Low Income Health Care Card
A card that lets you pay less for medicines and some other health costs if you’re on a low income.
Most people need to pass an income test.
If you’ve retired from work there’s an assets test instead.
Eligibility & payment rates
You may be able to get a Low Income Health Care Card if your income is below the limit in the income test.
You don’t need to pass an assets test.
Children on your card
If your child’s name is on your card you can use it for their expenses.
We can put your dependent child on your card if:
- you’re their main carer or
- they live with you for at least 2 nights every fortnight
They must be:
- under 19 if you’re supporting them while they study
Students and Australian Apprentices
You may be able to get the card if you’re on:
Call the Students and trainees line to apply.
Read about the non-income-tested Low Income Health Care Card.
If we cancelled your payment on 1 January 2017 because of the changes to the pension assets test, you’re eligible for one or more health cards.
If you were age pension age
If you were age pension age or over on 1 January 2017, you’re automatically eligible for a:
- non-income tested Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, and
- non-income tested Low Income Health Care Card
If you were under age pension age
If you were under age pension age on 1 January 2017, you’re automatically eligible for a non-income tested Low Income Health Care Card. You can apply for the non-income tested Commonwealth Seniors Health Card when you reach age pension age.
Read more about the changes to the pension assets test.
With your card you can get:
- cheaper medicine under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
- bulk billed doctor visits – this is up to your doctor
- a bigger refund for medical costs when you reach the Medicare Safety Net
Your dependent child may be able to get some of these.
Your state or territory government and local council may offer you more. They may lower your:
- electricity and gas bills
- property and water rates
- public transport fare
- motor vehicle registration
Read more about what you can get where you live on the Australia.gov.au website.
Private companies may also offer you concessions if you show them your card.
To get a Low Income Health Care Card your income must be under the limit.
To be eligible 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, 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’re eligible before you start your claim.
- find out what you need before you start your claim
- fill in your claim
- submit your claim and any documents we ask for
- wait for us to assess your claim and tell you the result
You get a Low Income Health Care Card for 12 months.
You’ll need to reapply to renew your card and meet the income test. We will tell you when it’s close to expiry.
Renew your card using your Centrelink online account through myGov Your details will automatically display in the form, so you only need to update any information that has changed.
You can also renew your card using the form we send you.
Have your concession or health care card with you everywhere you take your phone.
Do your Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support business using self service options, including our Express Plus mobile apps, online accounts and phone self service.
Read more about using self service.
You need to tell us if your circumstances change when you hold a Low Income Health Care Card.
For example, you must tell us if:
- your personal circumstances change
- you change your address
- your income changes
- your care arrangements change, or
- your work or study load changes
How and when to tell us
The easiest way to tell us about changes is online. It’s never too late to report a change.
You need to tell us about the changes within 14 days.
If you don’t tell us about changes in your life, we may stop your card when we find out about them. If you deliberately don’t tell us, we could charge you with fraud.
Read about how to avoid 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 deal with us, you can authorise them to enquire, act or get payments for you.
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 list of possible Centrelink and Medicare payments and services online.
We’ve got advice and tools to help you with budgeting, borrowing and credit, and managing debt.
Read about how to manage your money.