Low Income Health Care Card
Gives low income earners access to cheaper prescription medicines, and various concessions from government and private organisations.
- meet an income test
Eligibility & payment rates
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.
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. Call 132 490 to claim a Low Income Health Care Card.
Shared care arrangements
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 Low Income Health Care Card if the amount of shared care is at least 14% of the time, which is 2 or more nights per fortnight.
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
Check with your state or territory government to find out what concessions are available to you. Concessional entitlements may vary between states and territories.
When using services covered by Medicare, you will need to present your Medicare Card with your 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 submit your claim.
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, or a Temporary Protection 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
Newly arrived residents generally have a 104 week waiting period, with some exemptions.
Check if you are eligible for this payment before you start your claim.
Once you have read about eligibility the next steps are:
- find out what you need before you start your claim
- begin your claim
- get your supporting documentation
- submit your claim
- we will assess your claim and let you know the outcome
Your Low Income Health Care Card needs to be renewed every 12 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 your Centrelink online account or by using the form 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.
If you have a concession or health care card, you can also access a digital image of it from the Digital Wallet on the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app. The Digital Wallet lets you present your concession or health care card using your smart device.
To access the Digital Wallet, eligible customers need to download the latest version of the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app. Then:
- log on-to the app
- select Digital Wallet or rotate your smart device on its side.
- your card will:
- drop down from the top of the screen
- swipe vertically to show the front and the back of the card, and
- shimmer slightly
If you have more than one concession or health care card, you can swipe horizontally to access the card you need.
If your concession or health care card is no longer active, EXPIRED will appear across the card. An expired card will be displayed for 28 days before it’s no longer available through the app. There may be circumstances where you should continue to use your physical concession or health care card. If your Digital Wallet is not accepted by a concession provider, please contact us with their details by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Do your Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support business using self service options, including our Express Plus mobile apps, online accounts and phone self service.
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, or
- your work or study load changes
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.
To remain eligible for a Low Income Health Care Card while you are outside Australia, you must continue to meet the qualification rules for this card.
If you want someone else to handle your Centrelink, Child Support or Medicare business, you can authorise them to deal with us on your behalf.
Concession and health care cards can help you access cheaper health care services and medicines.
Select the options that describe your circumstances then explore a suggested list of possible Centrelink and Medicare payments and services online.
Select your state and topics of interest to find links to government and community organisation support.
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.