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Family and dependants for Medicare levy surcharge purposes

Find out who is considered a member of a family and who is a dependant for the purposes of the Medicare levy surcharge.

Last updated 29 June 2023

When you are a member of a family for the MLS

For Medicare levy surcharge (MLS) purposes, you are a member of a family if, during any period of the year, you:

  • had a spouse or a child who was an Australian resident (regardless of their income), and
  • contributed to their maintenance.

For the meaning of 'maintenance of a dependant', see Dependants for Medicare levy exemption.

Spouse (married or de facto) for MLS purposes

Your spouse includes another person (of any sex) who either:

  • you were in a relationship with that was registered under a prescribed state or territory law
  • although not legally married to you, lived with you on a genuine domestic basis in a relationship as a couple.

An ex-spouse you pay maintenance or child support to is not your dependant.

Child for MLS purposes

Your child is only your dependant if they are:

  • under 21 years old
  • 21 to 24 years old and studying full-time at school, college or university.

Your child is still your dependant if you are paying child support even if they don't live with you.

Your child includes:

  • your child, whether born in marriage or not
  • your adopted child
  • a newborn or newly adopted child
  • a child of your spouse (your stepchild)
  • someone who is your child within the meaning of the Family Law Act 1975 (for example, a child who is considered to be a child of a person under a state or territory court order giving effect to a surrogacy agreement).

A foster child is not included as a dependant for MLS purposes.

When you pay the MLS

You may have to pay the MLS if:

  • any member of the family did not have an appropriate level of private patient hospital cover, and
  • your income is above a certain amount.