National Travel Assistance Scheme

Am I eligible for travel assistance?

What is the scheme?

The National Travel Assistance Scheme was set up to help people who travel a long way to get to specialist appointments, get some of their travel expenses back.

To be eligible for the reimbursement, you must be referred from one specialist to another and travel a minimum distance or make a minimum number of trips. Both specialists must also be part of a publicly funded health and disability support service.

If this sounds like your situation, read on to find out if you meet the criteria to get some of your travel expense back through the National Travel Assistance Scheme. 

AdultChild (up to 18 years)Babies up to four weeks old
Have you:
  • been referred to an appointment by a publicly funded specialist (not a GP)?
Has your child (up to 18 years):
  • been referred to an appointment by a publicly funded specialist (not a GP)?
The criteria below apply to babies who are up to 28 days old or until the baby is first discharged from hospital – whichever is later.

Babies upon discharge from hospital need to meet the same criteria as that set out for children (up to 18 years).
AND
Do you:
  • have a community services card and travel at least 80km one way? AND/OR;
  • visit a specialist at least six times in six months and travel at least 50km one way? AND/OR;
  • visit a specialist 22 times or more in two months, regardless of distance? AND/OR;
  • travel more than 350km one way for one specialist appointment?
AND
Does your child:
  • have a Community Services Card and travel at least 25km one way? AND/OR;
  • visit a specialist at least six times in six months and travel at least 25km one way? AND/OR;
  • visit a specialist 22 times or more in two months, regardless of distance? AND/OR;
  • travel more than 80km one way for one specialist appointment?

Are you:
  • a parent/support person of a baby who is expected to be in hospital for over six days following the parent’s discharge from hospital, and do you need to travel over 25km one-way from your home address to the hospital, OR
  • a parent/support person of a baby who is expected to be in hospital for over 22 days, OR
  • a parent/support person of a baby who lives over 80km (one-way) from their home to the hospital.
As a parent/support person of a baby, you may qualify for travel assistance for up to two return visits a day if you live less than 100km away (one-way) from the hospital.

Can I claim for accommodation?

If you are eligible and your accommodation is approved by your specialist, you will be able to claim for some assistance, for example, payment towards costs of a motel room, or an allowance when staying with friends and family.

(Note: Accommodation is not usually approved for travel less than 100km away.)

Can I claim for the costs of a support person?

Under certain circumstances, you may also be eligible for assistance towards a support person’s costs, for example, if your specialist recommends a support person to assist you with clinical decision-making, or to provide physical support.

When a child is eligible for travel and accommodation assistance, they are always eligible for assistance towards a support person’s costs.

How do I claim?

Clinic staff will help you register for travel assistance and complete your first claim form.

Make sure your claim form is signed and stamped by clinic staff for each appointment you attend.

You must keep receipts for public transport and/or accommodation to support your claim.

Ministry of Health

The National Travel Assistance Scheme is funded according to the National Travel Assistance Policy document, effective from 1 January 2006. It is published and will be amended from time to time by the Ministry of Health.

Full terms and conditions are available from www.moh.govt.nz/travelassistance(external link)

For more information about claiming travel assistance, please contact:

Ministry of Health
National Travel Assistance
PO Box 1026
Wellington
Ph: 0800 281 222 (press 2)