If you're on a low income or benefit, we may be able to help you pay for immediate and essential dental treatment.
Immediate and essential dental treatment includes treatment such as fillings and extractions, but not periodic cleaning or check-ups. See more examples in the ‘What you can get’ section.
You can apply for up to $1,000 a year (any 52-week period), to help with immediate and essential dental treatment. You don't have to pay this back.
We may still be able to help if the cost of your dental treatment is more than $1,000. You may need to pay some of this back, depending on your situation. Talk to us about how we can help.
You don't have to be on a benefit to qualify.
You may be able to get help for dental treatment for yourself or a child, if immediate and essential work needs to be done.
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 income or benefit you receive. The following income and asset limits usually apply:
|If you are:||Weekly income before tax is less than|
|Single, 16-17 years||$737.86|
|Single, 18+ years||$848|
|Couple (with or without children)||$1,231.72|
|Sole parent (1 child)||$1,029.02|
|Sole parent (2+ children)||$1,084.13|
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|
|married, civil union or de facto couple (with or without children) or sole parent||$1,988.20|
We can help pay for immediate and essential treatment, which can include:
- fillings for tooth restoration - not for cosmetic or for non-oral health issues
- root canal treatment (except molars)
- treatment of infection.
It does not include:
- regular dental check-ups
- cosmetic treatment
- scale and polish, and teeth cleaning (unless this treatment is required because of gum infection)
- cast restorations
- orthodontic treatment
- molar root canal treatment
- dentures. If you need help with dentures, there are other ways we can help, such as recoverable assistance or an advance payment of benefit. Talk to us about how we can help.
You can apply more than once a year (any 52-week period), up to a total of $1,000 for the period. You don’t have to apply for all the assistance at once. You don't have to pay this money back.
Payments over $1,000
If you need help with immediate and essential dental treatment that’s over $1,000, or that will bring your total payments within a 52-week period to over $1,000, we still may be able to help you meet this cost. You may need to pay some of this back. Talk to us about the options available to you.
Examples of how much we can pay
If you haven't had help from us for dental treatment in the last 52 weeks, we could pay up to $1,000 towards immediate and essential treatment.
If you got $1,000 for dental treatment on 12 December 2022, you wouldn't have any dental treatment funds available until 12 December 2023. If you need more treatment talk to us, we may still be able to help you.
More than one payment in a year
If you got $300 for dental treatment on 1 July 2022, and you need more treatment 6 months later, you still have up to $700 available to you. From 1 July 2023, the $300 that was used on 1 July 2022, would again be available. If no other payments had been made in that period, then you would have a total of $1,000 available for immediate and essential dental treatment.
Step 1: Get a Dental Treatment information form
Your dentist or health agency needs to complete a Dental Treatment information form. They will already have this form and will fill it in when they examine you.
The form will tell us:
- what dental treatment you need
- the cost of the treatment
- who is providing the treatment, and
- any other information that will help us assess your application.
We can only make payments to dentists or health agencies who are registered suppliers with us. You can ask them if they are registered with us. If they aren't, they can register online.
Step 2: Call us
To apply for this assistance, you need to call us. We will process your application over the phone. To do this, we need a copy of the completed Dental Treatment information form. There are different ways to get this form to us. You can either:
- do this while you're on the phone to us, using your phone to upload it. The StudyLink representative will explain to you how to do this. Or,
- drop the form off at a Work and Income service centre. Find a service centre - Work and Income. Please allow enough time for us to add it to your file before calling. Or,
- upload using Connect. Please allow enough time for us to add it to your file before calling.
Step 3: Get a payment card
If your application is approved, we'll load the money onto your Work and Income Payment Card. If you don't already have a Payment Card, you can pick one up from a Work and Income Service Centre.
You'll pay the dentist or health agency with your Payment Card (like an Eftpos card). In some cases, we may pay them directly.
You have 7 working days to pay your dentist or health agency before it expires. If you need more time, call us before the 7 day period has ended. You can also pay your dentist or health agency before you get the treatment, if you can't get an appointment within 7 days.
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, e.g. your doctor or dentist, about this.
ACC may be able to cover dental injuries caused by accidents, sports injuries, or as a result of medical or dental treatment.
Ministry of Health
The Ministry of Health has advice about emergency dental care, including how to find an after-hours dentist or how your local hospital can help.
You may be able to get publicly funded dental care if you’re under 18 years of age, or have a Community Services Card, or have a disability or medical condition.