Foster Child Health Care Card

Access to cheaper Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme medications for foster children in your care and other concessions.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Eligibility

You may be eligible for a Foster Child Health Care Card if you are a foster carer, or caring for someone else's child. You do not need to be a formal foster carer to be eligible. Anyone, such as a grandparent, sibling or aunt, who is caring for a child that is not their natural or adopted child, is an informal foster carer and may be eligible.

The card is:

  • not subject to an income or assets test
  • issued in the name of the child in your care
  • automatically reissued when expired if you are still eligible

Entitlements

This card entitles the child in your care to cheaper medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

The card may also provide entitlement to some extra concessions from state and local government authorities and some private organisations. Health Care Card concessions vary in each state and territory. Please check with the organisation providing the concession.

Residence requirements

To be eligible for this card, you must satisfy residence requirements. You must be living in Australia and:

  • have Australian citizenship
  • hold a permanent visa, or
  • hold a special category visa

You must also:

  • be physically present in Australia on the day you submit your claim, and
  • continue to meet the residence requirements for as long as you hold this card

Your foster child must be living with you for as long as you hold this card.

Claiming

If you are a foster carer, you can claim the card when you claim Family Tax Benefit for your foster child.

If you are not eligible for Family Tax Benefit, you can claim the card either online or by using a paper claim form.

Before you start

Before you submit your claim, read the information you need to know about your claim for Foster Child Health Care Card.

Intent to claim

Register an intent to claim to let us know you will be applying soon.

You will then be sent a claim form in the mail.

An intent to claim will be automatically registered if you start an online claim for the Foster Child Health Care Card.

If you cannot register yourself, someone else can do it for you. Read more about someone to deal with us for you.

Start your claim online

If you already have a myGov account

Sign in to myGov to link to your Centrelink online account and do your Centrelink business.

Sign in to myGov

If you have a Centrelink online account

To do your business online, you need a myGov account and a Centrelink online account.

If you don't have a myGov account, create one today. Once you have created your account, you can link it to your Centrelink online account. Watch the video and read more on how to link your online account to myGov.

Create a myGov account

If you don't have a Centrelink online account

If you’ve been a Centrelink customer before

You’ll have a Customer Reference Number. Use this to register for an online account.

This is anyone who’s had a payment or concession from us before, no matter how long ago.

If you haven’t been a Centrelink customer before

Visit a service centre and tell us you want to register for an online account. You’ll need to bring photo ID with you.

This is anyone who’s never had a payment or concession from us before.

Register

Claiming with forms

Complete the Claim for a Health Care Card form you received in the mail or print one.

Supporting documents

You may need to provide some other documents to support your claim including:

Submit your claim

Online

If you are claiming online, you can submit your claim and most supporting documents electronically at the end of the process.

Read more about submitting your documents online.

Submit your confirmation of identity documents at a service centre within 14 days.

By form

Submit your form and supporting documents by post or in person at a service centre within 14 days of registering your intent to claim.

Claim outcome

If your claim is successful, we will send a Foster Child Health Care Card in the mail.

The card is issued to you, as the foster carer, but only the foster child is named on and covered by the card.

You have the right to appeal any decision we make. Read more about reviews and appeals.

Read more about concession and health care cards.

Renewing

Your card is valid for 1 year and is renewed automatically each year if you are eligible.

Travelling outside Australia

If you or your foster child leaves Australia to live in another country, your concession card will be cancelled on departure.

If your foster child leaves Australia temporarily, your concession card will remain current for up to 6 weeks. After 6 weeks it will be cancelled and you will need to reapply when your foster child returns to Australia.

When to tell us about your travel

You should tell us if you or your foster child is leaving Australia and:

  • you or your foster child is leaving to live in another country, or
  • your foster child will be away for more than 6 weeks

Otherwise you do not need to tell us that you or your foster child are leaving Australia. We will be advised automatically by Australia's immigration department when they leave Australia and when they return.

If you want to tell us about your travel plans, you can use your Centrelink online account through myGov to get information on how your payments and concession cards could be affected.

Read more about payments while outside Australia.

Manage your money

Getting control of your money can be hard, but we’ve got some great advice and tools to help. Read more about budgeting, borrowing and credit, and managing debt, to help manage your money.

Page last updated: 2 May 2017