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Support Stories


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Real stories of real support

Disability Information Advisory Services (DIAS) provide independent information and advice to those with disabilities and the public. Listen to real DIAS support stories narrated by our Assistive Technology Specialist Tony Howe

Support Stories

Click on the stories below to find out more



Total Mobility is a discount transport service provided around the country for people with mobility impairments who are assessed as being unable to easily use public transport. It's important to note, that not all taxis are registered with Total Mobility.

CCS Disability Action administers the scheme alongside a number of other agencies and local support groups. How the scheme is administered depends on where you live in New Zealand. In some areas, eligible users are provided with vouchers and other areas use a photo ID card.

To apply for Total Mobility you need to have an assessment by a registered assessor. Your local Independent Living store can advise or direct you towards the nearest appropriate service to initiate this assessment process, and you can contact us directly on 0800 625 100 or through our website contacts on


Total Mobility travel

The Total Mobility scheme is a nationwide ‘reduced fare’ initiative administered locally by Auckland Transport.

Initiated in the early 1980s, the scheme is provided throughout New Zealand. The scheme is jointly funded by local and central government. The scheme is managed and operated by mobility coordinators in regional councils. There are some variations in the scheme from region to region to reflect local differences.

The Total Mobility Scheme is not intended to be a substitute for transport services that are the responsibility of other government agencies or rest home providers.


What is the Total Mobility scheme?

The Total Mobility scheme supports people who cannot use public transport to travel.

In Auckland, those who are eligible get a subsidised rate (a 50% discount, up to a maximum subsidy of $40 per trip) on contracted taxis for door to door transport, and an accessible concession loaded on a Total Mobility AT HOP card which is used to pay for discounted travel on all public transport.


Who is eligible for the Total Mobility scheme?

You may qualify for the Total Mobility scheme if you are an Auckland resident/ratepayer with an impairment that prevents you from undertaking one or more of these aspects of a journey:

  • Getting to a public transport stop.
  • Getting onto the bus, train or ferry.
  • Riding safely and securely.
  • Getting off the bus, train or ferry.
  • Getting to your final destination.
View more on the Auckland Transport website


Conditions of use

The following conditions apply when using Auckland transport total mobility scheme

  1. You may only use a taxi from an approved Total Mobility transport service provider to claim the subsidy. If you use another transport service provider you will not be eligible to claim the subsidy and will be required to pay full fare.
  2. You must advise the transport service provider that you are a Total Mobility client when you order, and get in, a vehicle. Not all vehicles in the contracted transport service providers’ fleets have the automated Total Mobility swipe card system.
  3. You must present your Total Mobility photo ID card at the end of the trip.
  4. You must have the fare available to pay the driver at the end of the trip.
  5. The eligible Total Mobility client must travel in the vehicle to claim the subsidy.
  6. You must not give or leave your Total Mobility photo ID card with a driver, or any other person.
  7. You must use the scheme in a responsible manner and provide all information required, including advising Auckland Transport of changes in contact details.
  8. The Total Mobility scheme is a transport service that is provided as an alternative to public transport by bus, train and ferry. For this reason, Total Mobility must not be used as a chauffeur service.
View more on the Auckland Transport website


Traveling outside of Auckland

The Total Mobility scheme operates throughout New Zealand and allows arrangements with other local authorities to receive discounted travel in their region.


Visitors to Auckland

  • If you are visiting Auckland and you have a Total Mobility card issued by your local regional council, you can use the card in Auckland.
  • If you have an electronic card, it can be swiped by Auckland taxi card readers.
  • If your local scheme doesn't issue electronic cards, ask your regional council for a voucher.
  • If you use a voucher, you will need to ask the Auckland taxi operator to process a manual transaction.



If you are unhappy with the service you receive, firstly raise the issue with the taxi operator, if still unhappy contact Auckland Transport call centre 09 366 6400.


View more on the Auckland Transport website




The New Zealand “Lottery Individuals with Disabilities” committee accepts funding applications from NZ residents with disabilities and their families, to fund equipment that enables people to contribute, participate in and connect with, their communities.

This includes funding for - assistance dogs, communication equipment, vehicles, vehicle modifications, mobility scooters and ‘other’ mobility equipment.

Only non-ACC applicants can apply to Lottery Grants groups for funding and only if they have been turned down by the MoH first. There is six bi-monthly decision meetings held every year and all applications chosen are on a priority determined basis, built around their own disability limitations and their community access needs.

The Lottery Individuals with Disabilities committee has determined that having a disability refers to – having a long-term limiting condition which is six months or longer, that affects a person’s ability to participate as they wish in their community.

To begin with there is a registration process to access the application form, which is done on-line as the preferred method or manually on a scripted form delivered to the committee by mail, with a doctors certificate required that confirms the disablement of the individual and as many letters of support and encouragement as possible to outline the intended community involvement the funded equipment will provide.

Independent Living has been assisting Lottery applicants for the past thirty years, providing a wide range of mobility scooters to choose from and a back-up warranty repairs service to assist them with safe mobility for the first three years.

For further information around the registration process for the Lottery Grants funding or simply to try our range and purchase using a successful funding result, contact any one of our product showroom stores (0800 625 100) and we can guide you further or arrange to try appropriate models within your immediate community.


What Lottery will fund

Lottery Individuals with Disabilities funds vehicles, vehicle modifications, scooters, assistance dogs and other mobility equipment that will enable better access to the community.

It also provides grants to people with disabilities that affect their communication, to buy equipment to help them communicate.

View more on the Community Matters Government website



The outcomes sought by this Fund are:

  • People with disabilities will actively participate in and have better access to their community
  • Children and young people with disabilities and their families will be more connected to their community


Supporting Documentation

To apply to the Lottery Individuals with Disabilities fund you need to provide:

  • A letter of support outlining how you will contribute to the community by receiving this grant.
  • A completed Verification of Disability form


Letter of Support

You will need to include a letter of support with your request for funding. This letter should come from a third party, someone in your community, and the letter should include information on how you have contributed to the community and how you will continue to contribute to the community with the help of the grant.

Some good examples are; helping at the local marae, church or sports club, as a parent helping with your child’s school or club, or volunteering at a support group related to your disability.

If the request for funding is for equipment for a child, the letter should be in relation to the child’s parents or guardians.


Verification of Disability Form

A Verification of Disability form needs to be completed by a registered health professional. A template of the Verification of Disability form can be downloaded from the link below:

  • Verification of Disability form (PDF) (577 KB)

    Requests can be made online through our grants and client management system and paper based requests are also currently accepted. The request form and instructions for completing a hard copy request can be found outlined here.

    If you are unable to complete either the online request or the paper request, you can give permission to someone else to fill the request in on your behalf.


    How do I apply to Lottery if I don't have the internet?

    To request Lottery Individuals with Disabilities funding, download the request form using the link below:

    Email the completed form to: with the name of the person the request is for in the email subject line.

    Or mail the form to:

    Lottery Individuals with Disabilities

    PO Box 30 454

    Lower Hutt 5040

    If you are unable to complete either the online request or the paper request, you can give permission to someone else to fill the request in on your behalf. If you need more information or support to request a Lottery Individuals with Disabilities grant, please call 0800 824 824


    What does Lottery Individuals with Disabilities not fund?

    In addition to what may not be funded by any Lottery committee, Lottery Individuals with Disabilities does not fund:

    • Changes to any property or building;
    • Items which are to be used only within the home;
    • Equipment that the Ministry of Health or any other body has agreed to fund, up to the amount of that funding (any cost over that amount may be funded);
    • Disabilities that have occurred as a result of an accident and are eligible for support from the Accident Compensation Corporation;
    • Items already purchased;
    • Repairs or maintenance to equipment; or
    • Requests from individuals who do not have a disability
    • Insurance

    Insurance for equipment funded by the Lottery Individuals with Disabilities Fund is your responsibility.


    What happens once I've submitted my request?

    We will send you an email or letter to tell you we have received your request, and we’ll let you know if we need any more information from you. If approved, grant payments are made directly to equipment suppliers.


    When can I apply for a Individuals with Disabilities grant?

    Lottery Individuals with Disabilities is open all year.


    When will I find out if my grant request has been accepted?

    You will be told whether or not your Lottery Individuals with Disabilities request has been approved following a Committee meeting. The Committee meets six times a year.


    How to apply for Lottery Individuals with Disabilities Grant:

    All applications for the Lottery Individuals with Disabilities Grant must now be made online. This makes applying faster and more secure.


    To apply visit: Community Matters


    If you have not signed into the grants and client management system before, you will need to set up a RealMe account. You will be prompted to do this when you log in to the grants and client management system for the first time. You will only need to set up the basic RealMe account. If you already have a RealMe account, you can use this one and you do not need to create another one.

    Once you have a RealMe account and you log into our grants system for the first time, you will then need to create a profile. This is the profile that you will use every time you make a grant request.


    Support Letter

    It is a requirement to attach a letter of support for your request. This letter could be from an organisation such as NZ CCS Disability Action, Arthritis Foundation, your therapist or social worker.

    The committee would like examples, based on past community involvement, showing how receiving the equipment will benefit your community through your active participation and contribution. Examples could include supporting community events or collecting for a charitable organisation. Please note letters of support from family members or suppliers of equipment are not accepted as that would be deemed a conflict of interest.

    When you are uploading the documents to the online request, please make sure you select the correct document type from the drop-down box, e.g. Verification of Disability or Letter of Support or Authority to Accept Terms and Conditions. This ensures that you are then able to save and then submit the application.


    Can I make an application on behalf of someone or can someone make an application for me?

    Yes! If you are having trouble making the application speak to your Field Worker as they can apply on your behalf. A family member, carer or support worker can also make an application for you.

    They will need to set up their own RealMe account to do this.

    If you are making a request on behalf of another person you also need to upload an Authority to Act form.


    I am having issues making my application. How can I get some help?

    If you have any questions when making your application, contact the Lottery Individuals with Disabilities Community Advisor, Jane Lee on or call 04 570 5384 ext. 6384.

Independent Living has a Mobile Disability Information Service available in Auckland

A recent inquiry came through to the Independent Living information team from a person working within the greater Auckland region, seeking assistance with finding an information service that would go and speak with her local community groups.

Email Enquiry

"Good afternoon, do you ever provide public speakers who are able to offer practical advice for working within the community with disabled people?"

I was able to reply and inform her that Independent Living itself had a mobile service van that went around relevant community groups upon request to provide this.

Our van regularly attends expos and local community gatherings, presenting up to date information on available services & equipment that might help to meet the needs of elderly & disabled people trying to remain safe and independent within their homes and local communities.

This mobile Independent Living service provides a unique guest speaker experience for community group meetings and disability support groups of all ages, covering the greater Auckland area travelling from Pukekohe in the south to Wellsford in the north and from the West to the East coast regions as requested.

From this presentation you can expect from our service the following:

  • A 45 minute presentation.
  • Offering simple and practical solutions to maintain your independence.
  • Providing up to date information and resources for community, disability and health organisations.
  • A demonstration of assistive products and their benefits, to help people continue to do the things they want to do.
  • As well as providing a walking stick & walker safety check to all attendees.

To make a booking or check availability I encouraged this enquirer to contact any of the Independent Living Stores (0800 625 100) anytime as our helpful information team will be glad to assist, or else to go through to our website and make an email enquiry or booking directly from there.a



A recent enquiry came through to the Independent Living information team from a man and his wife who were planning a trip to New Zealand.

Email Enquiry

"My wife and I are travelling to NZ in January and February 2020 for 48 days. I have hired a car in Auckland and I am handing it back in Christchurch. I would like to hire a light weight wheel chair for the use of my wife. She struggles to walk sometimes, she can't walk a long distance thus the reason I would like to hire a wheel chair as we explore some of your towns and cities etc."

I responded by telling him that there were disability equipment stores like ours (Independent Living) that hired out some mobility equipment regionally that would allow them to also travel within NZ while using their equipment. But not all had stores throughout the country to then enable the equipment to be dropped there before they left the country.

There are only a couple of nationwide hire outlets operating within NZ due to limited demand and a smaller population than overseas countries. But these would at least be able to provide the ‘drop & return’ service that they seek when they depart from Christchurch. I gave him their contact details to follow through as he wanted.

I encouraged him to contact any of the Independent Living Stores (0800 625 100) if he felt that he wanted to hire product from us or to access further information before their holiday began. I reminded him that as an information service we were available to give them further guidance and direction within the NZ disability sector once they were here and travelling around the countryside.

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