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Funding & Disability

Equipment and Modification Services

Equipment and Modification Services (EMS) is the system by which people of all ages, with a long term impairment, get equipment or modifications to their home or vehicle to enable them to be safe and independent in every day living activities. Equipment may include shower chairs, wheelchairs, walking frames, mobility canes, communication devices and hearing aids. The equipment is on loan to the person for as long as it continues to meet their needs.

Funding or part funding is also available for housing modifications (such as ramps and level access showers), and vehicle purchase and modifications (such as van hoists and hand controls).

Click here for the MOH service specification

Click here to view the ESS Application Process Flowchart

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Who can get equipment through EMS?

EMS funding is available to people of all ages who live in New Zealand, meet the Disability Services definition of disability, and are unable to do some everyday activities safely and independently. An assessment by a specialised assessor is required to determine what equipment or modifications are necessary to meet a person's needs. A specialised assessor can provide information about EMS funding and other sources of funding available.

Equipment and modifications may also be funded by organisations such as ACC, Ministry of Education, Workbridge, etc. For further information on funding see the 'Funding and Disability' section of the website.

How does a person get equipment through EMS?

An assessment of equipment, housing or vehicle needs is required and an application made to Accessable, the EMS agency. This must be done by a specialised assessor. Specialised assessors can be occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech language therapists, audiologists and vision and hearing professionals. Assessors are often employed by hospitals and community health services, or can be sourced through a GP or a NASC agency. A specialised assessor helps a person to identify equipment or modifications needed and determines eligibility for EMS funding. Applications are prioritised to identify those people with a high need.

What happens after an application is sent?

Accessable manages the EMS budget for the Auckland and Northland areas to ensure those with the highest need receive EMS support. Approved applications with a high priority rating are processed first and equipment delivered to the person's home or to the assessor. Some complex equipment may need to be trialled so that the person can determine what is most suitable, with input from the assessor. Income and Asset testing through Work and Income may be required for some housing and vehicle modification applications.

Approved applications with a lower priority rating are added to a waiting list and equipment is supplied when the funding is available.

The equipment is on loan to the person for as long as they need it. If the equipment requires repairs or maintenance Accessable can be contacted to organise this. When the equipment is no longer required Accessable will collect it from the person on request.

What if a person is ineligible for EMS funding?

If a person is ineligible for EMS funding or their application is declined a review of the decision can be requested or a second assessment sought. Alternatively a person may meet criteria for funding from another Government or non-Government organisation. A specialised assessor will be able to advise a person on their options.

Where to get more information on EMS.

The Disability Funding Information website contains a large amount of regularly updated information describing the EMS system. This website is funded by the Ministry of Health and managed by Enable New Zealand.

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