Dental treatment

If you're on a low income or benefit, we may be able to help pay towards the cost of dental treatment, especially if it's urgent.


From 1 December 2022, you can apply for up to $1,000 in a 52-week period for immediate and essential dental work. This change is part of Budget 2022.

We may not be able to cover the full cost of your dental treatment.

You don't have to be on a benefit to qualify for this help.

Remember you may have to pay some of the money back, depending on your situation.

Who can get it

You may be able to get help for dental treatment for you or a child, if whoever needs it is in serious pain and the dentist has said that urgent work needs to be done.

We may also be able to help pay for other essential dental work that needs to be done.

Whatever your situation, to apply you need to:

  • be 16 or over (if you're 16 to 19 and have a Youth Service provider, contact Youth Services)
  • be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • normally live in New Zealand and intend to stay here
  • have an immediate and essential need.

It also depends on:

  • how much you and your partner earn
  • any money or assets you and your partner have.

Your income will be assessed either weekly or yearly, depending on the kind of help you qualify for. The following income and asset limits usually apply.

Asset limits

These don't include what you need for day-to-day living, eg your home or your car. They do include money in the bank, or things like a caravan or a second property.

If you are: Your assets are worth less than
Single $1,193.21
Couple (with or without children) or sole parent $1,988.20

Current income limits

The income limits were temporarily increased until 30 June 2022.

If you are: Weekly income before tax is less than Weekly income limit (before tax) from 1 November 2021 until 30 June 2022
Single and 16 to 17 years old $514.41 $678.07
Single and 18 years old or over $591.20 $847.59
Couple (with or without children) $858.72 $1695.18
Sole parent with 1 child $717.40 $1165.44
Sole parent with 2 or more children $755.82 $1483.29

Other help available

If you need dental treatment because of an injury, you may able to get help through ACC

If you're under 18, you may be able to get free dental treatment through Ministry of Health

What you can get

Urgent dental treatment

If you need help with urgent dental treatment, we generally pay up to $300.

We usually only make payments for urgent dental treatment once a year. You may be able to get help for more than one treatment in a year, or help with treatment over $300, but you might have to pay some of this back.

Essential dental treatment

How much you get depends on your situation.

Community Services Card

If you have a Community Services Card, you may be able to get dental treatment through your local hospital.

Talk to a health practitioner, eg, your doctor or dentist, about this.

How to apply

You need to contact your dentist to get costs for the treatment you need.

If the cost is under $300 and you haven’t had help from us within the last 12 months, you won’t need to show us evidence of your dental costs. If you’ve had help for other one-off costs in the past 12 months, or the costs are more than $300, you may need to show us evidence of your dental costs. We'll let you know if this is needed.

If you're a new client: You will need to call us. We'll talk with you to understand your situation and how we can help, and let you know if you need to do anything else.

If you're a current client: You may be able to apply using MyMSD. MyMSD will tell you what information is needed and if you need to talk with us. If you can't use MyMSD you can call us and we'll book you an appointment to come in and see us. We'll tell you what you need to bring.

If your payment's approved, we'll send you a text or email to confirm.

What happens next

We'll give you a payment card (if you don't already have one) and load the money onto it.

You have 7 working days to pay the dentist before it expires.

You'll pay the dentist with your payment card (much like an Eftpos card). Check with your dentist to see if they accept them. If they don't, they can register online as a supplier.

You can also login to MyMSD to see how much you have left on your payment card and when the grant expires.

Sign up or login to MyMSD