- meet an income test
Eligibility & payment rates
Eligibility for Low Income Health Care Card
You may be eligible for a Low Income Health Care Card if you are on a low income and meet the Low Income Health Care Card income test.
The card is not subject to an assets test but it is subject to 6 monthly renewals.
Students and Australian Apprentices
If you are a student or Australian Apprentice and receive Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY or Austudy, you will not automatically receive a Health Care Card but may still qualify for a Low Income Health Care Card.
If you have a Low Income Health Care Card and you share the care of a child, your child’s name will be listed on your Health Care Card if the amount of shared care is at least 14% of the time 2 or more nights per fortnight.
Concessions and discounts for Low Income Health Care Card
A Low Income Health Care Card entitles you to:
- cheaper medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
You may also be entitled to:
- concessions offered by private companies, and
- state and territory government and local council concessions, such as:
- energy and electricity bills
- health-care costs, including ambulance and dental and eye care
- public-transport costs
- educational fees, and
- water rates
Please check with your state or territory government to find out what concessions are available to Low Income Health Care Card holders. Concessional entitlements may vary between states and territories.
When using services covered by Medicare, you will need to present your Medicare card with your Health Care Card.
Income test for Low Income Health Care Card
Your Low Income Health Care Card is assessed on gross income for the 8 week period ending on the day you lodge your claim.
Residence requirements for the Low Income Health Care Card
To be eligible for a Low Income Health Care Card you must satisfy residence requirements.
You must be living in Australia and:
- have Australian citizenship
- hold a permanent visa
- hold a special category visa, or
- hold a partner provisional visa (subclass 309 or 820), an interdependency visa (subclass 310 or 826) or a temporary protection visa
You must also:
- be physically present in Australia on the day you lodge your claim, and
- continue to meet the residence requirements for as long as you hold this card
Newly arrived residents generally have a 104 week waiting period, with some exemptions.
Other benefits while receiving a Low Income Health Care Card
If you qualify for a Low Income Health Care Card, you may be entitled to other payments and services such as:
Once you have read about eligibility the next steps are:
- register an intent to claim
- read the conditions for claiming
- decide how you will submit your claim, online or in person
- complete your forms
- complete the supporting documentation
- submit your claim
- we will assess your claim and let you know the outcome
Managing your card
You can do most of your Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support business using self service. There are options using mobile apps, online services or phone self service.
Change of circumstances while receiving the Low Income Health Care Card
You need to tell us if your circumstances change when you are receiving a Low Income Health Care Card. For example, if:
- your personal circumstances change
- you change your address
- your income changes
- you do not have to lodge a tax return
- your care arrangements change
- your work or study load changes, or
- you leave Australia
If you do not tell us about the changes within 14 days, your entitlement may be affected.
If you deliberately do not tell us about changes, you could be charged with fraud.
Renewing a Low Income Health Care Card
Your Low Income Health Care Card needs to be renewed every six months. You will need to reapply to renew your card and meet the income test. You can renew your Low Income Health Care Card using Centrelink account online or by using the form that will be sent to you.
If you renew your card online, your current Centrelink information will automatically be displayed, so you only need to update any information that has changed. You will need to Register for an online account at a level 2 access or higher to be able to renew your card online.
Lost or stolen card
Payments paid while outside Australia
To get your payment while outside Australia you must continue to meet the qualification rules for that payment.
Someone to deal with us on your behalf
If you would prefer to have someone else handle your business with us, you can authorise a person or an organisation to deal with us on your behalf.
Information you need to know about your claim for a Low Income Health Care Card
Concession and health care cards
More information can be found on our Concession and health care card page.