22.214.171.124 Health Care Card (HCC)
This topic provides information on when an individual is issued a HCC and covers the following:
- automatic issue of HCC,
- individuals with regular care children,
- individuals with shared care of FTB children, and
- where HCC entitlement is not automatic, due to the income estimate.
Automatic issue of HCC
Individuals who are eligible to receive the maximum rate of FTB Part A because their income is below the FTB Part A income free area (126.96.36.199), automatically qualify for a HCC. Individuals who would normally be eligible to receive the maximum rate of FTB Part A except for the application of the maintenance income test are also automatically eligible for the HCC.
This HCC qualification is only available to individuals who receive FTB by fortnightly instalments. The HCC is issued for a 12 month period and renewed automatically based on the individual meeting the eligibility criteria.
Individuals who receive FTB are issued with a HCC on the first day on which their income tested FTB Part A rate is the maximum rate of FTB Part A. When the individual's income increases to an amount above the FTB Part A income free area they are no longer eligible for the HCC. These individuals are able to test their eligibility for a low income HCC.
Note: Where reconciliation shows that an individual who receives FTB instalment payments would have been eligible for the FTB HCC (but their agreed estimate exceeded the FTB Part A income free area) it may be possible to obtain the HCC retrospectively. However, this would only be of benefit where the person has retained all evidence and receipts of pharmaceutical expenditure for the elapsed period. Some reimbursement of these costs may be possible through Medicare.
Individuals with regular care children
Individuals who have regular care of their child/ren may also qualify for the HCC if their family income does not exceed the FTB Part A income free area.
Policy reference: FA Guide 1.1.R.21 Regular care child
Individuals with shared care of FTB children
If an individual is receiving a part rate of FTB Part A due to having shared care of an FTB child, they may still qualify for an automatic HCC if their ATI is below the FTB Part A income free area.
If both parents/carers are eligible to receive a HCC, their FTB child will appear on each individual's card.
Where HCC entitlement is not automatic, due to the income estimate
Where an individual loses entitlement to the FTB HCC because their agreed estimate exceeds the FTB Part A income free area, they may choose to test their eligibility for a HCC under the provisions for low income earners. Eligibility for the low income HCC is determined using an individual's actual income over the 8-week period immediately before they claimed the card. (The additional child add-on amount for this HCC takes the qualifying income limits above the FTB Part A income free area for families with 3 or more children.)
Act reference: SSAct section 1061ZK Qualification: general rules