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Communtity Law Manual | Disability rights | Benefits and compensation: What you’re entitled to from Work and Income and ACC

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, see the chapter “Dealing with Work and Income”, under “Types of benefits”. See also the section of that chapter called “Challenging Work and Income decisions: Reviews and appeals”.

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.

You’ll also automatically qualify for the Supported Living Payment if you’re totally blind and you’re 16 or older.

If Work and Income refuse to grant you this 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”.

Help with ongoing disability costs: The Disability Allowance

Social Security Act 2018 ss 84–89

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 extent 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.

The Disability Allowance is income-tested, with the income threshold varying depending on the size of your household. 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 the section of that chapter called “Challenging Work and Income decisions: Reviews and appeals”.

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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