- 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 six monthly renewal.
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. Contact us for more information about your options to claim 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 per cent of the time, two 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
- concessions offered by private companies
- 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, 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 eight week period ending on the day you lodge your claim.
Residency requirements for Low Income Health Care Card
To meet residency requirements you must be an Australian resident and in Australia on the day that you lodge your claim.
To be an Australian resident, you must be living in Australia as:
- an Australian citizen
- the holder of a permanent resident visa
- the holder of a special-category visa–that is, someone with a New Zealand passport living in Australia, or
- a New Zealand citizen who was in Australia on 26 February 2001 or for 12 months in the two years immediately before that date, or who was assessed before 26 February 2004 as 'protected'
Newly arrived residents generally have a two-year waiting period. Some exemptions apply for refugees, holders of certain other permanent visas, Australian citizens, and in some circumstances their partners and dependent children.
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
Self service options
Our self service options are a quick and effective way to deal with us. You can use self service where it's convenient to you and manage things yourself:
- online - you need to register to use some of the services, then you can do many things where and when it suits you
- on your mobile device - our Express Plus mobile apps are simple, fast and convenient, giving you more choices for dealing with Centrelink
- on the phone - you can self-register for Centrelink Phone Self Service
- using a self service terminal at one of our Service Centres
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.
Retaining 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 retain your card and meet the income test. You can renew your Low Income Health Care Card using Centrelink Online Services or in person at your nearest service centre using the form that will be sent to you.
Lost or stolen card
Payments paid while outside Australia
There are rules about getting your payment when you leave Australia.
Someone to deal with us on your behalf
You can authorise another person or organisation to deal with us on your behalf and receive your Centrelink payments under a correspondence or nominee arrangement.