Eligibility for a Health Care Card

You may be eligible for a Health Care Card if you get specific payments or supplements from us or the maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A.

Who can get a card

You’ll get a Health Care Card if you live in Australia and get:

Health care cards are usually valid for 12 months.

You don’t need to apply for a Health Care Card, we'll send you one if you're eligible.

If you get:

  • Sickness Allowance, your Health Care Card is valid for the period of your current medical certificate up to 13 weeks
  • Carer Payment (Child) episodic or short term care, your Health Care Card is valid for a period of 26 weeks

How shared care works

A child in your care will be on your Health Care Card if your shared care reaches a certain level.

If you get Your percentage of shared care must be at least

Family Tax Benefit

14%

Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance as a job seeker, Sickness Allowance or Farm Household Allowance

14%

Widow Allowance, Special Benefit or Partner Allowance

30%

Parenting Payment

50%

Care is equal when the difference in care is less than 10%. We will list the child on the main carer’s card even if they have the lower care percentage. For example the main carer has the child at least 45% of the time.

When you return to work

You can keep your card for 6 months after returning to work if you got any of these payments for more than 1 year:

Who can’t get a card

You can’t get a Health Care Card if you are a student or Australian Apprentice and get Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY or Austudy.

You may be able to get a Low Income Health Care Card instead.

What other cards are available

There are other cards that may suit you better.

If you're a foster carer

If you’re a foster carer or care for another person’s child, you may get a Foster Child Health Care Card. The card will be in the child’s name.

Learn more about the Foster Child Health Care Card.

If you previously had a Carer Allowance Health Care Card (child)

To get an Ex-Carer Allowance (child) Health Care Card you must:

  • be a full time student aged between 16 and 25
  • have had a Carer Allowance (child) Health Care Card in your name on the day before you turned 16, and
  • meet residence rules

This card is not means tested.

Learn more about the Ex-Carer Allowance (child) Health Care Card.

If you have a low income

You may get a Low Income Health Care Card if you meet the income test.

Read about the Low Income Health Care Card.

Page last updated: 11 December 2017