Pharmaceutical Allowance

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

Who can get it

You can get this Pharmaceutical Allowance if you get:

Temporary illness or medical condition

If you have a partial capacity to work, you can get the allowance if you get:

60 and older

You can get this allowance if you’ve turned 60 and get ABSTUDY.

If you’re between 60 and Age Pension age, you can also get it if you’ve been on one of the following payments for at least 9 months:

Dependent children

If you’re single and the main carer of a dependent child, you can get the allowance if you get:

How to apply

We’ll assess if you can get Pharmaceutical Allowance automatically. You don’t need to do anything.

How much you can get

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 payment of Pharmaceutical Allowance

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

You can apply if:

  • you get Parenting Payment single and are under Age Pension age, or
  • Disability Support Pension, are under 21 with no dependent children, and
  • your income, not including your Centrelink payments or maintenance income, is less than $20.50 a fortnight, or less than $41.00 per fortnight combined income if you have a partner, and
  • the amount you have spent on Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme prescription medicines is more than the Pharmaceutical Allowance you have been paid this calendar year


Call us or go to a service centre and ask for a Claim for Advance of Pharmaceutical Allowance SA140 form.

You need to provide your Pharmaceutical Benefits Prescription Record when you claim.

You can only claim in person at a service centre. You may be asked to confirm your identity while you’re there.

We’ll write to you and let you know:

  • if we accept your claim
  • when we’ll pay you, and
  • how much you’ll get

You have the right to appeal our decision. Read about reviews and appeals.

When 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.

You can get information on how your payments and concession cards could be affected.

Read more about payments while outside Australia.

How to record your medicines

Keep a record of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medicine you buy. When you go over the PBS Safety Net threshold amount for the calendar year, you can apply to get cheaper medicine.

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 calendar year.

Page last updated: 1 April 2019

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