PBS Safety Net Family Changes

PBS Safety Net Family Changes to same-sex relationships and couples living separately due to illness.

Page last updated: 22 December 2008

PBS Safety Net family – effect of equal treatment of same-sex relationships legislation

From 1 January 2009, Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Safety Net families can include same-sex de facto* partners.

Amendments to the National Health Act 1953 allow same-sex partners and their dependent children to combine PBS patient payments towards a joint PBS Safety Net threshold and all members of the family to access Safety Net benefits once the threshold is reached.

The same PBS Safety Net rules and thresholds apply for these families and members are eligible for the same concessions. To be included as part of a PBS Safety Net family, a couple must be living together on a permanent basis, unless living separately due to illness.

Members of a PBS Safety Net family can have their PBS payments added to the same prescription record form by asking their pharmacist. Pharmacists can also provide information about combining the amounts recorded for family PBS Safety Net totals or obtaining a PBS Safety Net card.

* A de facto relationship is one where the relationship is registered on a State or Territory register or where the partners are living together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis.

For more information please see your pharmacist or refer to the Fact Sheet (PDF 27 KB)

PBS Safety Net family – couples living separately due to illness

From 1 January 2009, couples living separately due to illness, infirmity or frailty (eg. for nursing care or in a residential or aged care facility) can access PBS Safety Net benefits jointly as a family in the same manner as if they were living together.

This applies to married couples and to de facto same-sex or opposite-sex partners living separately due to illness. To be eligible as a PBS Safety Net family when living apart due to illness, de facto partners* must have been living together on a permanent basis prior to living apart.

* A de facto relationship is one where the relationship is registered on a State or Territory register or where the partners are living together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis.

For more information on these changes and how to access these benefits please refer to the Fact Sheet (PDF 22 KB)

If you are having difficulty accessing the PDF document/s, please email pbdwebmaster@health.gov.au and we will arrange for an alternative version or a copy to be sent to you.