What is a Community Services Card?
Having a Community Services Card can help you and your family with the costs of health care. All you need to do is show your card to the pharmacy, doctor, or other service provider. It can reduce the costs of
- prescriptions from a provider who is not contracted by the Ministry of Health, a district health board or a PHO (e.g. a private specialist)
- visits to a doctor who is not your regular doctor, including those at an after-hours clinic
- glasses for children under 16 years old
- emergency dental care by an approved provider
- travel and accommodation for treatment at a public hospital to which you have been referred, if it is outside of your area
- home help
You can also get discounts on some local government-funded leisure activities (e.g. swimming pools) and free or discounted services from other organisations (e.g. curtain banks).
Your Community Service Card can also be used to get discounts for your children aged less than 18 years.
For more information see the Work and Income Community Services Card webpage.
Who can get a Community Services Card? How do I get one?
You’ll automatically receive one if you are receiving one of the main Work and Income benefits. Otherwise, you can apply for one if you are:
- over 18 years old (or aged 16-17 years and either studying full-time or working and supporting yourself) and
- on a low to middle income (the amount depends on your family situation) and
- a permanent legal resident or New Zealand citizen.
To get a Community Services Card you can call Work and Income tollfree on 0800 999 999 (from a landline only - otherwise you can email them), if you or ask at one of their offices. You can also download an application form and find out more on their Community Services Card web page. You'll need to provide proof of your identity and income.
Can I get a Community Services Card if I am receiving NZ Superannuation?
Yes you can, as long as your income is within the eligibility limit (see the previous question - your superannuation counts as income) and you fit the other criteria.
If you’re receiving NZ Superannuation and successfully apply for a Community Services Card, you’ll receive a new SuperGold Card/Community Service Card which is a combination of both cards and replaces your existing Super Gold Card. It will have “CSC” on the back.
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How do I find a dentist who can provide emergency dental care with the Community Services Card subsidy?
Community Services Card holders can get emergency dental care at a reduced cost at public hospitals. Not all public hospitals provide dental treatment, so you’ll need to check with your local District Health Board
Some ‘private’ dental care professionals are contracted to provide this service also. Your local CAB may be able to help you find one.
More information about dental care in New Zealand is on our Dentists
I applied for my Community Services Card but had to visit the after-hours medical centre before the card arrived. Can I get back some of the fee I paid for that doctor's visit?
Your Community Services Card is usually backdated to the date of your application which means that the charges you paid at full price while you were waiting for your card will probably be covered.
To apply for a reimbursement, make sure you keep your receipts and details as proof of these costs. You can call Work and Income on 0800 999 999 (from a landline only - otherwise you can email them) and ask them to send you a Reimbursement of health overcharges application form. (You can also apply for a reimbursement if you had to pay the full costs due to not having your High Use Health Card or Pharmaceutical Subsidy Card with you at the time.)
Any refunds you are entitled to will be paid into your bank account. You won't get everything back as the Community Services Card doesn't cover the full cost of a prescription or doctor's visit.
I've lost my Community Services Card, what should I do to get a replacement?
You can call Work and Income's Senior Support Centre (which also looks after SuperGold cards) on 0800 999 999 (from a landline only - otherwise you can email them), to get a replacement card. It might take a couple of weeks to get your replacement card, so make sure you keep your receipts for any costs which you can get reimbursed during this time.
If I don’t qualify for a Community Services Card is there anything else which can help me get more affordable health services?
All New Zealanders are eligible for publicly funded healthcare – this means you can get treatment at a public hospital for free, and your children aged up to 13 years can receive free dental treatment. You can read more about this on our Hospitals and Clinics
You can also get some of your health costs covered by ACC
if you are injured as the result of an accident.
If the GP practice at which you are enrolled is part of a Primary Health Organisation
(PHO) then you pay less to visit a GP there, and your prescriptions will cost less (as long as they came from a doctor at that practice). More about this is on our Doctors and primary health care page
If you don’t qualify for a Community Services Card, and – due to your health needs – require frequents visits to your GP or frequent prescriptions for medication, you may be eligible for a High Use Health Card
or a Pharmaceutical Subsidy Card