Low Income Health Care Card

A concession card to get cheaper health care and some discounts if you’re on a low income.

Eligibility basics

  • under the income test limits
  • meet residence rules
If you got a Low Income Health Care Card due to changes to the assets test on 1 January 2017, you will be issued a new Pensioner Concession Card on 9 October 2017.

Eligibility & payment rates

Eligibility

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.

Income test

To get a Low Income Health Care Card your income must be under the limit.

Read more about the income test

Residence rules

On the day you apply for the Low Income Health Care Card you must be:

You must also be:

To keep using your card

You must meet these rules for the whole time you’re using the card. For example, if you no longer hold a valid visa you can’t keep using the card.

How long you need to have been a resident

If you hold of one of the visas mentioned above, you must have been living in Australia for 104 weeks before you can get a card.

What may be different

You may be exempt from serving the 104 weeks if you:

  • are an Australian citizen
  • arrived in Australia as a refugee
  • hold a specific visa subclass, or
  • things have changed and you’re going through hardships beyond your control

Benefits

With your card you can get:

Your dependent child may be able to get some of these.

Other benefits

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.

Non-income tested Low Income Health Care Card

If your payment was cancelled 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:

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.

Claiming

Check if you’re eligible before you start your claim.

Then:

  • 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

Next

Managing

Renewing a card

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.

Online

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.

By form

You can also renew your card using the form we send you.

Digital Wallet

Have your concession or health care card with you everywhere you take your phone.

Read more about the Digital Wallet

Try self service

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.

Change of circumstances

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 can also call the students and trainees line or visit a service centre.

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.

Lost or stolen card

Lost or stolen cards can be replaced. A replacement card will be sent to you by mail. It cannot be issued over the counter at a service centre.

You can request a replacement card using your online account, calling the Students & trainees line or visiting a service centre.

If you travel outside Australia

There are limits on how long your card remains current when you travel outside Australia. You must keep meeting the rules for this card at all times.

Read more about Low Income Health Care Card if you travel outside Australia

Someone to deal with us on your behalf

If you want someone else to deal with us, you can authorise them to enquire, act or get payments for you.

Read more about someone to deal with us on your behalf

Resources

Other concession and health care cards

Concession and health care cards can help you access cheaper health care services and medicines.

Payment and Service Finder

Find, estimate and compare payments and services you may be eligible for. You can also work out what a change in circumstance might mean for the payments and services you currently receive from us.

Start using Payment and Service Finder

Manage your money

 

We’ve got advice and tools to help you with budgeting, borrowing and credit, and managing debt.

Read about how to manage your money.

Green Army Programme

Provides training and work experience in environment and heritage conservation for young Australians while generating environmental benefits.

Read more about the Green Army Programme

Related payments and services

Page last updated: 27 August 2017