Low Income Health Care Card

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Even if you’re not eligible for any benefits from Centrelink, you may qualify for a Low Income Health Care Card if your income falls below the qualifying limits.

Holders of a Low Income Health Care Card are entitled to cheaper medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. You may also be entitled to concessions offered by private companies and concessions on energy bills, healthcare costs, public transport, water rates etc, but as these are issued by state, territory and local governments, they may vary depending on where you live.

To qualify for a Low Income Health Care Card, you must meet residency requirements and your eight-week income must be less than the amount which applies to your circumstance on the day you lodge your claim, i.e. you cannot have earned more than the income limit in the previous eight weeks.

Qualifying income limits from 20 March 2020

 Status  Weekly income  Eight-week period
 Single, no children  $570.00  $4560.00
 Couple, no children  $984.00  $7872

There is no asset test for the card but it is subject to a 12-monthly renewal. To renew your card your income must be no greater than quoted in the table above.

Once you have been granted a Low Income Health Care Card, your weekly income must not exceed the limits detailed below. If you exceed the limit, you lose the entitlement to use the card. You must advise Centrelink of any changes in your income and it will work out whether you still qualify to use the card.

Retaining income limits from 20 March 2020

 Status  Weekly income  Eight-week period
 Single, no children  $712.50  $5700
 Couple, no children  $1230.00  $9840

To find out more about claiming for a Low Income Health Care Card, the residency requirements and what is included as income, visit ServicesAustralia.gov.au.


Updated 11 March 2020

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 19
  1. 0

    Took 6 months to receive & as they backdate it to the date you apply it was only valid for 6 months. When I re-applied for the next one it took 3 1/2 months. Funny thing is when I applied for the aged pension I received a reply THE FOLLOWING DAY!! The reply obviously was negative. Great system we have

    • 0

      Yep, it’s absolute craziness……why is there a difference between the qualifying limits and the retention limits.About time there was a cass action to take ANY Govt to task over the inequities in THEIR system. They need to be consistent in their approach.I wonder how many FULL pensioners know that you can get a Govt pension of say 70k and still qualify for other benefits (wife part pension and the benefits that go with this!!) whereas the FULL pensioner has all sorts of restrictions on earnings….earn too much and your pension will be decreased !

    • 0

      “About time there was a cass action to take ANY Govt to task over the inequities in THEIR system.” …. ROFL, never going to happen. Some folk are dreaming.

    • 0

      fairplay – the difference allows for variances in your income so people don’t lose the card easily, it’s actually a good thing.

    • 0

      Tazrobb – same here, 4 months to get it but at that time I had called many times. On renewal the same thing, I just keep calling them and they finally send a card without processing the application. I know this as when I look at my assets all the figures were from last year still, nothing had changed. Great system.

    • 0

      That interesting from fairplay. How do I get that ?? Refer “you can get a Govt pension of say 70k” ??

    • 0

      Good idea re the Class Action. Who, what and where do we go to start that ?? What is “ROFL” ???

  2. 0

    Cheers Greg…..to be fair the qualifying and retention figure should be the same and Farside you are right it is not going to happen, however we Aussies are a layback lot and that is probably why.

  3. 0

    Helped a friend getting her card. She is happy to have it although where she lives the doctors do not accept it for bulk billing but at least her prescriptions are at pensioners’ costs. In Qld it is also required for the Senior Card if under 65 years of age. Generally Senior Cards are issued to people of 60 years of age in Australia if no longer working full time.

  4. 0

    fairplay … who gets a $70K pension and/or how can I get it – please do tell.
    johnp … ROFL means roll on the floor laughing

    • 0

      Govt pension refers to those Govt workers who retired under the old scheme where they can retire on a percentage of their salary and the wife can be eligible for a part pension.I think it may apply where the Govt worker has not reached age pension age ,but the wife has. This scenario seems a little unfair when compared with the plight of a couple who are both on the aged pension and the rules that apply to them. BTW we are SFR….i was merely making an observation on how some rules are unfair

  5. 0

    I am still waiting for my concession card to be returned Three and a half years. Turnbull promised all those who list their pension due to Hockeys draconian changes would have their concession card returned, but the liar stopped it after just one day. It has been proven that those with $400000 plus their own 3- 4 million dollar homes are better of than the self funded retirees on $800000 and who lost the concession card.

    • 0

      mike – that has always been known. Why do we in Australia have the highest house prices? I always wanted a modest house with a higher balance in the bank but I would be an idiot with your scenario you listed above. Cannot spend the house, it just sits there. In future include the house in the asset test but only if you follow other countries’ example to tax exempt all expenditure to purchase a home, interest rates, rates, insurance, repairs. Future administrations might have to change this.

  6. 0

    Leon is MOSTLY correct about the Low Income Health Card. He choose however to ignore those very wealthy Australians who have had the card for many years and their income is ignored. These are the grandfathered group who just get the card renewed without any
    regard as to their income and wealth. This should be stopped and they should be assessed the same as the people who need the benefits the card provides. Maybe Leon you don’t understand when you should if you are writing about the subject.

    • 0

      Give a health care card to everyone over the age of 65 just stop the payments and you would find that the cheating and chizzelling would stop. People will park their money with sons and daughters to qualify for the card.

  7. 0

    I applied online for the LIHCC on June 15th and it was approved June 16th.
    The card appeared in the Express Plus Centrelink app’s digital wallet the next day.



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