Return to Contents | Previous | Next

Key recommendations

Recommendation 40: Improve the health and wellbeing of people with health conditions and disabilities, along with carers of people with health conditions and disabilities who interact with the welfare system by:

  • providing financial support that is adequate to live a life with dignity and is equitable across the social sector
  • implementing evidence-based approaches to support engagement in good, suitable work and the community where this is possible
  • implementing strategies to prevent work-limiting health conditions and disabilities.

Recommendation 41: Include in the scope of the New Zealand Health and Disability System Review the relationship between the health and disability system and the accident compensation scheme and how the relationship between these and the welfare system could be changed to improve outcomes for people with health conditions and disabilities and carers.

Detailed recommendations

Theme Detail
Improving income support for people in the welfare system with health conditions or disabilities and carers of people with health conditions or disabilities

Main benefits

Consider increasing financial support for people affected by health conditions and disabilities not due to an accident to be equivalent to that provided by the accident compensation scheme. Treat people with similar levels of disability – whether caused by illness or injury – similarly. Link this support to relevant employment support where work is a possibility.

Introduce time-limited individual entitlement for income and employment support for low-income families suffering from health shocks (see the eligibility section of the detailed income support recommendations, page 118).

Consider transferring to New Zealand Superannuation people on Supported Living Payment who are so unwell or disabled that there is no foreseeable chance they will come off the benefit during their life.

Align the abatement rate of non-blind disabled people receiving Supported Living Payment with that of the blind, to address the current inequity.

Assistance for the cost of having a health condition or disability

Redesign supplementary assistance for people with health conditions or disabilities, so it is easier to access and more accurately covers the costs of having the health condition or disability.

Increase the level of income support provided by Disability Allowance with three rates (low, medium and high) related to the degree of burden of disability or care needed.

Increase the level of income support provided by Child Disability Allowance, and introduce three rates (low, medium and high) related to the degree of burden of disability or care needed.

Direct the Ministry of Social Development and Ministry of Health to clarify where responsibility for covering the cost to individuals of health conditions and disabilities should lie and make this transparent, known to the public, and accessible.

Include in the New Zealand Health and Disability System Review how cost and other barriers can be reduced so people on low incomes can access primary care, dental care, alcohol and other drug services, mental health care, secondary care, and vision and hearing services.


De-couple Supported Living Payment Carer from Supported Living Payment, and create a carers benefit that continues to be paid at the same rate as Supported Living Payment. This allows more flexibility in the provision of non-financial support.

Introduce an annual carers payment to help meet the additional costs associated with care.

Implementing in the welfare system a comprehensive approach to support the suitable employment of people with health conditions and disabilities and carers of people with health conditions and disabilities

Implement within the welfare system a comprehensive approach to support the suitable employment of people with health conditions and disabilities and carers that includes:

  • early intervention with the right level of support
  • support for part-time work
  • evidence-based integrated employment and health supports and services
  • improved access to health supports and services to support return to work, with particular support for people with mental health problems or chronic conditions
  • easy re-entry to a benefit if employment ends
  • support for employers to take on or retain people with health conditions and disabilities and carers (for example, wage subsidies and workplace accommodations).

Support the recommendations of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction and the 2018 OECD report Mental Health and Work: New Zealand, because of the large proportion of people receiving health and disability benefits whose primary barrier to work is a mental health condition.

Meaningful community participation to promote wellbeing Work with the Ministry of Health to ensure those who are unlikely to ever engage in paid work are supported to participate meaningfully in their communities.
Prevention and harm reduction

Work to eliminate people’s negative experiences with MSD, which worsen mental distress, by changing the way MSD interacts with people in line with our proposed purpose, principles and values.

Government to prioritise the prevention of ill health and disability by:

  • overseeing and coordinating cross-government responses to improving social wellbeing, including tackling the social determinants of poor health and disability
  • enhancing cross-government investment in prevention and resilience-building activities for young people and people in workplaces.

Return to Contents | Previous | Next

Last modified: