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Changes proposed to Disability Allowance

The government is planning changes to the Disability Allowance to come into effect next year aimed at achieving better value for money.

Medical alarms

More than 54,000 people currently receive a Disability Allowance for medical alarms with an average weekly amount claimed of just under $20. There are 44 different suppliers in the market with the five largest accounting for 80 percent of the alarms.

There is scope for savings to be made on alarms covered by Disability Allowance, without disadvantaging people.

The Ministry of Social Development aims to implement more competitive pricing of medical alarms funded through the allowance with the development of a new supplier approval process.

Pharmaceuticals and alternative treatments

The Government intends to remove certain pharmaceuticals and alternative treatments that are currently covered by Disability Allowance.

More than 204,500 people currently receiving Disability Allowance are claiming for subsidised and non-subsidised medications. The current policy undermines the role of Pharmac in managing the government’s pharmaceutical spending effectively. This change acknowledges that Pharmac is better placed and has the expertise to assess pharmaceuticals.

These changes come into effect 1 July 2012 allowing time for consultation.

More than 24,000 people currently receiving Disability Allowance are claiming for alternative treatments. The alternative treatments include acupuncture, homeopathy, osteopathy, vitamins and gym membership.

The government is considering funding proven alternative treatments only.

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