There is a range of equipment and aids available to support you with communication or daily tasks. Find out about funding for equipment like hearing aids, medical alarms, glasses, and making changes to your home or place of work.
Types of equipment and aids
Here are some examples of equipment and aids.
General and low-cost
- Equipment available to loan or buy: Depending on your situation, you may be able to get general equipment on loan free of charge, for as long as you need it. Equipment that can be loaned include wheelchairs, visual or vibrating alert systems and adjustable beds.
- Low-cost equipment: This is any item that costs less than $50 and can support you to do everyday tasks safely and independently. For example, special cutlery or reachers. There are many places you can buy low-cost equipment either online or in stores.
Hearing, vision and communication
- Children's spectacle subsidy: If your child is 15 years old or under and has vision problems, you may be able to get the spectacle subsidy. There are clinical guidelines your child will need to meet to be eligible for funding. You may receive a subsidy each year for your child until they turn 16 years.
- Cochlear implants: A cochlear implant provides a sense of sound for people who are severely hard of hearing or profoundly deaf. Around 166 cochlear implants are provided each year through the Ministry's cochlear implant programme.
- Communication Assistive Technology (CAT) through TalkLink external URL : CAT includes equipment ranging from simple picture boards to complex communication software and devices. It can be used to replace or augment a person's speech. Funding is available for assessment, trial, equipment, and support to enable a person to communicate and participate in daily life, including tertiary study and work. Find out more through our provider TalkLink.
- Hearing aid services: Equipment like hearing aids can help people who are hard of hearing to live well and communicate with others. If you have hearing loss you may be able to get funding towards your hearing aids. For school-aged children the Ministry of Education may be able to fund a remote microphone (RM) hearing system. Find out more about equipment for children who are Deaf or have hearing loss or get support with hearing loss equipment costs
Health and medical
- Medical alarm support through Work and Income external URL : You can get a Disability Allowance for medical alarms through Work and Income. There are several MSD-accredited medical alarm suppliers that have agreed service standards and charges. This allowance also covers MedicAlert bracelet membership fees, but you must pay for the initial enrolment fee and a bracelet/pendant.
Home and vehicle modifications
- Modifying your vehicle: If you have difficulty getting in or out of a vehicle or driving and meet specific criteria, you may be eligible for funding for modifications to a vehicle. In some situations, funding towards a one-off purchase of a vehicle to be modified may also be considered.
- Modifying your home: People with disabilities may be able to get funding to make changes to their home. These changes can support you with daily tasks or make it easier to access and move around your home. Modifications might include rails, lifts, ramps or a level-access shower.
Getting equipment and aids
An Equipment and Modification Service (EMS) qualified assessor can work with you on what equipment and aids best suit your needs. They will also help you work out the most cost-effective option and if you can get funding.
EMS assessors can be occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech-language therapists or other hearing and vision professionals. Some assessors have additional qualifications in communication, seating and wheelchairs, housing or vehicle assessors.
Your doctor can refer you to an EMS assessor or you can refer yourself to your local hospital community health services.
The following services can also connect you with an EMS qualified assessor:
- Enabling Good Lives external URL
- Needs Assessment Services
- Enable New Zealand external URL
- Accessable external URL
- Occupational Therapy New Zealand external URL
- Physiotherapy New Zealand - Find a physio external URL
- New Zealand Speech-Language Association - Find a therapist external URL
- New Zealand Optometrists Association external URL
- New Zealand Audiological Society external URL
- Life Unlimited Hearing Therapy Services external URL
- Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand external URL
- Talklink – Assistive Technology Services external URL
- Blind Low Vision NZ external URL
Who is eligible for support
Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People may be able to offer support with equipment and aids.
To be eligible for support you must have a physical, intellectual, sensory (vision or hearing) and/or age-related disability,
You must also:
- have a long-term disability (a disability that is likely to continue for at least 6 months)
- need specific equipment, or modifications to your home or vehicle, to help you manage and/or access your everyday activities
- have a disability that is not already covered by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC)
- be a New Zealand resident usually living in New Zealand
- be living in New Zealand at the time you request and receive the equipment or modifications.