Funding for housing modifications
Feeling safe and happy in your home is important to everyone. If you have a physical impairment or disability that makes moving around your home difficult, you may be able to get some help to make changes to your home.
The government may pay for - or contribute to - housing modifications for some people who have a long-term disability or illness.
Your home might need changes so you can:
- Be safer and more independent
- Stay in your home for longer
- Return home after being in hospital, a rehabilitation unit, or a hospice.
What are housing modifications?
Housing modifications are changes made to the structure or layout of a house. They can make it easier and safer for you to:
- Get in and out of your home
- Move around inside your home
- Do your daily activities.
For example, you might need to:
- Install handrails
- Put in a wheelchair ramp or a stair lift
- Widen doorways or remove walls
- Make your shower more usable, for example, a handheld shower, wet area shower
- Make your kitchen more usable, for example, lower the bench or remove cupboards.
If your disability is related to an injury
ACC says it may assist with modifications to help you live independently in your home following your injury.
You will need to have an assessment carried out by a housing assessor to see if you're eligible for housing modifications. This service is free.
Ask your ACC support or service coordinator if they can refer you to an occupational therapist (OT) for an assessment. ACC refers to them as housing assessors. The OT can help you request ACC funding if you're eligible.
Visit ACC’s website for more information.
If your disability is not due to an injury
The Ministry of Health has a limited amount of funding for disabled people to make modifications to their homes.
If you are eligible the Ministry might pay the full cost, an agreed cost (contribution) or ask you to pay part of the costs. It depends on things like:
- What the modifications will cost
- How much you earn or own (if you’re over 16)
- What types of modifications are needed.
You can learn more about types of housing modifications for disabled people on the Ministry of Health website.
How do I get an assessment?
Assessments for home modifications are carried out by EMS assessors who are usually Occupational Therapists (OTs).
If you're eligible the OT can request funding for the modifications from the Ministry of Health. The assessment is free.
To find an OT (EMS assessor) who can carry out your assessment:
- Speak to your doctor or practice nurse
- Contact your local Needs Assessment Service Co-ordinator (NASC)
- Talk to your local disability information centre
- Get in touch with Enable New Zealand.
If you’ve served in the New Zealand Defence Force
Veterans’ Affairs has two programmes that offer financial support for home modifications or adaptations.
Visit the Veterans’ Affairs website to find out if you could be eligible for support:
If you need ramps or rails in your home
If your home needs structural changes
Other options to consider
Can I pay for housing modifications myself?
If you wish to pay for your own housing modifications then it is best to get advice and an assessment from a private Occupational Therapist (OT).
To find an OT you could do an internet search or talk to your local disability information centre. You could also contact the association for occupational therapists.
What about planning for possible future needs when building a house?
Thinking ahead when planning and designing new homes could mean that you stay in your own home for longer when you are older.
Simple things like widening doorways or installing ramps during the initial build could reduce financial and emotional difficulties in the future.
Read the Building Research Association of New Zealand (BRANZ) guide to designing or altering houses for disabled people or older people.