ADF Family Health Program

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‘Free’ massages for spouses – apply here!


The National ADF Family Health Program is one of those perks that (in a small way) balance out the not-so-perky bits of defence life. If you already know about this initiative, I don’t need to preach to the choir. But if you don’t, be prepared to pester your defence person until you are a card-carrying member – it’s worth it, trust me! You could be getting remedial massages with no out of pocket expense or knocking a chunk off the cost of braces.


Created as a way to recognise the sacrifice made by the partners and children of defence members, the program helps offset the cost of visits to doctors, specialists and allied health professionals.


So, what’s the deal?

The National ADF Family Health Program provides the recognised dependents of full-time ADF members or reservists on continuous full-time service unlimited (I REPEAT…. unlimited) reimbursement of gap fees for Medicare recognised GP visits as well as an annual allocation of $400 per dependent (increasing to $800 per dependent from July 1st 2023) to use towards allied health (like Chiro, Dental and Ambulance cover etc), diagnostic, radiology and medical specialist services.


Plain speak….

You won’t be out of pocket for visits to the GP and every recognised person in the serving member’s immediate family gets allocated $400 per financial year (increasing to $800 per dependent from July 1st 2023) that can be used for other medical and health appointments. As a rule of thumb, if a service has an MBS (medical benefits schedule) number, you should be able to claim it. Approved allied services range from dental, chiropractic and optical through to audiology, physiotherapy and psychology.


Also, the allocated $400 per dependent is pooled for the whole family and resets every financial year. If you need to, you can put it all towards specialist appointments for one child or use it as needed for different members of the family. Just not the serving member, of course.


Do you make the cut?

To be recognised as a dependent, spouses and children must fit the criteria in the ADF Pay and Conditions manual (PACMAN) and must also be listed in the dependent/beneficiary section of the serving member’s PMKeyS. Not sure what any of that means? Ask your military person and if they need clarification, they can ask their hierarchy.


How do you sign up?

Like many ADF-related initiatives, your serving member will need to sign you up for this program. They can either fill out WebForm ‘AD858-1 ADF Family Health’, which can be found on the Defence WebForms system, or you can find a PDF copy of the form at for your spouse so they don’t forget to do it at work.


Someone from the ADF Health Team will let you know once you’re fully registered and that’s your green light to start claiming. You will also receive an actual ADF Family Health card in the mail.


Yay you’ve got your card, now what?

You can claim your benefits by swiping your card through a Hicaps machine at the office of your GP, specialist or allied health professional. Otherwise, you can easily make a claim through or through the ADF Family Health app. If you want to know if a service is eligible, head to or call 1800 561 454 for clarification. And if you ever want to check how much you have left to use, have forgotten your password or just have a question don’t be shy about calling the customer service team. They are very nice. I may or may not have called a few times to check my balance and reset my password!


OK, what’s the catch though?

It’s not really a catch, but any benefits claimed for reimbursement from the National ADF Family Health Program are considered a fringe benefit and this can have implications at tax time. Visit for more information.