You are your best advocate – you understand your situation and know your needs best. But every now and then you may feel you need some extra support when dealing with organisations, healthcare providers, or government departments like Work and Income.
Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)
Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can give you general information and advice about your rights and obligations. They can also connect you with advocates who can help.
Health and disability advocacy
Health and Disability Advocacy is available if you want to know more about your rights when using health and disability services. They can help you find an independent advocate if you need one, and they can also give you some tips on self-advocacy.
Community Law Centre
Community Law specialise in helping people who can’t afford legal advice, and who are vulnerable in some way. They offer all sorts of free legal help such as running workshops, providing easy-read information and offering individual legal advice. They can help with things like tenancy disputes, employment disputes, human rights issues and health-related issues.
Auckland Disability Law
Auckland Disability Law provides free legal services to disabled people for legal issues associated with their disability and is the only specialist disability law community law centre in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Work and Income advocacy
There are a number of Work and Income advocates around the country. You can ask your local CAB or Work and Income office about advocates in your region. Some of the larger advocacy groups are Beneficiary Advisory Service (BAS) in Christchurch and Beneficiaries Advocacy and Information Service (BIAS) in the North Shore.
The National Building Financial Capability Charitable Trust can connect you with a free and confidential budget advisor. They can help you put together a plan to get out of debt, start saving, and move forward with your finances.
IHC provides advocacy support to people with intellectual or learning disabilities so that they can self-advocate.
Contact a disability support organisation for advice. In many cases, they will have specialised knowledge about your disability and have experience helping people like you get the things they need.
Read our article Using self-advocacy to get what you need, written by Life Unlimited (now known as Your Way | Kia Roha) community liaison John McIntosh.