Health Care Card

Who can get a 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.

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


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.

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.

Page last updated: 17 August 2018