1 Dec 2022

Dental special needs grant increases for first time in 25 years

11:15 am on 1 December 2022
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Photo: 123rf.com

The government has increased the dental special needs grant for the first time since the 1990s.

From today, the Ministry of Social Development dental grant has increased from $300 to $1000.

Those who receive money would not need to pay it back and the total of $1000 could be used over a number of procedures in one year.

The grant would also no longer be given only to those who were in pain and whose need came from an emergency situation.

It can be used for 'immediate and essential' dental treatment, including fillings and treatment of gum infection.

In 2021, about 40,000 people got an advance payment of their benefit to meet emergency dental costs - an average of $870 per person, the ministry said.

The ministry said the change would mean 40,000 - 50,000 would receive help with dental costs each year without needing to go into debt.

A report released in November found 40 percent of New Zealanders - and half of Māori and Pasifika people - can't afford dental care.

The changes to the dental grant would cost the government $125.804 million and were announced as part of the 2022 Budget.

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