Links to organisations and services that might be helpful. These are all New Zealand services, but I’m happy to add others if people ask me.
ACC (formerly the Accident Compensation Corporation), New Zealand’s national accident insurance scheme. We all pay into this through levies on our wages, motor vehicle registration, insurances and taxes, and it covers all of us for injuries and disabilities caused by accidents. If you are injured and off work, ACC should pay you compensation of 80 per cent of your wages. It also provides provides equipment to help you cope with your injury, and rehabilitation to get you back on your feet – literally or figuratively.
CCS Disability Action (formerly the Crippled Children’s Society), a charity that helps and advocates for people with disabilities, and has been doing so for more than 100 years.
Council of Trade Unions If you are a member of a trade union, it’s probably affiliated to the Council of Trade Unions, which means you can draw on the support of the CTU’s excellent Workplace Injury Advocacy Service, for help in dealing with ACC and in negotiating appropriate conditions for your return to work.
Disabled People’s Assembly An umbrella group for disability groups. Lobbies government and works to make sure the voices of disabled people are heard.
Disability Rights Commissioner A special officer of the Human Rights Commission. The current commissioner is Paul Gibson, a former president of the Disabled People’s Assembly.
Federation of Family Budgeting Services If you’re off work for even a short length of time, chances are the money is going to get tight. Get help early to manage your reduced income (remember, ACC pays only 80 per cent of your normal weekly wage, and can stop your payments if it thinks you no longer meet its criteria).
Health and Disability Commissioner If you’re not being treated fairly, this is who you should come to to get it sorted out. The current commissoner is Anthony Hill, whose previous jobs have include Deputy Director General of Public Health and working as a lawyer.
Ministry of Education Provides support for children with disabilities to continue with their education.
Ministry of Health Disability Services If you’re not covered by ACC (for example, if your disability isn’t the result of an accident), the Ministry of Health’s Disability Services might help with issues like equipment, home help and other practical measures.
Mobility Parking These are the people who can get you a sticker allowing you to legally park in car parks reserved for the disabled. Invaluable.
Office of Disablity Issues The government agency responsible for making sure disabled people are treated fairly, and for administering things like the Sign Language Act, the accessibility regulations in the Building Act, and New Zealand’s implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Work and Income The government department in charge of social security payments. If you’re unable to work and you’re not getting ACC payments, or can’t afford the modifications to your home you need to help you cope with your disability, try Winz.