Dental treatment

If you're on a low income or benefit we may be able to help pay towards the cost of dental treatment, especially if it's urgent.


  • We may not be able to cover the full cost of treatment.
  • You don't have to be on a benefit to qualify for this help.
  • You may have to pay some of the money back depending on your situation.
  • Who can get it

    You may be able to get help for dental treatment for you or a child, if whoever needs it is in serious pain and the dentist has said that urgent work needs to be done.

    We may also be able to help pay for other essential dental work that needs to be done.

    Whatever your situation, to apply you need to:

    • be 16 or over (if you're 16-19 and have a Youth Service provider, contact Youth Services)
    • be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
    • normally live in New Zealand and intend to stay here
    • have an immediate and essential need.

    It also depends on:

    • how much you and your partner earn
    • any money or assets you and your partner have.

    Your income will be assessed either weekly or yearly, depending on the kind of help you qualify for. These income and asset limits usually apply:

    Income limits

    If you are: Weekly income before tax is less than Annual income before tax is less than Weekly income limit (before tax) from 1 November 2021 until 28 February 2022 Annual income limit (before tax) from 1 November 2021 until 28 February 2022
    single, 16-17 years $514.41 $26,749.32 $640.00 $33,280
    single, 18+ years $591.20 $30,742.40 $800.00 $41,600
    married, civil union or de facto couple (with or without children) $858.72 $44,653.44 $1600.00 $83,200
    sole parent (1 child) $717.40 $37,304.80 $1100.00 $57,200
    sole parent (2+ children) $755.82 $39,302.64 $1400.00 $72,800

    Asset limits

    These don't include what you need for day-to-day living, eg your home or your car. They do include money in the bank, or things like a caravan or a second property.

    If you are: Your assets are worth less than
    single $1,126.21
    married, civil union or de facto couple (with or without children) or sole parent $1,876.56

    Other help available

    If you need dental treatment because of an injury, you may able to get help through ACC

    If you're under 18, you may be able to get free dental treatment through Ministry of Health

  • What you can get

    Urgent dental treatment

    If you need help with urgent dental treatment, we generally pay up to $300.

    We usually only make payments for urgent dental treatment once a year. You may be able to get help for more than one treatment in a year, or help with treatment over $300, but you might have to pay some of this back.

    Essential dental treatment

    How much you get depends on your situation.

    Community Services Card

    If you have a Community Services Card, you may be able to get dental treatment through your local hospital.

    Talk to a health practitioner, eg, your doctor or dentist, about this.

  • How to apply

    You need to contact your dentist to get costs for the treatment you need.

    If the cost is under $300 and you haven’t had help from us within the last 12 months, you won’t need to show us evidence of your dental costs. If you’ve had help for other one-off costs in the past 12 months, or the costs are more than $300, you may need to show us evidence of your dental costs. We'll let you know if this is needed.

    If you're a new client: You will need to call us. We'll talk with you to understand your situation and how we can help, and let you know if you need to do anything else.

    If you're a current client: You may be able to apply using MyMSD. MyMSD will tell you what information is needed and if you need to talk with us. If you can't use MyMSD you can call us and we'll book you an appointment to come in and see us. We'll tell you what you need to bring.

    If your payment's approved, we'll send you a text or email to confirm.

  • What happens next

    We'll give you a payment card (if you don't already have one) and load the money onto it.

    You have 7 working days to pay the dentist before it expires.

    You'll pay the dentist with your payment card (much like an Eftpos card). Check with your dentist to see if they accept them. If they don't, they can register online as a supplier.

    You can also login to MyMSD to see how much you have left on your payment card and when the grant expires.

    Sign up or login to MyMSD