Housing modifications for disabled people

Is it difficult for you to get in and out of or around your home because of your disability? Maybe your home needs modifications to help you remain in it, or return to it. The Ministry of Health might be able to help fund these modifications.

The type of modifications we can help fund for your home will depend on your disability-related needs and your situation. Sometimes modifying your home may not be the best or only option for you. Maybe you should consider moving to another home that better suits your needs.

Modifications we can help fund

We might be able to help fund modifications to your home, such as:

  • handrails to help you use a set of steps leading into your home
  • a ramp or lift to help you get into and out of your home and to get between levels inside your home
  • a shower with level access to help you use your bathroom safely and independently, or with help from a carer
  • changes to doorways to make it easier for you to move around the rooms that you have to use in your home
  • fencing that will help stop you being injured because of your disability. (However, we cannot fund the usual fencing and security needs of young children.)

What we cannot fund

We cannot fund home modifications that:

  • cost less than $200
  • have already been completed before we have approved funding (unless there are important reasons why the modifications had to be made before our funding was approved)
  • are fittings that you would find in a standard home
  • are for general maintenance
  • are short-term modifications that might not support you to live in your home for at least 2 to 3 years
  • are repeating modifications that we funded previously (with exceptions).

How much Ministry of Health funding you can get

The Ministry of Health has a limited amount of funding available to support disabled people in making certain modifications to their homes.

Funding for access modifications

Access modifications can help you get in and out of your home and between levels in your home. Access modifications include: ramps, platform lifts and through-floor lifts. 

The maximum amount of funding we can provide for access modifications is $15,334 (including GST).

This funding covers:

  • building and installation costs
  • associated building consent costs
  • any access modifications to your current home that we have already funded.

The cost of removable items, such as a low-rise lift or modular metal ramp, is not included in the $15,334 maximum funding amount.

Income and cash asset testing

If your modifications cost more than $8,076 (including GST), you may need to complete an income and cash asset test to work out if you need to pay anything towards those costs.

Work and Income will help you complete this test.

  • Only adults aged 16 years and over who have a disability need to complete the test.

Find out more about income and cash asset testing.

How you can get our support

Contact a Ministry of Health Equipment and Modification Service (EMS) qualified housing assessor to help you work out what modifications are the most cost-effective option for your disability needs and if we might help fund these modifications. If you are eligible for Ministry of Health funding, the EMS assessor will help you request the funding.

The EMS assessor will work with you until the agreed modifications are completed and paid for.

EMS assessors

EMS qualified housing assessors are occupational therapists.

To find an EMS qualified housing assessor, contact your:

Paying for the modifications

Full Ministry of Health funding

If we have agreed to pay the full cost of your modifications, we will manage the building process for you – including dealing with the building contractors and building consents and paying the bills for the modifications work.

Part payment

If the cost of modifications to your home is more than $8,076 (including GST), you may need to pay some of the cost of those modifications. This is called a ‘part payment’. The $8,076 includes the cost of any previous modifications funded by the Ministry of Health after you turned 16 years of age.

Usually, the Ministry of Health’s housing modifications funding managers, Accessable or Enable New Zealand, manage the building process.

We will pay our share of the cost directly to the builder or building consultant when the work is completed, and you must do the same with your share of the payment.

Find out more about when you might need to pay part of the cost for your home modifications.

Cost contribution

We will generally pay you a contribution towards the cost of some modifications to your home related to your disability needs if the modifications cost more than $1,000 (excluding GST) and at least one of the following situations applies.

  • You are building a new home to meet your disability related needs.
  • You are doing more or different modifications to your home than the Ministry of Health’s housing assessor recommends.
  • The builder who is doing your modifications does not have a contract with the Ministry of Health’s housing modifications funding manager Accessable or Enable New Zealand.
  • The cost of access modifications into or between levels of your home (for example, a ramp or platform lift) is more than the Ministry of Health’s funding limit (more than $15,334 including GST).

You must manage the building process and pay for the modifications yourself first. We will pay our contribution to the cost after the modifications have been completed and you have paid for them.

Find out more about how we can contribute to your home modifications cost.

For more information about modifications

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