Community Services Card

The Community Services Card can help you with the costs of health services, prescriptions and public transport.

Did you know?

  • You don’t have to be on a benefit to qualify for the card.
  • You can also use the card for healthcare services for your dependent children under 18.
  • Our Student Support team are more than happy to help you fill in the Community Services Card application form and sort the right supporting documents. Please just email to ask for help.

You can get a Community Services Card if you:

  • are 16 or over
  • and are either:
    • a New Zealand citizen, or
    • a permanent resident, or
    • have, or have applied for, refugee or protection status.
  • normally live in New Zealand and intend to stay here.

If you’re a dependent child, you can only get a Community Services Card, if your parent or caregiver is getting the:

  • Orphans Benefit
  • Unsupported Child's Benefit, or
  • Child Disability Allowance.

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. 

Visit the Work and Income Community Services Card page for more info about types of income and income limits.

The Community Services Card can reduce the cost of:

  • visits to a health practitioner (e.g. a doctor or nurse) if you're enrolled at their practice (for yourself, and your dependent children aged 14-17)
  • ACC visits to a general practice if you're injured (you may not need to be enrolled at their practice - it depends on the practice)
  • unsubsidised or partially subsidised prescription fees
  • fares for public transport including trains, buses and some ferries
  • 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.

If your child is under 14 and visits their health practitioner (e.g. doctor) at their enrolled practice, it will usually be free. If the health practitioner has an extra charge, the Community Services Card won't cover it. You'll need to pay for it.

If you need a prescription, there may be part-charges or other pharmacy fees to pay. The Community Services Card won't cover this. You'll need to pay for it.

Step 1 - Fill out an application form

You can get an application form in any of these ways:

If you get Working for Families Tax Credits, you'll be sent an application form automatically.

Step 2 - Gather your documents

When you apply, you need to prove who you are and that what you’ve told us is true.

You must provide original documents or certified true copies. Check out the ‘How OP can help you apply’ section below for info about how we can support you with certified copies.

If you have a partner, they’ll need to provide these documents as well.

You need to provide two forms of ID. You’ll need to provide either:

  • Two Government-issued IDs
  • One Government-issued ID and one other document that proves your identity.

If you’ve had a benefit before, you don’t need to provide this evidence. 

Government-issued ID

You'll need to provide 2 forms of Government issued ID. What you can provide depends on whether you were born in New Zealand or overseas.

1. Born in New Zealand

You must also provide full birth certificates for any children in your care.

2. Born overseas

Proof of your lawful residence in New Zealand e.g.

  • New Zealand passport
  • Other country passport with residence visa
  • Citizenship certificate

You must also provide full birth certificates for any children in your care.

You will need to provide originals or certified copies of the identification for verification. 

Other documents that prove your identity:

If you can't provide two types of Government-issued ID, you'll need to provide one Government-issued ID and one of the following:

  • Household accounts, eg:
    • utility bills such as power and phone,
    • documents from suppliers of goods and services such as hire purchase agreements or a tenancy agreements

  • Other Government issued documents, eg:
    • tax assessment
    • rates notice
    • car registration form
    • licences
    • birth or marriage certificate
    • passport from another country

  • Employment related documents, eg:
    • a support letter from an employer (past or present)
    • pay slips

  • Bank/insurance company documents, eg:
    • bank account statements
    • mortgage papers
    • insurance policy

  • Health/education organisation documents, eg:
    • student ID card
    • school report
    • school leaving certificate
    • doctors bill
    • degree or trade certificate
    • Kiwi Access card (18+)

  • Support letters from prominent community members, eg:
    • Justice of the Peace
    • Doctor
    • kaumatua
    • clergyman
    • Women's Refuge co-ordinator.

1. Our Student Support team is more than happy to help you fill out your Community Services Card application.

Please email to ask for help. 

2. We have Justices of the Peace (JPs) on campus who are very happy to certify your documents.

Please email one of the JPs below to make an appointment.

Name Role Location Contact details
Dr Karole Hogarth-Caulfield Principal Lecturer,  
School of Nursing 
H210, H Block 
Cnr Forth St & Union St East Dunedin Campus

 Steve Downey Chaplain, Student
Success Team 
The Hub, H Block 
Cnr Forth St & Union St East Dunedin Campus 

021 338 800

Steve Brook 


Lecturer, College of Engineering, Construction and Living Sciences


A120a, A Block 
Forth Street 
Dunedin Campus


More JP options: 

Otago Museum

If you are unable to make an appointment with one of our Dunedin Campus JPs, you may wish to attend a ‘no booking required’ JP Clinic. This is available on Wednesdays, from 9am – 3pm at Otago Museum. 

University of Otago   

For JP enquiries on the University of Otago campus, please contact AskOtago 0800 80 80 98 or visit  

Otago JP Association

The Otago JP Association provides the following service desks in Dunedin:  

City Library (First Floor)
Monday, 4.30pm - 7pm
Friday, 10.00am - 12.30 pm