Income test

To get a Low Income Health Care Card your income must be under the limit.

How the income test works

We assess the gross, before tax, income you earned in the 8 weeks before you submit your claim. This is to see if you can get the card.

Your income must be below the amount in the table for your situation.

Income test when claiming and renewing a card

StatusWeekly incomeIncome in an 8 week period
Single, no children$769.00$6,152.00
Couple combined, no children$1,315.00$10,520.00
Single, one dependent child$1,315.00$10,520.00
Couple combined, one child$1,349.00$10,792.00
For each extra child, add$34.00$272.00

What type of income we assess

Examples of income we assess are:

  • employment income, such as wages, salary and self-employment income
  • employer provided fringe benefits
  • rental income
  • reportable super contributions, salary sacrifice
  • Centrelink pensions, benefits and some supplementary payments
  • Paid Parental Leave payments
  • Self-Employment Allowance
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs payments.

Read about Self-Employment Assistance on the Workforce Australia website.

We also assess:

  • deemed income from financial investments, such as bank accounts, managed investments and shares
  • deemed income from account-based income streams
  • deemed income from the sale of your principal home when intending to purchase, build, rebuild, repair or renovate another principal home
  • income from income stream products, such as super pensions and defined benefit income streams
  • foreign income
  • private trusts and companies
  • compensation payments, including periodical and lump sum
  • lump sum payments such as redundancy, leave, or termination payments.

How we assess lump sum payments

We assess lump sum payments as income from the date you get them. This includes:

  • compensation payments
  • redundancy payments
  • lump sum leave payments.

We’ll assess redundancy and lump sum leave payments. This is only if you take leave and don’t return to the same employer once it’s ended.

What you need to do to renew the card

When you apply to renew your card each year you need to:

We’ll tell you when it’s close to expiry.

What you need to do to keep the card

To keep the card, your gross weekly income mustn’t go over the limit in the following table. This is in any 8 week period, before your card expires. If it does, we may cancel your card. We’ll send you a letter to let you know.

Income limits when you have a card

StatusWeekly incomeIncome in an 8 week period
Single, no children$961.25$7,690.00
Couple combined, no children$1,643.75$13,150.00
Single, one dependent child$1,643.75$13,150.00
Couple combined, one child$1,686.25$13,490.00
For each extra dependent child, add$42.50$340.00

Add the extra child rate for each child you have to the couple combined rate in the table. This will give you the amount your income should be below to qualify to keep the card.

If your income changes, or there’s a change of circumstances you must tell us. We’ll work out if you can keep your card.

Page last updated: 20 March 2024.
QC 30786