Support and information for disabled people

This section contains information specifically for disabled people.

Wellbeing helplines and support

If you feel you are not coping, or you have concerns for others, it is important to talk with a Health professional. The following helplines are available for people needing help.

Check our the free services and resources available to you

Disability services at Alert Level 2

  • Residential care continues. All services should follow Alert Level 2 guidance. Personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance is to be followed. Extra consideration will be given to how at-risk resident’s health will be protected.
  • Essential personal care services, such as toileting, washing and feeding, and home help, such as cleaning, are available. Infection prevention and control measures, such as face covering, must be followed for essential care services that require close physical contact. Staff movement should be minimised between homes.
  • Equipment and modification services are available following Alert Level 2 rules.
  • General family visits and non-essential service visits are allowed. However, providers will take precautions and manage visitors in a controlled way to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission to residents and staff. Visitors must wear face coverings and follow the mandatory record keeping requirement when visiting a residential facility.
  • Planned and urgent respite care within aged residential care is available.
  • Limited facility-based respite services for disabled people are allowed.
  • Facilities will contact disabled people and families and whānau to let them know how they will operate following Alert Level 2 rules.
  • Day programmes, health promotion activities and other community supports can operate if done safely and following limits and rules for the gathering of people.

Disability services at Alert Level 3

  • If services can be provided (including digitally) within Alert Level restrictions, they are contractually required to do so.
  • Disability residential care and aged residential care must continue to be available.
  • Face coverings are recommended for people who receive home care services if they can tolerate it.
  • Essential personal care services, such as toileting, washing and feeding, should be provided as usual.
  • Essential home help, such as house cleaning, is or should be available where appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is used.
  • Planned respite services will be suspended, but urgent respite care may be provided.
  • Essential supported living services can continue.
  • Support persons are permitted under right 8 of the Health and Disability Code.
  • For aged residential care, hospices and disability residential care, family visits are not permitted
  • Family visits on compassionate grounds will be considered, such as in a palliative situation, on a case-by-case basis, subject to public health advice and provider assessment and decision.
  • For other disability services (including Day Services, Disability Information Advisory Services, Child Development Services etc) non-essential support should be provided in alternative ways (for example virtually, remotely) essential visits are allowed under Alert Level 3 if this can be done safely and following Alert Level guidance.
  • Essential equipment that can be delivered to a person's home and safely set up by the people in that home can be provided. More complex equipment will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Urgent housing modifications that can be done safely can go ahead. Vehicle modification requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Services such as social connection, health promotion and education activities are suspended, however other non-contact ways of providing this support are encouraged, such as Zoom or by phone.

Face coverings and exemptions

You legally must wear a face covering on public transport, including planes, at all Alert Levels. At Alert Level 2, 3 and 4, you legally must wear a face covering if you are a customer or an employee involving customer contact at a business or service operating at these alert levels.

Wear a face covering

However, we know that some people who have a disability or health condition may not be able to wear a face covering safely or comfortably. If you cannot wear one, you can get an exemption card. You can show your exemption card when needed, for example to a bus driver.

You do not need to have an exemption card, but you may feel more comfortable showing something official to confirm you cannot wear a face covering.

Get an exemption card

You can request a card from the Disabled Persons Assembly NZ by contacting them on 04 801 9100 or at info@dpa.org.nz

wheelchair user with face covering

Keeping track of where you have been

Keeping track of where you have been can help with fast contract tracing to prevent any spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand. 

Most businesses must have more than one way for people to record their visit, especially for people who are not able to scan QR codes. 

If you cannot use the NZ COVID Tracer app, it is still important to keep track of where you go and who you visit.

You can keep a record in a way that works for you, such as by:

  • using a NZ COVID Tracer booklet
  • keeping detailed hand-written notes
  • using a recording device, such as a digital voice recorder or a mobile phone
  • sending yourself an instant message or a text message
  • taking a photo of any business you visit.

Download or order an NZ COVID Tracer booklet

Videos

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Book your COVID-19 vaccination now

Everyone in in Aotearoa New Zealand aged 12 and over can book their free COVID-19 vaccination now. It doesn’t matter what your visa or citizenship status is.

How to book your vaccination

Under the Health Code, you have the right to be told everything about your health and the care that you are receiving.

You must give informed consent before any procedure takes place, including getting a vaccine.

Before asking for your consent, your doctor or healthcare provider should clearly explain to you:

  • what happens during the procedure
  • what other options there might be
  • what you can expect after the procedure
  • any risks that may be associated with the procedure.

You can also ask any questions that you may have about the procedure.

For more information on informed consent, read ’Right 7’ of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights.

Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights (external link)

Supported decision-making

Supported decision-making is considered best practice by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with a Disability (UNCRPD), of which New Zealand is a signatory. Supported decision-making is recognised as a right for everyone in New Zealand.

Supported decision-making is a way for people to make their own decisions based on their will and preferences, so they have control of their life. It ensures the person who needs support is at the centre of all decisions that concern them.

Supported decision-making is different from ‘substitute decision-making’. Substitute decision-making is when someone else makes decisions for a person, including making decisions in the person’s best interests. Substitute decision-making has often been used:

  • informally, by family or friends, or
  • formally, such as an Enduring Power of Attorney or by service providers.

However, now there is a move to supported decision-making.

Supported decision-making | msd.govt.nz (external link)

Ministry of Health COVID-19 vaccination program: Guidance and practical tools for supporting disabled people with decision-making and consent [PDF, 1.5 MB] (external link)

Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights

In New Zealand, when you use a health or disability service you have rights. The rights are called the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights or "the Code".

You have the right to:

  • be treated with respect
  • be treated fairly
  • dignity and independence
  • have good care and support that fits your needs
  • be told things in a way that you understand
  • be told everything you need to know about your care and support
  • make choices about your care and support
  • have support
  • decide if you want to be part of training, teaching, or research
  • make a complaint.

More information on your rights | hdc.govt.nz (external link)

Information in alternate formats

Find information about COVID-19 in alternate formats:

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