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Government help with healthcare if you’re over 65

If you get NZ Super or a Veteran’s Pension, and you have a disability or health concern, you can apply for financial help or use services provided by the government to meet your health needs.

Financial help

The government helps to cover your expenses or subsidises the cost of your care by providing discount cards or paying your healthcare provider.

Day-to-day and regular costs

The main payment that helps with health and disability costs is the Disability Allowance. You can get up to $62.37 each week depending on your needs and your income. It helps you pay for medical, household and travel costs.

Disability Allowance

Paying for doctor’s visits and prescriptions

You can get help with the costs of visits to a doctor or specialist, and prescriptions if:

  • you’re on a limited income, or
  • you go to the doctor often.

Community Services Card

If you’re on a low income, a Community Services Card gives you discounts on healthcare.

Community Services Card

High Use Health Card

If you have an ongoing health problem that means you visit the doctor more than 12 times a year, a High Use Health Card reduces the cost of future visits and prescriptions.

High Use Health Card

Prescription subsidy scheme

If you’ve paid for 20 prescriptions since 1 February, a prescription subsidy reduces the cost of any more prescriptions you have until 31 January the following year.

Prescription subsidy scheme

Specialist visits

Visits to specialists are usually free if they’re arranged through your District Health Board or if you need to see a specialist after an accident. You might also be able to get help with transport and accommodation costs if you travel a long way or regularly go to a specialist.

Seeing a specialist

Moving to a rest home or into residential care

If you move into long-term care, you can apply for:

  • a Residential Care Subsidy if your income and assets are limited, or
  • a Residential Care Loan, which is paid back after you die or when your house is sold.

Paying for residential care

Help for partners staying at home

If your partner is in long-term residential care and getting the Residential Care Subsidy, then you’ll get a Special Disability Allowance. You can also apply for other financial help with extra costs of living on your own and visiting your partner.

Help for partners staying at home

Paying for care in your own home

If you have someone looking after you — not your partner — and you would otherwise need to move into a rest home, then they can apply for a Supported Living Payment.

Supported Living Payment

Paying for transport

You can use your SuperGold Card on public transport, but if your disability or health problem stops you from using these services, there is other help you can get with transport.

Using taxis

If you cannot use public transport, then you can apply for a 50% discount on taxi fares through the Total Mobility scheme.

About the Total Mobility scheme

Modifying your car

There’s funding from the Ministry of Health (MoH) to modify your car or other vehicle.

Vehicle modifications for disabled people 

If you cannot get MoH funding you can apply for a lottery grant.

Lottery grants for individuals with disabilities

If your partner is in a rest home or residential care

You’ll get a Special Disability Allowance to help with the cost of travel to visit your partner if they move into long-term care in a rest home or hospital.

Special Disability Allowance

You can also apply for other kinds of financial help from the government if you’re on a limited income.

Financial help and benefits over 65

Government help if you cannot get NZ Super or other benefits


The government also provides services that help with your care.

Help in your home

There is range of help you can get to stay in your own home, including help with:

  • daily personal tasks, such as showering and dressing
  • your nursing and medical needs, for example help to take medicine or get a medical alarm
  • cooking and meals
  • looking after your house and garden
  • making changes to your home so you can get around more easily
  • heating.

Help in your home

Before you can get these services, your local DHB assesses your needs.

Getting a needs assessment

Transport services

Some councils have services to help people with health problems or a disability get to medical appointments.

Find your local council by region

Services for veterans

Veterans’ Affairs offers services to veterans of the New Zealand Armed Forces, who have qualifying operational service.

Qualifying Operational Service — Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand

In most cases your health problem or disability needs to be related to your service.

Support for veterans and families