Transport expenses

Seeing a medical specialist can require a lot of travel, particularly if you live in a rural or regional area. There are several ways you can save money on travel costs to and from your hospital appointments.

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Make a patient transport claim

Every state and territory has a government scheme that provides financial help to people who need to travel long distances to access specialist medical treatment that is not available in their local area. Many schemes also cover accommodation.

The eligibility rules are different for each scheme. In general, you must be a permanent resident of the relevant state or territory, and you must need to travel a significant distance to the closest available specialist treatment.

Most patient transport assistance schemes are not means tested. The schemes are usually subsidy schemes – they pay a portion of your travel and accommodation costs, but you will often still need to pay the rest.

In some cases, benefits may be paid for interstate referrals if treatment for your condition is unavailable in your home state or territory. Subsidies may also be available if you need an escort or carer to travel with you to your treatment.

How to apply

If you meet the eligibility criteria, you and your doctor will need to complete a form. You may also need to provide original tax receipts and medical certificates to support your application.

If you are the holder of a pensioner concession card or health care card, you may be able to apply for assistance before paying for your travel and accommodation, rather than covering the costs yourself then seeking reimbursement later.

You can download Cancer Council’s fact sheet about the patient transport scheme in NSW. For other states and territories, call 13 11 20 or visit ruralhealthaustralia.gov.au and type ‘patient assisted travel schemes’ into the search box.

Read more about patient transport assistance schemes

Use your Pensioner Concession Card

If you receive certain Centrelink payments, you will automatically receive a Pensioner Concession Card. This may mean you can get:

  • reduced fares or free travel on public transport
  • reductions on car registration.

You can check what concessions are available in your state or territory by visiting australia.gov.au/information-and-services/benefits-and-payments/government-concessions-states-and-territories.

How to apply

Carry your card with you and ask for the concession fare when you use public transport. When renewing your car registration, claim the concession rate if you are eligible – this may be checked electronically.


Check if you're eligible for the Mobility Allowance

If you are receiving certain Centrelink payments and the cancer or its treatment means you are unable to use public transport without a lot of assistance, you may be eligible for the Mobility Allowance.

This applies only if you are travelling to work (paid or voluntary), study or training, or to look for work. It is a regular extra amount that will be paid with your main payment each fortnight.

How to apply

You can check if you are eligible and submit an online claim by visiting humanservices.gov.au and typing ‘Mobility Allowance’ in the search box. You can also call Centrelink on 13 27 17. You will need to provide a medical report from your doctor.


This information was last reviewed in October 2015
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