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Page updated on August 2, 2007


Will my new card acknowledge my Total and Permanent Incapacity (TPI) status?

It is proposed that for TPI veterans, your new smartcard will have the option to have TPI printed on it to acknowledge your contribution to Australia.

Will the access card number be the same as the current Medicare card number?

The access card number will not be the same as your current Medicare number - it will be an entirely new number. It will be compliant with international standards.

If I or my partner is an invalid and can't travel to an office to register for my access card - how will we be taken care of?

The details of the registration process are still to be determined. Our expectation at this stage is that people will be able to apply for an Access Card using a number of methods:

  • If you have exceptional circumstances and will find it difficult to attend an Access Card office for an interview we may be able to arrange an alternative method for you (this option will be limited to those that are genuinely invalid, long term institutionalised etc)
  • Ring a Call Centre and ask for an application and information package to be sent to their mailing address. The application is completed and sent via return mail to our processing centre;
  • Ring a Call Centre and have a staff member assist them in completing an application over the phone;
  • Go online and complete an application form;
  • Come into an Access Card office and complete an application or seek assistance to complete the application.
  • You can also give permission for a person or organisation to enquire or act on your behalf

More information will be provided closer to the implementation date.

Will the access card include the NSW seniors card?

The Access Card will not replace the NSW Seniors Card as this is not a card issued by the Australian Government.

Does everyone have to get an access card - is it compulsory?

The card is not compulsory. However, if you choose not to get a card you will not be able to access Australian Government health benefits, veterans' and social services.

What is the access card?

It is proposed to introduce a single card for people to receive health benefits, veterans' and social services.

The card could replace up to 17 existing cards, including your:

  • Medicare card
  • Centrelink benefit and concession cards and
  • Veterans' cards.

It will be part of a secure system which provides benefits for you, and the community as a whole.

Why do we need an access card?

Australians have a world class health and social service system. To keep it that way, the Australian Government must continually make improvements.

Technology has significantly changed since the current cardboard cards and magnetic strip cards were first introduced.

Cards based on the old technology are becoming more vulnerable to fraud and identity theft.

In order to take advantage of today's more secure technology, the Australian Government is proposing to introduce a new smartcard.

When will the card be introduced?

It is proposed to introduce the card from early 2008, to be fully introduced by 2010.

How will the card work?

The card will be your key to receiving Australian Government health benefits, veterans' and social services. You will need to present your card when dealing with Medicare, Centrelink and the Department of Veterans' Affairs. You will also use the card when obtaining government subsidised medicines at a pharmacy or accessing Medicare rebates.

Beyond that, it will not be compulsory to carry or show the card.

If you have children, their details will be securely included on your smartcard's chip.

Will my entitlements remain the same?

Yes. Existing entitlements will remain the same.

When will I need to register for the card?

The registration period is proposed to start in early 2008. Information about what you need to do and the proof of identity documents you need will be available closer to the date.

How will the card benefit me?

The smartcard will benefit you by:

  • Better protecting your identity
  • Restricting access to your information
  • Allowing you to customise certain aspects of your card to your needs
  • Reducing health and social service fraud and
  • Improving services to you

Will I be able to keep my Gold Card?

In recognition of the respect Australia has for its veterans' and war widows/ers, Gold Card holders will be able to have a gold coloured card if they wish.

Will it affect my entitlements?

No. The new card is simply a way of combining all the cards you currently use to access Veterans' services and other health and social services.

The introduction of the access card will have no impact on any pension, health service, compensation, income support or other service or payment from the Department of Veterans' Affairs and the rest of the Australian Government.

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