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Vehicle modifications for disabled people
Is it difficult for you to drive or get in and out of a vehicle because of your disability? If you need modifications to a vehicle so that you can get around in the community the Ministry of Health may be able to help.
Who can get vehicle modifications?
If you are a New Zealand resident living in New Zealand, and you have a long-term disability which isn’t covered by ACC you may be able to get some funding assistance. There’s funding available for vehicle modifications and, in a small number of cases, for purchase of a vehicle that will then be modified.
The availability of funding help to buy a vehicle will depend on your financial situation and your circumstances for needing such a vehicle.
How can I get vehicle modifications?
If you want funding for vehicle modifications, you’ll need to talk to an occupational therapist. They will:
- complete an assessment of your needs
- identify what modifications to a vehicle are necessary to support you to work or study, or to look after someone who depends on you
- let you know whether you are eligible for funding assistance from the Ministry of Health for vehicle modifications and/or vehicle purchase
- advise you of other sources of funding or what options you may be able to buy or change yourself.
For more information on the assessment process, go to Equipment and Modifications Services.
Please note: Other options, such as public transport, mobility taxis, and applying for grants from other organisations (ie, NZ Lottery Grants Board) should also be looked at. An occupational therapist can help you work through these options.
Types of vehicle modifications
An occupational therapist can help you to find the best way to get around the community including driving a modified vehicle, being a passenger in a modified vehicle or other options.
- If you’ll be the driver of the vehicle, your disability needs, and your driving ability or potential to learn to drive, will be assessed. Recommendations may include hand controls, seating, ramps or hoists and safe ways of transporting your wheelchair.
- If you’re caring for a disabled child who lives with you their safety needs as a passenger will be assessed. This may include seating, safety restraints, ramps or hoists and safe ways of transporting wheelchairs.
What do Accessable and Enable New Zealand do?
Accessable and Enable New Zealand receive applications from occupational therapists. They check applications to make sure the assessor has considered the different support, transport and equipment options available. This is so any vehicle or vehicle modifications you receive funding for are suitable and useful for you.
If your application is approved modifying your vehicle or purchasing a suitable vehicle can begin when the funding becomes available. This may be soon after funding approval, or longer if your need is not as urgent as others’. The occupational therapist will let you know about this process.