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 are eligible.

Shared care

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


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


Widow Allowance, Special Benefit or Partner Allowance


Parenting Payment


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.

Returning to work

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

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.

Other cards

There are other cards that may suit you better.

Foster carer

If you’re 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.

Read about the Foster Child Health Care Card.

Ex-Carer Allowance (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.

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

Low income earner

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: 20 September 2017