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
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.
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.
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.
If you do not have a Centrelink online account
Read more about how to register.
Claiming with forms
Complete the Claim for a Health Care Card form you received in the mail or print one.
You may need to provide some other documents to support your claim including:
- confirmation of identity documents for you and your foster child
- any other documents we ask you for
Submit your claim
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.
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.
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.
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.