Any trans woman, transfeminine or intersex person can get funding for facial hair removal through WINZ if they meet these requirements – they don’t have to be on welfare to get the disability allowance or child disability allowance.
A medical certificate from a doctor or specialist is required. This must state that permanent facial hair removal is an ”essential medical treatment” for a medical condition they are diagnosed with. Examples of medical conditions include “hirsutism“, or “Gender Dysphoria”. As gender dysphoria is often triggered or aggravated by the act of shaving, it can help if the doctor states this on the medical certificate – showing that shaving is not an alternative treatment to permanent facial hair removal.
Quotes for treatment are available from IPL, Laser, or electrolysis hair removal clinics. These do not need to be “WINZ quotes” and some clinics do not provide WINZ quotes; regular quotes are fine. It will help if the quote states the cost of sessions, the number of sessions needed, and a reassessment date. For example, laser treatment might be [x dollars per session], and require one session per month for 10 months, or electrolysis may be [x dollars per session] at one session per fortnight for 2 years. Treatment will depend on the individual’s hair colour, skin tone, and other factors. It may be necessary to obtain quotes from multiple different clinics to show the cost comparison.
At a WINZ appointment, a person needs to be ready to patiently argue that they are in fact entitled to funding, as most WINZ staff don’t know this and will often repeatedly ask for unnecessary proof or deny entitlements. People diagnosed with “gender dysphoria” are entitled to disability allowance funding toward facial hair removal, and their gender is not up for discussion. It is not the place of WINZ staff to second-guess a specialist’s diagnosis or prescribed treatment.
“I’m sorry, are you second guessing my medical specialist?” and “can I see your policy which requires more evidence than a medical certificate?” are some responses to invasive requests. We recommend taking a support person to WINZ appointments, as these appointments are often reported to be distressing. Discuss beforehand how you will handle invasive questioning, to avoid becoming upset or giving more information than you are required to give or feel comfortable giving.
If you would like support with transition issues, information on accessing funding through WINZ, etc, you’re welcome to contact us. We have peer support workers who can discuss these kinds of issues with you. You can also download a letter of support from GMA here.