Take a look at the range of benefits and payments we have available.
Redundancy, health condition or disability or another reason you can’t work
Food, school costs, power, accommodation or other living expenses you need help with
You’ve had a relationship break-up, family breakdown or violent relationship end
Health and Disability
Counselling, prescription and GP costs, medical alarms and other costs we can help with
Travelling overseas, how to apply, payment rates and dates, overseas pensions, income and other info for Seniors
Caring for someone else’s child or someone with a health condition, injury or disability
Urgent or unexpected costs
Dental, glasses, car repairs, fridge, washing machine, funeral or other urgent costs you need help with
Childcare, school uniforms, stationery, having a baby and other costs if you have children
Fixing issues with Accommodation Supplement, Special Benefit and other payments we’ve made
16-19 year olds
Education, training, work and benefit help for 16-19 year olds
Benefits and forms
A-Z list of benefits, forms, benefit rates
Find out what services we can offer to help you find work and when you start a new job.
Looking for work
We have jobs available now in various industries and you can search on our job websites.
Help with your job search
From advice on making a plan, to tips on where to look and following up leads.
Training and experience
Our programmes can help you get ready for work with training and work experience.
Apprenticeship Support Programme
Get help to retain and bring on new apprentices.
CVs and cover letters
We’ve got great templates and advice for writing your CV or cover letter, and filling out job applications.
Help with work costs
Get help to pay for the things you need to start work
Job support and advice
Get all the support and advice you need to stay in work.
Health and disability
If you want to work, we can support you to find the right job for you.
Start your own business
We can help you get your business up and running.
Get advice about how to prepare for and deliver a great interview.
Help for 16-19 year olds
We’ve got extra support for young people to get ready for work and find a job.
Check out what you need to do when you're getting a benefit or other payment from us.
Address, contact details, overseas travel, childcare, relationship or anything else that’s changed.
Declare income, wages deduction calculator and tables
Change in your childcare situation, continue childcare payments, cohort entry schools and other childcare information
Re-apply for Jobseeker Support, Sole Parent Support, Temporary Additional Support and more
Check or stop your payments, payment cards and other information
Check your debt, repayments and other debt information
Rights and responsibilities
Our commitment to you, obligations, complaints, benefit fraud and more
Find out how we can help you with housing.
Nowhere to stay
Get help if you have nowhere to stay right now.
Find a house
Find out where to look for private housing, or apply for public (social) housing.
Living in your home
Get help with accommodation costs, and advice on any housing issues and public housing tenancies.
Find out how we can help if you’re moving house.
Community Services Card
The Community Services Card can help you and your family with the costs of health care. Always carry your card to make it easy to get the benefits, like paying less on some health services and prescriptions.
- You don't have to be on a benefit to qualify for the card.
- You can also use the card for your dependent children under 18.
- From September 2022, you may be able to get a 50% discount on standard adult fares for public transport if you have a Community Services Card. Check with your regional transport provider closer to September for more details.
We administer the Community Services Card on behalf of the Ministry of Health.
Who can get it
You may get the Community Services Card if you:
- are 16 or over
- are not a dependent child
- are a New Zealand citizen
- are a permanent resident, or
- have, or have applied for, refugee or protection status
- normally live in New Zealand and intend to stay here.
You may also be able to get it if you either:
- are 16 or 17 and studying full-time at a University or polytechnic, or
- a veteran who gets paid from Veterans’ Affairs either a:
- Scheme 1 Weekly Income Compensation, or
- Scheme 2 Weekly Compensation.
It also depends on how much income you and your partner get.
By income, we mean any money, goods and services you or your partner get from any source, such as:
- New Zealand Superannuation
- Student Allowance
- interest or dividends from investments
- income from a business or a family trust maintenance payments from child support
- Working for Families Tax Credits from Inland Revenue
- ACC payments
- private pensions
- income from rents
- any regular benefits you get, like free board, meals or transport.
|You may be able to get a card if you're...||And your yearly income (before tax) is less than...|
|Single - living with others||$29,570|
|Single - living alone||$31,380|
|Married, civil union or de facto couple - no children||$46,925|
|NZ Superannuation single, sharing accommodation||$31,443|
|NZ Superannuation single, living alone||$33,446|
|NZ Superannuation married, civil union or de facto relationship - no children||$50,197|
|Family of 2||$57,317|
|Family of 3||$70,551|
|Family of 4||$81,393|
|Family of 5||$92,042|
|Family of 6||$103,764|
|For families of more than 6, the limit goes up another $10,517 for each extra person|
Get a private pension
If you also get New Zealand Superannuation, only half of your private pension may count as income.
If you don't get New Zealand Superannuation, the whole amount of your private pension will be counted as income.
What you can use it for
The Community Services Card can reduce the cost of:
- visits to a health practitioner, eg, a doctor, if you're enrolled at their practice (for yourself, and your dependent children aged 14-17)
- ACC visits to a general practice (eg a doctor or nurse) if you are injured. You don't need to be enrolled at the practice
- prescription fees
- fees for after-hours health practitioner visits
- glasses for children under 16
- emergency dental care provided by:
- hospitals, and
- approved dental contractors (ask the dental provider if they are an approved contractor)
- travel and accommodation for treatment at a public hospital you've been referred to outside your area:
- at least 80km away for adults
- at least 25km for children
- home help.
Many prescription items are subsidised by the government. If you have a Community Services Card, you'll pay a small fee. For children under 14, the prescription items are free.
Sometimes there are part-charges or other pharmacy fees you still need to pay.
Health practitioner visits for children under 14
The Community Services Card won't cover the cost of children under 14 visiting a health practitioner, eg, a doctor, with their enrolled general practice. This is because most visits for children under 14 are already free. If your health practitioner has an extra charge, you will have to pay it.
When we automatically send you a card
We'll automatically send you and your partner a Community Services Card if you and your partner are getting:
- Jobseeker Support
- Sole Parent Support
- Supported Living Payment
- Emergency Benefit
- Youth Payment
- Young Parent Payment
- Veteran's Pension
- Accommodation Supplement.
We'll also automatically send you and your partner a card if you're living in public housing, eg a Kāinga Ora (used to be Housing New Zealand) house.
If you're getting Working For Families Tax Credits from Inland Revenue and your income is below the limit for a Community Services Card you may be sent a card automatically.
Residential Care Subsidy
If you get Residential Care Subsidy, we'll automatically send you a card. If you have a partner, they'll need to apply for their own card.
If you get a Student Allowance, we'll automatically send you a card once your allowance is approved. But if you have a partner who's working, you'll need to apply.
Supporting a child
We'll automatically send you a Community Services Card for a child you support if you're getting:
- Orphans Benefit
- Unsupported Child's Benefit
- Child Disability Allowance
You can sign the card on the child's behalf.
How to apply
If you're getting a benefit or payment from us, we may automatically send you a card, it depends what benefit or payment you get.
If you don't automatically get a card sent to you, you'll need to apply for one.
Step 1 - Fill out an application form
You can get an application form in any of these ways:
- download the application form below
- ring us on 0800 999 999 and ask for one
- fax us on our DeafLink free-fax 0800 621 621
- ask a health practitioner, eg, your family doctor or pharmacy.
If you get Working for Families Tax Credits, you'll be sent an application form automatically.
Step 2 - Gather your documents
You need to provide 3 documents as proof of identity when you apply for a Community Services Card.
Step 3 - Send everything to us
Send your application form and documents to us at the address on the application form.
What happens next
We'll process your application and let you know if we need anything else.
We may send you a letter asking you for proof of your income. We'll explain what you need to send.
- If you're self-employed, you must send us your latest full set of business accounts and tax summaries.
- You can ask your accountant to send us your financial details, but they can't sign the application form for you.
If your application is approved, we'll send you a Community Services Card.
When you get your card
On your card is the date it starts and expires You can continue to use the card until it expires, even if your circumstances change.
Costs you paid before you got your card
Your card has the date it starts and expires. Sometimes, your card might start before you get it in the mail. During this time, you may have paid full price for:
- after-hours health practitioner visits
If you did, you may be able to claim some of these costs back.
To claim them, you need to:
- fill out the 'Reimbursement of Health Overcharges Application Form'
- gather all your original receipts
- send your application form and receipts to:
PO Box 5054
If your application is approved, we'll:
- work out how much the Community Services Card would have covered and how much you would have paid
- pay the cost of what the Community Services Card would have covered into your bank account.
Renewing your card
If your card is due to expire, it will need to be renewed. It takes 3 weeks to get a replacement card.
How you renew your card depends on what benefit or payment you're getting from us.
Main benefit, Veteran's Pension, Accommodation Supplement or Residential Care Subsidy
If you get a main benefit, Veteran's Pension, Accommodation Supplement or a Residential Care Subsidy, we'll send you a new card before your old one expires. Examples of main benefits are:
- Jobseeker Support
- Sole Parent Support
- Supported Living Payment.
If your benefit, Veteran's Pension, Accommodation Supplement or Residential Care Subsidy has been stopped for any reason, you need to re-apply for a new card.
Living in public housing
If you live in a public house, eg, a Kāinga Ora (used to be Housing New Zealand) house, we'll send you a new card before your old one expires.
If you move out of your public house, you need to re-apply for a new card.
Going from a benefit to NZ Super
If you're on a benefit and going onto New Zealand Superannuation, you can use your card until it expires. Then you'll need to re-apply for a new card.
Your NZ Super will be counted as income when you re-apply.
NZ Super or Working for Families Tax Credits
If you get New Zealand Superannuation or Working for Families Tax Credits, we'll send you a new card before your old one expires.
Some people are sent a renewal form. If you get a renewal form, you need to fill it in and send it back straight away.
Don't get a benefit or payment from us
If you don't get any of these benefits or payments from us, we'll send you a renewal form before your card expires. You need to fill it in and send it back straight away.
Can't get Community Services Card
If you can't get the Community Services Card, you may be able to get a:
- Prescription subsidy
- High Use Health Card.
These are both managed by the Ministry of Health.
You can get a prescription subsidy if you and your family have collected 20 subsidised prescription items in a year. The year starts on 1 February. Once you've collected 20, any other subsidised prescriptions are free for the rest of that year.
You will still need to pay a small fee for a prescription from a private clinician, such as a specialist or optometrist. If you have a High Use Health Card as well as a prescription subsidy, a fee won't be charged.
Talk to a health practitioner, eg, your pharmacist, about a prescription subsidy. You must have kept a record of the prescriptions you've gotten. They may keep a record for you.
High Use Health Card
This card can help if you visit a health practitioner, eg, your doctor, at least 12 times in 12 months for an ongoing health condition.
Please talk to your health practitioner if you think you qualify for the High Use Health Card.