What help is available in New Zealand?

Financial Support

Young people living with diabetes, and their families, often qualify for a range of benefits. Some of these benefits require means testing (verification that your income is not “excessive”), others do not. 

Child Disability Allowance

The Child Disability Allowance is a fortnightly payment made to the main caregiver of a child or young person with a serious disability in recognition of the extra care needed for that child.

You may get a Child Disability Allowance if:

•You are the main carer of the child (or if there is no main carer, you have care of the child for the time being)

•You are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident

• The child had been assessed as needing constant care and attention for at least 12 months because of a serious disability

• The child or young person is under 18

The Child Disability Allowance is a set amount and doesn’t depend on your income, assets or costs. This allowance is paid into your bank account every two weeks and is paid separately from any other assistance you may get.

All Child Disability Allowance applications MUST be completed by a health professional, preferably a paediatrician or diabetes specialist.

The assessor’s decision is based solely on the information you and your specialist have provided on the forms, so make sure you have explained everything.

This allowance is subject to regular reviews. Work and Income will send you a renewal form that will often require a medical report. These forms must be returned swiftly or payments of the allowance will be stopped until forms are received and processed.

A child’s needs may alter as they get older and even though an insulin pump may be used, this still needs constant monitoring to manage health condition so it is important that full information is provided from the Health professional.


Disability Allowance

The Disability Allowance is a weekly payment for people who have regular, ongoing costs because of a disability, such as visits to the doctor or hospital, medicines, extra clothing or travel. You don’t need to be on a benefit to qualify for a Disability Allowance and can apply on behalf of a child if they’re 18 or under and financially dependent on you. 

You may get a Disability Allowance if you:

•Have a disability that is likely to last at least six months

• Have regular, ongoing costs because of your disability that are not fully covered by another agency

• Are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident

•  Normally live in New Zealand and intend to stay here. 

It also depends on how much you and your partner earn.

The amount of the Disability Allowance depends on the extra costs you have because of your disability. It is usually paid straight into your bank account with your main benefit (or weekly if you don’t get any other assistance). The Disability Allowance can help pay for a number of things your doctor advises you need because of your disability. You will need to keep receipts and provide proof of any costs.

This allowance is subject to regular reviews. Work and Income will need to see proof of any costs that have increased or are new. 


Community Services Card

If you receive a Child Disability Allowance you will also receive a Community Services Card. This is for the use of the child with diabetes only and is not means tested.

The Community Services Card can reduce the cost of:

• prescription fees

• fees for after-hours doctor visits

• visits to a doctor who is not your regular doctor

• glasses for children under 16

• emergency dental care provided by hospitals and approved dental contractors (ask the dental provider if they are an approved contractor)

• travel and accommodation for treatment at a public hospital outside your area when you have been referred (at least 80km away for adults and 25km for children)

There is a ‘government prescription charge’ for prescription items that are subsidised by the Government (there’s no Government prescription charge on items for children aged under six years). Sometimes there is also a ‘premium’ to pay if the cost to manufacture the item is more than the government subsidy.

If you have a Community Services Card, all you‘ll pay is approximately $5 for a subsidised prescription item, but you will still have to pay the premium if there is one. The amount of the prescription charge and the premium can change.

If you do not receive a Child Disability Allowance, you may still be entitled to a Community Services Card.

For more information refer to: https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/products/a-z-benefits/community-services-card.html#null

Carer Support

Carer Support provides reimbursement of some of the costs of using a support person to care and support someone with a health condition, disability or injury. This means the full-time carer can take some time out for themselves.

NOTE: Not all areas in New Zealand are eligible for Carer Support for young people with Diabetes. Check with your medical team as to whether it applies to your area and how many days your young person is entitled to.

After diagnosis your medical team should fill in a Carer Support Registration Form. This form states that the young person has ‘Type 1 diabetes and requires a trained adult to supervise insulin administration’.  This form once completed by the medical practitioner and you as the full-time carer can be sent to:

Ministry of Health
Private Bag 1942

Once the original registration form has been processed you will receive your first Carer Support Claim form.  This form will state how many days you are entitled to.

The Support Carer must be at least 16 years of age.  They cannot be the parents or step parents of the young person and they cannot be living at the same address as the young person. Carer Support cannot be paid while the full-time carer is at work.

All rates of payment are GST exclusive. GST registered providers must also attach a tax invoice to the claim form and GST will be added to the amount payable. You can claim half days.  The payment can be made to the Support Carer or to reimburse the full-time carer.

You can use Carer Support to pay for Camp fees.

You can see more information on Carer Support at: http://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/pages/how-to-claim-carer-support-09.pdf or phone Ministry of Health on 0800 281 222.


Schools have a legal obligation to ensure the safety of all of its pupils. Schools that have students with Type 1 diabetes must make sure they provide a safe environment with adequate supervision for these students. Staff must be given sufficient information, either by the parent or by a Diabetes Nurse Educator, to ensure the safety of these students and understand what is required should an emergency arise. 

Teacher aides

The School High Health Needs Fund supports students at school and kura who have significant health conditions. The fund pays for a teacher aide when the student has a high health need and care is needed for more than 6 weeks. This can be particularly useful for a new entrant, a child who is newly diagnosed or who has just begun insulin pump therapy. The student’s parent/caregiver, health care workers and educators agree on the level and type of care required in an Individual Care Plan.

Parts of the application form must be filled in by the child’s medical specialist. Guidelines and application forms can be found at http://www.minedu.govt.nz and type ‘High Health Needs Fund Guidelines’ into search.

As yet, early childhood centres are not entitled to teacher aid funding.

NCEA exams

Students with diabetes sitting NCEA exams are able to apply for Special Assessment Conditions. Once granted the student is entitled to take breaks during exams for the purposes of testing blood glucose levels and any treatments that may be required. Contact your school or consult the NZQA website for further information.

Special Assessment Conditions – information for parents and caregivers

Diabetes Management

Blood glucose meters

Your first blood glucose meter will be provided free, by prescription, and will be a CareSens Dual. Only one meter per patient is subsidised.

The CareSens Dual meter can test both blood glucose and blood ketones on the same meter. 

If you manage your diabetes with diet or metformin you can only get a free Caresens meter from your doctor. The models available are:

• CareSens N

•CareSens N POP

•CareSens N Premier

•CareSens Dual

You can buy other models of blood glucose meters from the pharmacy, but you will need to pay.

The number of test strips available for the CareSens meters is restricted to 50 UNLESS:

1.    Prescribed with insulin or a sulphonylurea but are on a different prescription and the prescription is endorsed accordingly; or

2.    Prescribed on the same prescription as insulin or a sulphonylurea in which case the prescription is deemed to be endorsed; or

3.    Prescribed for a pregnant woman with diabetes and endorsed accordingly.

For more information about eligibility of meters visithttp://www.pharmac.govt.nz