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More Elligible For Community Services Card

Income Thresholds for Community Services Card Eligibility To Rise

Health Minister Annette King said today she was pleased more people will be able to access cheaper primary health services now the Cabinet had agreed to raise the threshold for eligibility for the Community Services Card.

"About 48,000 extra people will be able to access community services cards when the income threshold is raised on April 1 this year," Mrs King said.

The income-tested card is for low to middle income people and their dependents, and gives them access to lower costs when visiting a doctor and for medication. The National Community Service Card Centre already issues cards to more than 1.3 million people.

"The purpose of the card is to reduce barriers to accessing primary health care. Many low-income families have severe health problems and it is crucial there are as few barriers as possible. The card also assists some people to qualify for free home support services without a further means test. Some people may also be offered help if they live a long way from a hospital and need frequent hospital treatment," Mrs King said.

Mrs King said the broadening of the income threshold was a result of the increase in New Zealand Superannuation. "The Government wanted to ensure those with increased income from New Zealand Superannuation would continue to be entitled to the card. It would not be right just to increase the threshold for people who have New Zealand Superannuation, so the new thresholds will apply to everyone."

The new thresholds (with former limits in brackets) from April 1 will be: Single, sharing accommodation $18,586 ($17,769); single, living alone $19,689 ($18,846); couple, no dependents $29,398 ($28,000); two person family, one adult, one child $29,398 ($28,000); three person family $34,243 ($32,846); four person family $39,089 ($37,692); five person family $43,935 ($42,538); six person family $48,782 ($47,385). For each additional child income limits will still increase by $4840.

ends

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