National Travel Assistance Scheme
If you, or a family member, need to travel long distances – or frequently – to see a specialist, then you may be eligible for help with expenses under the National Travel Assistance Scheme. These expenses may include travel, accommodation and support person costs.
Am I eligible for travel assistance?
You may be eligible for travel assistance if you can answer yes to one of the questions below:
1. Do you travel more than:
- 80 km one way per visit (for a child)?
- 350 km one way per visit (for an adult)?
2. Do you visit a specialist 22 or more times in two months?
3. Do you visit a specialist six or more times in six months, and travel more than:
- 25 km one way per visit (for a child)?
- 50 km one way per visit (for an adult)?
4. Are you a Community Services Card holder and travel more than:
- 25 km one way per visit (for a child)?
- 80 km one way per visit (for an adult)?
A child is anyone younger than 18 years of age at the time of treatment.
If you receive or are eligible for travel assistance from another provider, such as ACC, Work and Income, the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Transport or the Ministry of Education, you may not be eligible for assistance under the National Travel Assistance Scheme.
Mileage is calculated from your residential address to the facility or hospital via the shortest route that is practical.
What does Travel Assistance cover?
- Assistance with travel costs may cover private vehicle, public transport and specialised transport needs (for example, taxi, mobility taxi or air travel). (Mileage is calculated via the shortest practical route from your residential address to the facility or hospital treating department.)
- Accommodation costs may include payment towards the cost of a motel room, or an allowance when staying with friends and family. (Accommodation is not usually approved for travel less than 100 km one way.)
Support person’s costs
- You may able to claim assistance towards a support person’s costs – for example, if the specialist recommends you have a support person to assist you with clinical decision-making or provide physical support.
- When a child is eligible for travel and accommodation assistance, they’re automatically eligible for assistance towards a support person’s costs.
Please note that your specialist may need to approve claims for some costs (for example, accommodation, support person and specialist transport).
How do I claim travel assistance?
- Your hospital travel coordinator, health or disability specialist, or social worker will need to help you register for travel assistance. They’ll send the completed registration form to the Ministry of Health.
- The Ministry of Health will assess your application.
- If you’re eligible, a confirmation letter, along with blank claim forms, will be sent to your mailing address.
- Complete each claim form fully.
- Get it signed and stamped by the facility or hospital – or attach signed and stamped proof of attendance (for example, a hospital appointment discharge card, letter or note, on hospital letterhead paper).
- Attach your receipts. They must be original and itemised.
- When you make your first claim, attach a deposit slip, the top of your bank statement, or account verification from your bank. (If your bank account details change at any time, repeat this with your new bank account details.)
- For some claims, we ask you to wait until the minimum number of visits has been attended before submitting your first claim. These are:
22 or more visits to a specialist in two months
Six or more visits to a specialist in six months, and travel more than 25 km one way (child) or 50 km one way (adult), per visit.
- You must put in a claim for travel assistance within 12 months of the date of the appointment.
- Send completed forms to:
National Travel Assistance
Ministry of Health
PO Box 1026
For more information, contact the Ministry of Health or your cleft unit directly. You can also download a brochure with more information by clicking here.