Community Services Card
What you get
A Community Services Card can reduce healthcare costs. Anyone on a low income who is aged 16 or over, a NZ citizen or permanent resident and normally lives here, can apply.
A Community Services Card can help you and your family with cheaper healthcare costs. You'll pay less for some health services by simply showing your card. Work and Income administer it on behalf of the Ministry of Health.
Your Community Services Card can only be used by you for yourself and any dependent children in your care. It can't be used by the rest of your family including your partner.
What a Community Services Card can help with
A Community Services Card reduces the cost of:
- full-priced prescriptions
- visits to a doctor, including after hours doctors and doctors who aren't your normal doctor
- glasses for children under 16 years
- emergency dental treatment
- travel and accommodation for public hospital treatment if you've been referred away from your home area
- home help.
You may also find that there are other discounts available for Community Services Card holders such as discounts for home insulation or entry to council swimming pools.
If you have a SuperGold or Veteran SuperGold Card, you get a combined card.
It will look like your normal SuperGold or Veteran SuperGold card but it has your Community Services Card information on the back.
Who can get it
You can apply for a Community Services Card if you are:
- at least 18 years old (or at least 16 and in full-time tertiary study), and
- on a low to middle income (the amount depends on your family situation), and
- a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident living here.
You can also apply if you have (or have applied for) refugee or protection status.
Your living situation and yearly income need to meet the requirements to get a card. Check the income limits table under 'Who can get it' on the Work and Income website. If you are unsure, discuss with Work and Income when you apply.
Benefits and pensions that include a card
You automatically get a Community Services Card if you get any of the following:
- Jobseeker Support
- Sole Parent Support
- Supported Living Payment
- Emergency Benefit
- Youth Payment
- Young Parent Payment
- Residential Care Subsidy
- Veteran's Pension (this will be a combined SuperGold and Community Services card)
- Student Allowance (unless your partner is working, and then you have to apply).
You'll automatically get a card for the child if you get any of the following child support:
- Orphan's Benefit
- Unsupported Child's Benefit
- Child Disability Allowance.
You can sign the card on your child's behalf.
Before you apply
When you apply for a Community Services Card:
- you'll need proof of your identity, and
- Work and Income may ask you for proof of your income.
You'll also need the same information for your partner if you have one.
What you need depends on your situation. Look on the form or phone Work and Income and they'll tell you what to send in with your application.
How you apply
To apply for a Community Services Card you can:
- phone Work and Income on 0800 999 999
- pick up a form from
- your doctor
- a pharmacy, or
- a Work and Income service centre, or
- download a form from the Work and Income website.
How long it takes
Work and Income will send you a letter telling you if you'll get a card. If you qualify, your card will be included with the letter.
It can take 3 weeks for your card to arrive. Keep receipts for doctor's visits or prescription costs and you can claim them back later.
To claim these back, phone 0800 999 999 and Work and Income will send you a form. When you return it with the receipts you'll be refunded.
Once you have the card
Community Services Cards have an expiry date printed on the front of the card. When it expires you can apply for another one if you still meet the requirements.
If you automatically got a card because of a benefit you're still getting, a new one will be sent to you before the old one expires.
Sometimes a renewal form is sent instead of a new card. If you get a renewal form, complete it and return it.
If you're no longer getting a benefit and a renewal form isn't sent to you, you'll have to apply if you want a new card.
Other help you can get
If you and your family have paid for 20 prescriptions after 1 February in a year, you can get a prescription subsidy. You won't have to pay for new prescriptions until 1 February the next year.
If you visit your doctor more than 12 times a year, ask about getting a High Use Health Card. This may reduce the cost of your future visits and some prescriptions.
If you have any questions about Community Services Cards, or need help with the application form, talk to Work and Income by:
- phoning 0800 999 999
- faxing their DeafLink free-fax 0800 621 621, or by
- visiting a Work and Income service centre.
If you have questions about a Community Services Card that's included in a SuperGold Card or a Veteran SuperGold Card, phone 0800 25 45 65.