3rd Gender Option for MSD

3rd Gender Option for MSD

Thanks in part to the activism and political advocacy of a number of individual trans people and some community organisations, the Ministry of Social Development has carried out community consultation and added a ‘gender diverse’ option to their systems.

You can choose whether to use male, female, or gender diverse, just the same way you can choose ethnicity – with no supporting documentation. You do not need to change your birth certificate or other ID to changer your gender marker with MSD.

It is free to update your details with MSD, and if you are currently getting support from MSD (Work and Income/WINZ, and StudyLink), you can update your gender marker in person or by calling WINZ 0800 559 009 or StudyLink 0800 88 99 00

Voice Therapy Funding

Voice Therapy Funding


Any trans person can get funding for voice therapy through WINZ if they meet these requirements. They don’t have to be on welfare to get the disability allowance or child disability allowance.

Medical Certificate

A medical certificate from a doctor or specialist is necessary. This must clearly state that voice therapy is an ”essential medical treatment” prescribed for a medical condition. The most common medical condition used is “Gender Dysphoria”.


Quotes for treatment are available from vocal coaches, voice therapists, or speech therapists if they provide the right kind of vocal training (generally changing the pitch of the voice). 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. It may be necessary to obtain quotes from multiple different clinics to show the cost comparison.

WINZ Appointment

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. Trans people are entitled to disability allowance funding toward voice therapy, 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.