Foster Child Health Care Card

A concession card to get cheaper medicines and some discounts for foster children in your care.


You may be eligible for a Foster Child Health Care Card if you're:

  • a foster carer, or
  • caring for someone else's child

You don't need to be a formal foster carer to be eligible. You may be eligible if you care for a child who is not your natural or adopted child.

The card is:

  • not subject to an income or assets test
  • issued in the name of the child in your care
  • automatically reissued when it expires, if you're still eligible

You do need to meet residence rules.

Residence rules

On the day you claim this card you must be in Australia. You must also be an Australian resident and living in Australia.

To keep using your card

For as long as you hold this card:


This card entitles the child in your care to cheaper medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

You may also get 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.


You can claim the card when you make a claim for Family Tax Benefit.

If you're not eligible for Family Tax Benefit, just claim your card online.

Before you start

You should:

Information you may need for your claim

You may need to give us:

  • original identity documents
  • you and your partner’s income and assets details
  • your bank account name, number and BSB number
  • you and your partner’s tax file number

Start your claim

The easiest way to claim is online. You don’t need to finish your online claim all at once. You can save your answers and finish it later.

Start your claim online

To make a claim online, you need a myGov account linked to Centrelink. 

I have a myGov account linked to Centrelink

Sign in to myGov to start your claim.

Sign in with myGov

I have a myGov account, but it’s not linked to Centrelink

Sign in to myGov and select Services. For help, read our online guides to link Centrelink to your myGov account.

I don’t have a Centrelink online account or a myGov account

If you’ve received a payment before, you can use your Customer Reference Number (CRN) to get an online account. Find your CRN on a letter we’ve sent you or on your Health Care Card, if you have one. Then, go to myGov to create a myGov account and use your CRN to link Centrelink.

If you don’t know your CRN or you haven't got a payment from us, go to a service centre with photo ID. Tell us you want to register for an online account.

Go to a service centre with photo ID if you:

  • don’t know your CRN, or
  • haven't got a payment before

You can then create a myGov account and link Centrelink.

If you can't claim online

Submit your claim

You need to submit:

  • your claim
  • any other documents we’ve asked for

You can do this online, by post or at a service centre.

Submit other documents

We may ask you for documents to help us assess your claim. If we do, you must give these to us when you submit your claim.

You need to give us your documents within 14 days of starting your claim. This is so we can give you your card from the earliest date.

We may not accept your claim if you don't give us all of the documents we ask for.

Proof of identity

You may need to confirm your identity when you claim.

To confirm your identity, you’ll need to visit a service centre and show us your original identity documents. Once you've done this, you can submit your remaining documents online using the upload documents service.

Track your claim

Once you submit your claim online, you’ll get a receipt telling you:

  • your claim was submitted
  • the ID number of your claim
  • a link to track its progress, and
  • an estimated completion date – there are different waiting times that may apply to you

You can track the progress of your claim using your:

  • Centrelink online account through myGov
  • Express Plus Centrelink mobile app

If you’re using your online account, the homepage will show the progress of your claim.

Once it’s finalised, this page will show either approved or rejected. If you’re using the app, select menu and then My claims.

You’ll see an estimated date of completion for your claim in your online account. We aim to complete claims by this date however, in busy periods, it may take a little longer.

If your circumstances change after you submit your claim, let us know. You can:

Check your myGov Inbox

We’ll let you know the result of your claim through your myGov Inbox.

If we need more details we'll send a message to your myGov Inbox.

If you think we’ve made a mistake you can ask us to review our decision.

If your claim is successful

If your claim is successful, we’ll send your Foster Child Health Care Card in the mail.

Your card is valid for 12 months from the date you submitted your claim.

We issue the card to you, as the foster carer, but the card will only cover your foster child. The child’s name will appear on the card but yours won’t.

Read more about concession and health care cards.

Travelling outside Australia

If you or your foster child go to live in another country, the 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 are leaving to live in another country, or
  • your foster child will be away for more than 6 weeks

Otherwise you don't need to tell us about travel plans for you or your foster child. Australia's immigration department will automatically advise us when you or your foster child leave and return.

When you do need to tell us about your travel plans, use your Centrelink online account through myGov. Read more about payments while outside Australia.

Page last updated: 14 July 2018