Your online guide to disability services
Funding & Disability


Some organisations have acquired funding from non-government sources or their own fund raising efforts to provide additional support or fill a perceived funding gap. To access this funding a person is typically still required to meet certain criteria. In some cases the funding is considered to be only available in the event of “last resort” and people are encouraged to go through the main channels of funding first.


Non Government Organisations

A number of disability support services are being delivered by Non Government Organisations (NGO). NGOs vary in size from national providers such as RNZFB and IHC to small owner operated local enterprises and include independent community and iwi/Māori organisations operating on a not-for-profit basis.



Workbridge Inc. is an independent non-profit organisation contracted by Government for the delivery of work focused services. Workbridge administers support funding on behalf of Work and Income (a service of the Ministry of Social Development). This funding can be used to help with additional costs directly relating to a person's disability when entering training, a job or self employment. Government, not Workbridge, sets the eligibility criteria and funding limits to access these funds. There is no charge for a disabled person to use Workbridge services.

To be eligible to access Workbridge Support funds, a person must be aged 16 to 64 years and have a disability that is longer than 6 months (same definition as the MOH). The funds must be used to cover the additional costs a person has as a direct consequence of their disability, when undertaking the same job or training as a person without a disability or impairment. The types of support funds that are available from Workbridge are:

Training Support

This is support for a disabled person undergoing work experience, training or education that must be MSD or NZQA approved. The support must relate to a clear vocational goal. The training support funding limit for each individual is $15,600.00.

Job Support

Job support aims to move a person from a benefit into open employment or preserve job retention. The Job Support funding limit for each individual is $16,900 in any 12-month period. The $16,900 limit is inclusive of any other Work and Income grants or subsidies being received for similar purposes e.g. Job Plus subsidies; modification grants, etc.


Self-Start is a fund created to assist disabled people to set up their own business ventures. The aim of this programme is to help provide greater flexibility by covering the additional costs relating to a person's disability in becoming self-employed. Funds available under this programme are not subject to means testing, but every effort is made to ensure that allocations are consistent with equity and need. Self-Start funding is limited to $5,200 per individual. It is not available to supplement business income.

The major criteria for accessing support funds is that it must assist a person to “gain or maintain” employment. Support funds cannot be used for any other purpose such as personal care. Additionally, Support Funds can only be used to meet the “cost of disability”; that is the amount of extra cost incurred as a direct result of a person’s disability. An example of this may be an individual with a visual impairment might be funded the difference between the cost of a standard personal computer screen and a larger screen. Often an Occupational Therapist may assist in assessing the necessity of equipment.
Contact your nearest Workbridge Office here

Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB)

The Royal NZ Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB) is New Zealand's primary provider of services to blind, vision-impaired and Deafblind people. The Foundation empowers its members to be as independent as they choose to be through using adaptive skills, technologies and resources. RNZFB is a not-for-profit organisation providing members with a range of specialist support services at no cost. These services include habilitation and rehabilitation, Deafblind services, vocational support, Maori and Pacific services, Blind awareness and prevention programmes and a guide dog service.

RNZFB administers a number of funds that may provide additional support but people are encouraged to go through the main channels of funding first, for example the ESS system for equipment. The types of funds available include providing assistance to visually impaired people who are in or are about to enter tertiary education and grants to children up to the age of twelve who have been blind before reaching their second birthday. These grants are to go towards computer and other special equipment and for lessons for parents to learn to communicate with blind children. In addition RNZFB also administers a fund providing direct financial assistance to members to meet either the additional financial cost of blindness or rehabilitation/habilitation and personal development needs, when they are not met by another funding source. Financial support is also available to guide dog users to assist them to meet the cost of veterinary bills for treatment for their dogs.

To become a member of RNZFB a person must meet criteria related to their degree of sight loss. For information on this criteria and the full range of services available from RNZFB contact:

Freephone: 0800 24 33 33

Further information on the disability support services provided by RNZFB is available in other areas of this website.


IHC is an organisation made up of members throughout New Zealand, local branch committees and a board of governance. IHC supports people with intellectual disabilities and their families in many ways. IHC aims to provide information, assistance and advocacy, and liaises with Government on behalf of people with intellectual disabilities. They offer a range of services which empower people to live, learn, work and enjoy life in the community (IDEA Services). IDEA Services support people and families to lead lives much like anyone else, including making decisions and choices about everyday matters.

IDEA Services include:
  • residential services for people with intellectual disabilities, including housing options, support to live in the community and respite care.
  • vocational and day services to support people in work and community-based options. They help people to achieve their goals by developing skills and confidence, and providing work or training opportunities.
  • family/whanau services to support children, young people and adults living with parents, family or caregivers. Some of these services include home support, respite care, foster care, shared care, and holiday and after school programmes.
  • specialist services for families, caregivers and staff who support people with complex and challenging behaviours. This includes assessments, strategies and training to enhance skills and confidence.

Another important part of IHC’s activities is called Timata Hou which provides intensive rehabilitative support to people with intellectual disabilities who have complex behaviours. Timata Hou is a Regional Intellectual Disability Supported Accommodation Service (RIDSAS), and eligible people are referred by a Regional Intellectual Disability Care Agency (RIDCA). The aim is to help people develop the skills to live safely and happily in the community, and at some point to move on from Timata Hou to return to their family or other residential services.

Timata Hou support includes residential support, supported living, specialist assessments, crisis respite, education and development programmes, and vocational and work programmes.
Freephone 0800 472 2247.
Find your nearest IHC Branch

National Foundation for the Deaf

National Foundation for the Deaf (NFD) is an incorporated society, and represents key member groups including Hearing Association of New Zealand, Deafness Research Foundation, NZ Federation for Deaf Children Inc., NZ Acoustical Society Inc., NZ Society of Otolaryngology and NZ Audiological Society. NFD supports deaf and hearing impaired people, and works to address issues affecting deaf and hearing impaired communities in New Zealand. They also raise awareness of hearing impairment in the community.

In addition to offering support to deaf and hearing impaired people and their families the National Foundation for the Deaf is involved in lobbying the Government for changes in legislation, improving educational resources and providing scholarships and grants.

Phone or TTY: 09 828 3282 or Fax: 09 828 3235

Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand

Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand provides a range of services to Deaf people throughout New Zealand. These include:

  • Interpreter services to facilitate communication between Deaf and hearing people
  • Needs interviews and service coordination
  • Equipment assessments for items such as alarm clocks, baby alarms, and flashing lights for the doors
  • Information and advice on topics such as health and civil rights
  • Vocational training programmes, such as personal development, employment preparation, literacy, computers
  • Employment support
  • Adult community education.

Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand is governed by elected Deaf members of the Deaf community, and has offices throughout New Zealand and an outreach service. On a national level Deaf Aotearoa lobbies agencies to provide information in a Deaf-accessible format, for example, video with captions in English or interpreted into NZ Sign Language.

Phone or TTY: 09 307 2922 or Free Phone: 0800 867 446
Free Fax: 0800 332 343
Contact your nearest Deaf Association Office

Halberg Trust

The Halberg Trust is a New Zealand Charitable Trust dedicated to making a real difference in the lives of all New Zealanders. The Trust was founded by Sir Murray Halberg over 40 years ago with the twin aims of honoring sporting excellence and ensuring society joins in getting more people with a disability more active, more often. The Trust is supported by national and regional sporting organisations and charities and is increasingly gaining grants through bequests.

The Halberg Trust Sport Opportunity Programme is committed to ensuring that people with a disability can participate in inclusive sport and active leisure within their community. The Programme is delivered by Sport Opportunity Advisers who work within the Regional Sports Trusts located throughout New Zealand. The Halberg Trust Activity Fund provides grants to enable young people (under 20 years of age) with a disability to participate in inclusive sport and active leisure within their community.

Variety - the children’s charity

Each month Variety makes funds available to individuals, families and organisations for the benefit of children up to the age of eighteen. Grants may be used for a wide range of equipment, tools or aids to help improve the lives of New Zealand children with special needs. Variety provides assistance to children who are sick or who are challenged by physical, intellectual, psychological, disabilities or are disadvantaged by socio-economic circumstances or geographic isolation.

Grants may be applied for by individuals, families or organisations working with children. All applications should be forwarded on the general Grant Application Form. Funding is allocated from the appropriate Signature Programme budget. - Grants

Variety Sunshine Coaches

Variety Sunshine Coaches transport thousands of New Zealand children to schooling, therapy and community outings. Many vans are adapted for special service with hydraulic lifts, wheelchair hoists and other specialised equipment. To date Variety has provided more than 90 Ford vans throughout the country to special schools and organisations working with children. Applications close 31st July every year. - Sunshine Coaches

Tertiary Disability Services

Tertiary Institutions are required to provide equity of access to educational opportunities for all students as per the Human Rights Act 1993 and the Education Act 1989. The Tertiary Students with Disabilities (TSD) Special Supplementary Grant (SSG) was introduced in 1998 to enable tertiary institutions to meet the needs of students with disabilities and remove barriers to participation in tertiary education. Many tertiary institutions have disability services or a Disability Resource Office where students can be supported in achieving their educational goals. Services and support may include notetakers, transcribers, alternative formats, assistive/adaptive technology, exam support, sign language interpreters, mental health support, information, and assessment.

Auckland University Disability Services
Tel: 09 373 7599 Ext 88808 Fax: 09 3082354

AUT University Disability Resource Office:
Tel: 09 917 9999 Ext 8262 Fax: 09 917 9849

Manukau Institute of Technology Disability Liaison Office:
Tel: 09 968 7668 Fax: 09 968 7667

Massey University Disability Services – Albany Campus:
Tel: 09 414-0800 Ext 9535 Fax: 09 414-0810

Northland Polytechnic (NorthTec/Tai Tokerau Wananga) Disability Services:
Tel: +64 (9) 470 4116 Mob: 0277059170 Email:

Unitec – Disability Liaison Centre:
Disability Liaison Manager
Tel: +64 9 815 4321 ext 7871

The New Zealand Code of Practice for an Inclusive Tertiary Education Environment for Students with Impairments. Published November 2004 by the Tertiary Education Commission and the Ministry of Education. This document is available on the following web sites:,,


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