treatment for your child under the National Travel Assistance Scheme. The Ministry of Health produce a useful pamphlet (PDF). You can find out more on the MoH website or call the Ministry of Health’s travel assistance helpline on 0800 281 222 (press 2).
- Grants - These are available from a range of organisations such as The New Zealand Lotteries Commission, Halberg Trust and the Variety Club, for vehicle modifications, sporting activities or specialised equipment. For more information on your options contact your needs assessment facilitator or health professional.
- Carer support and Respite care - Carer support is money paid to an informal carer of your choice to give a number of days of relief care each year. In some cases respite care is needed where a facitlity provides respite for your child. This needs to be assessed through a NASC (Needs Assessment and Services Co-ordination) Service. Ask your social worker for assistance or call HealthPAC, the Ministry of Health’s helpline on 0800 281 222 (press 2)
- Spectacles subsidy - Children with vision problems may be eligible to get help towards the cost of their glasses. If your child has a current Community Services Card or a High Use Health card and is aged 15 or under they can receive the subsidy. For more information contact Enable New Zealand on 0800 171 981 or visit the Ministry of Health website
- Total Mobility Scheme - This scheme offers discounts on taxi fares and is provided by local and regional councils. You can find out more on thier individual websites.
- Government subsidies are also available for equipment, housing modifications and modified vehicles but the criteria is very strict and complex. They are administered by:
Enable New Zealand also provide disability funding information and latest updates on their website.