Pharmaceutical Allowance

A regular extra payment to help with medicine costs if you get certain payments from us.

How to apply

We’ll assess if you can get Pharmaceutical Allowance when you claim.

Who can get it

You can get this allowance if you get:

  • If you’ve turned 60 and get ABSTUDY

You must follow your main payment’s rules about living in Australia.

Payment rates

You’ll get the allowance with your regular payment each fortnight.

If you're Your fortnightly payment will be
Single $6.20
Part of a couple $3.10 each


You don’t pay tax on Pharmaceutical Allowance, even if you get it as an advance payment.

Advance payments

You may be able to get the allowance in advance as a lump sum of 7 fortnightly payments.

You can apply for this if you need a lot of medicines and you get:

  • Parenting Payment single and are under age pension age, or
  • Disability Support Pension, are under 21 with no dependent children

Read more about advance payment.

If you travel outside Australia

The rules for Pharmaceutical Allowance when you travel are the same as for your main payment.

If you go to live in another country

Your allowance will stop when you leave Australia.

If you go on a trip

While you’re getting your main payment, you’ll still get the allowance. Depending on which main payment you’re on, this could be:

  • up to 6 weeks
  • up to 26 weeks
  • even longer

Tell us about your travel plans

The easiest way to do this is using your Centrelink online account through myGov.

We can then let you know how your travel could affect your payments and concession cards.

Read more about payments paid while outside Australia.

Keep a record of your medicines

You should keep a record of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines you buy.

Why do this

It’s important to know when your medicine costs go over the PBS Safety Net threshold amount for the year. When you go over this amount, you can apply to get cheaper medicines.

Record keeping

You can:

  • keep your own list on a Prescription Record Form - you can get this form from your pharmacist, or
  • ask your pharmacist to keep a computer record for you - this works if you get all your PBS medicines from the same place

When you reach the threshold

Once you reach your or your family’s PBS Safety Net threshold, you can apply for a PBS Safety Net card. This will make your PBS medicines cheaper or free for the rest of the year.

My bank account is overdrawn

You can get support if your bank, building society or credit balance goes below zero.

Read more about what to do if your account is overdrawn.

Page last updated: 27 August 2017