3.9.1.45 Foster child HCC

Summary

This topic outlines the qualification criteria for the foster child HCC, as well as the following related issues:

  • what constitutes foster care
  • age requirements
  • approved care organisations
  • POI requirements, and
  • cardholders travelling overseas.

Qualification (1.1.Q.10) criteria

A HCC can be claimed for, and issued to the carer of, any child who is in FOSTER CARE where the:

  • foster carer is an Australian resident or an SCV holder living in Australia, and
  • child is living in Australia with the foster carer, and
  • child is under 19 years of age.

Note: While the HCC is claimed by the carer, it is issued only in the name of the child, and is solely for the benefit of the child.

Act reference: SSAct section 7(2) An Australian resident is a person who: …, section 1061ZO(2) This section applies to a person on a day …, section 5(1)-'child'

Foster care

A child is considered to be in foster care where:

  • the child is not the natural or adopted child of the carer, and
  • the carer is responsible for the day-to-day care, welfare and development of the child.

Foster care refers to both FORMAL and INFORMAL care arrangements:

  • formal foster care is defined as care managed by a state or territory child protection or welfare authority, and
  • informal foster care is defined as care provided by a relative (e.g. a grandparent or aunt), or by a friend through a private arrangement.

Note: A child who is living away from the foster carer in order to study can still be regarded as being in foster care.

Example: At a boarding school.

Age requirements

In order to qualify for a foster child HCC, the child must meet the formal or informal foster care arrangements and be under 19 years of age.

Upon turning 19 years of age, a child in foster care can access a HCC (LIC) in their own right.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061ZO(5) This section applies to a child on a day …, section 5(1)-'child'

ACOs

The measure to provide foster children with HCCs was introduced to assist FAMILIES and INDIVIDUALS who take up foster care. Only a 'natural person' (as the foster carer) can be an 'Australian resident' and meet the HCC qualification criteria. An ACO is not a natural person and so cannot assist a child to qualify for the HCC. Where a claim for a foster child HCC is identified as being made by or on behalf of an ACO, the claim must be rejected.

Note: Children who are residing in ACOs may be eligible for a LIC in certain circumstances.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061ZO(2) to section 1061ZO(4) This section applies to a person on a day …

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.9.1.20 Qualification for LIC, 3.9.1.40 HCC Provisions for Children & Dependants

POI requirements

In recognition of the difficulties often faced by foster carers in providing POI for the foster children in their care, alternative POI arrangements are available. A letter of introduction or identity verification from a relevant agency is an acceptable alternative POI for children in foster care, or a foster family accessing a HCC.

Cardholders travelling overseas

Foster child HCCs can remain current if the holder departs Australia temporarily.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061ZO(5) This section applies to a child on a day …

Last reviewed: 11 November 2019