Equipment and Modification Services

If you or someone in your family has a physical, intellectual, sensory (vision or hearing) or age-related disability, you may be able to get some equipment or modifications to your home or vehicle to assist you.

To qualify for help:
  1. your disability must be likely to continue for at least six months
  2. you must be unable to do some everyday activities safely on your own
  3. you must not be covered by ACC
  4. you must live in New Zealand and be a New Zealand resident or be from another country that has a funding agreement with New Zealand.
  5. The equipment or modifications must be essential to help you to manage and/or access your everyday activities.

The help you can get will depend on your own needs and situation. Sometimes equipment or modifications may not be the best or only option for you.

Who can get equipment?

If you live in New Zealand, are a New Zealand resident, and have a long-term disability which isn’t covered by ACC you may be able to get equipment through the Ministry of Health. The equipment is provided at no charge, and is loaned to you for as long as you need it.

Some items aren’t available from this Ministry of Health funding. These include:
  • items costing less than $50 (see Low-cost equipment and where to buy it)
  • those for medical or health needs, incontinence or therapy.
  • If you need equipment for less than six months you may need to borrow it from your district health board or hire it.

How can I get equipment?

If you want to get Ministry-funded equipment, you’ll need to talk to an assessor. They’ll complete an assessment of your needs and look at ways to help you do your everyday tasks. With your help, the assessor identifies the equipment you need to be safe and independent at home, to work or study, or to look after someone who depends on you.

Assessors can be contacted via your district health board, NASC agency (Needs Assessment Service Coordination), GP or by calling 0800 17 1981.

You may choose to buy your own equipment rather than applying for Ministry of Health funding. Some tips:
  • get advice
  • try out different equipment
  • make sure it’s suitable for you.

Types of equipment

An assessor might recommend equipment which can help with:
  • showering, going to the toilet, eating, cooking and household tasks, such as a shower stool, hoist or a raised toilet seat.
  • walking, getting around, standing and posture, such as a walking frame or wheelchair. Sometimes wheelchairs can take a while to organise, particularly if you need to try out different ones or if the equipment comes from overseas.
  • speaking, understanding, writing and making sense of information, such as a communication board, equipment which speaks for you, and devices and software which help you use your computer.
  • hearing, such as listening devices, fax machines and visual/vibrating alarms. Hearing aids are funded separately by the Ministry of Health.
  • vision, such as magnifiers, mobility canes, computer screen-reading software and, in some cases, glasses.

Your assessment

Specialised assessors can be occupational therapists, physiotherapists, audiologists, speech-language therapists and other hearing and vision professionals.

Assessors can look at ways to help you do your everyday tasks. The specialised assessor:
  • may recommend equipment and/or modifications for you
  • will check if you can get Ministry of Health funded support, and if so,
  • will send an application into Accessable or Enable New Zealand.
They can also advise you of other sources of funding or what options you may be able to buy or change yourself.

What do Accessable and Enable New Zealand do?

Accessable and Enable New Zealand receive applications from assessors. They check applications to make sure the assessor has considered many support and equipment options for you. This is so that any equipment you might get is suitable and useful for you.

Accessable and Enable New Zealand keep a well-maintained stock of equipment, or provide new equipment if what you need is not in stock. Most people will get equipment soon after a successful application. This depends on the urgency of your application, trialling of equipment and availability of equipment.

Accessable and Enable New Zealand also repair and service the equipment, and can collect it when you no longer need it.

The steps to get equipment and/or modifications

  1. You or a member of your family or whanau, have difficulty doing some everyday activities because of a disability.
  2. You arrange an assessment with a specialised assessor.
  3. A specialised assessor carries out an assessment and you can try out some equipment or discuss possible modifications to your home.
  4. You and the specialised assessor agree on a suitable option for you.
  5. The specialised assessor sends an application to Accessable or Enable New Zealand if you can get Ministry of Health support and equipment or modifications are recommended.
  6. Accessable or Enable New Zealand approve funding for cost-effective solutions to meet your essential needs.
  7. Accessable or Enable New Zealand arrange for the equipment or modifications for you.
  8. Some applications are not approved – you can discuss other options with your specialised assessor.
  9. All equipment is provided on loan for as long as you need it. It should be returned when you don’t need it any more. Accessable or Enable New Zealand will arrange to have it collected.

Kate Johns,
Sep 11, 2013, 8:01 PM
Kate Johns,
Sep 11, 2013, 8:01 PM