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Community Services Card – a guide

A Community Services Card gives you discounts on doctor visits, prescription fees and more if you’re on a low income.

If you’re a low income earner you may be able to get a Community Services Card and receive discounts on a range of healthcare costs. In this guide you can find out if you’re eligible, what you can use the card for and how to apply.

What is a Community Services Card?

Work and Income administers Community Service Cards on behalf of the Ministry of Health. The card acts as proof of eligibility for discounted services and includes your Work and Income client number and your name. You can present this card to receive a discount on certain healthcare services such as doctors, dentists and pharmacy prescriptions.

Who is eligible?

There are two ways you can get a Community Services Card:

  1. You’ll be sent one automatically if you’re receiving a benefit, such as Jobseeker Support, Emergency Benefit, Accommodation Supplement, or living in a Housing New Zealand home.
  2. You can apply for a card if you’re not on a benefit as long as you meet certain criteria. To apply you must be:
  • A New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • Normally living in New Zealand
  • 16 years of age or over and not a dependent
  • Earning less than the income cut-off

You may also be eligible if you are 16 or 17 years of age and studying full time.

Income limits

The Community Services Card is income-tested, meaning that you won’t be eligible if you earn over a certain amount. The income cut-off point depends on whether you’re an individual or a couple, and if you have children or not.

You will need to factor in the different income sources that you have to determine whether you are eligible including:

  • Wages or salary
  • Student Allowance
  • Investment income (interest or dividends)
  • ACC payments
  • Rental income
  • NZ Superannuation or private pensions
  • Working for Families Tax Credits

For a single person that lives with others, the maximum income before tax is $27,590. If you’re married or a de facto couple, you need to be earning no more than $43,784 per year.

A family of 4 can be eligible on a maximum income of $75,945 and a family of 6 can be eligible if they earn under $96,819.

You can find a full list of income limits on the Work and Income website.

What can you use a Community Services Card for?

You can use a Community Services Card to get discounts on a range of healthcare services including:

  • Doctor’s visits
  • ACC visits
  • Prescriptions
  • After hours doctors
  • Glasses for children under 16
  • Emergency dentists (must be an approved provider)
  • Travel and accommodation for hospital visits outside your local area
  • Home help

Some service providers such as charities, cinemas and local councils also offer discounts for customers that hold a Community Services Card.

You should keep your card with you when using healthcare services so that you can get the discounts available. Your doctor and some other services that you visit regularly may keep your card details on file so you don’t need to keep showing it at every visit.

How to apply

If you haven’t automatically been sent a Community Services Card you can apply by downloading an application form from the Work and Income website or ring 0800 999 999 to be sent a form through the post.

Once you have completed the application form, you can send it to the postal address on the form. You will need to provide one form of ID and two supporting documents with your application so that WINZ can verify who you are. These can be original documents or certified copies.

Accepted forms of ID

  • Passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Driver’s licence
  • Marriage certificate
  • Citizenship certificate
  • Residency visa/permit

The document must have been issued by a New Zealand Government Department and show your full legal name and date of birth.

Accepted supporting documents

  • Utility bill
  • Hire purchase bill
  • Tenancy agreement
  • Tax assessment
  • Rates notice
  • Car registration form
  • Birth or marriage certificate
  • Pay slip
  • Bank account statements
  • Insurance policy
  • Letter from a doctor, Justice of the Peace, clergyman, kaumatua, Women’s Refuge co-ordinator.
One of these documents must be at least two years old.

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