UK residents

Q. Judy
My neigbours are from the UK and receive a UK pension. They have been told that they will have to wait a long time to become Australia residents(75 and 72). They have a son who was born here (28 years ago) when they lived here in Adelaide and then went back to the UK. I am inquiring is there a health card they could receive as they can not get a medicare card if though they have lived here for six years and own their own home. It seems very unfair for them that they cannot receive any discount on rates, car rego etc and have to pay for doctor”s visits and full price for prescriptions. Any information you can give me so I can try to help would be most appreciated.

A. Answer provided by Hank Jongen, General Manager, Centrelink
Thanks for your email. In general, social security payments from Centrelink are only available to people who reside in Australia and are either Australian citizens or holders of permanent visas. In addition, most social security payments and concession cards have a two year newly arrived resident’s waiting period.

If your neighbours are permanent visa holders, they may be entitled to a Low Income Health Care Card or the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, which provide access to Commonwealth health concessions, State and Local Government concessions and those provided by some private businesses. When looking at their circumstances, we will take into account how much they earn and whether they have lived in Australia for at least 104 weeks.

As always, we look at a range of individual circumstances when determining whether someone is eligible for assistance. I encourage your neighbours to discuss these options directly with Centrelink, either at their local Customer Service Centre or by telephoning 13 2300. Alternatively, the range of options and eligibility criteria is available at