HECS Reimbursement Scheme
We provide payments through the HECS Reimbursement Scheme (the Scheme) to support doctors working in rural and remote areas.
When applying to the Scheme or claiming a payment, please ensure that all questions on the forms are answered and all relevant supporting documentation is submitted with the form. Failure to do so will result in the incomplete form being returned to you for completion and re-submission. Incomplete application or claim forms cannot be assessed and eligibility will be determined from the date a completed form is received.
To be eligible for the Scheme, you must:
- be an Australian citizen or hold an Australian permanent resident visa
- have completed an accredited Australian medical degree—Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery degree (MBSS) or equivalent—through a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) where HECS-HELP fees are payable
- have obtained your degree within the last six years (noting that the initial application must be received within this time frame), and
- have provided 12 months of continuous medical services or training in an Australian Standard Geographical Classification—Remoteness Area (ASGC–RA) 2–5 location, as defined by the Health Insurance Act 1973.
There are some circumstances where your eligibility for the Scheme may be affected, for example:
- if you received a scholarship that covered your HECS-HELP fees—you aren’t eligible for the Scheme for the years you received the scholarship, or
- if you received a bonded scholarship or place—you may be eligible for the Scheme, but won’t be eligible to claim for any service that’s undertaken when you completed your return of service obligation.
For more information about eligibility, visit the Rural Health Australia website for the full HECS Reimbursement Scheme guidelines.
Payments are made to eligible applicants who provide continuous service—12 or six consecutive months without breaks in a RA 2–5 location—outside of normal leave conditions (four weeks annual leave plus 14 days of sick or family leave over a 12 month period) and submit a completed application or claim form.
Any medical services or training provided outside an eligible RA 2–5 location during this period won't count as continuous service. The qualifying period will start again when you return to the eligible location.
Payments are calculated based on the remoteness of the location where your medical service or training has taken place, as defined by the ASGC-RA (RA).
The first payment is paid when you finish a continuous 12 month period in an RA 2–5 location. Subsequent payments may be paid at the end of every continuous six month period thereafter.
Payments are calculated based on the standard HECS-HELP fees, not the additional costs charged by the university. You'll only be reimbursed the fees that were paid by the Commonwealth Government via HECS-HELP.
You won't be reimbursed for:
- undergraduate degrees or bridging courses that qualify a student to take a graduate medical degree
- previous degrees that incurred HECS-HELP fees
- failed or incomplete units
- any additional units that aren't part of your standard degree
- any indexation applied after you have completed your medical degree, or
- medical service or training periods undertaken more than 12 months prior to the application for payment.
All payments will be made by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to your nominated bank account. Payments are subject to Pay as you go (PAYG) income tax. No GST applies to these payments. PAYG Payment Summaries for taxation purposes will be sent out at the end of the financial year.
If you're providing medical services or undertaking training on a part-time basis—more than 10 hours and less than 21 hours per week—you'll be paid on a pro-rata basis.
You won't receive pro-rata payments for less than six months service (or 12 months service for an initial application).
If you’re eligible, after the first 12 months of continuous service in an ASGC–RA 2–5 location, complete the HECS Reimbursement Scheme application (2842) [PDF, 244Kb]form and forward it with any necessary documentation to us.
Alternatively, you can apply online using Health Professionals Online Service (HPOS).
HPOS applications will not be considered complete until all mandatory supporting documentation is received. Supporting documentation must be received within 28 days of lodging the application online. Failure to do so will result in the incomplete form being returned to you for completion and re submission. Incomplete application or claim forms cannot be assessed and eligibility will be determined from the date a completed form is received.
To receive payments you must supply the following documents to us with your application:
- documented evidence of your HECS-HELP liability
- if you paid your fees up front, you need to provide evidence of the amount of HECS-HELP you paid
- if you deferred your fees, you need to provide a per semester statement from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as evidence of your deferred HECS-HELP fees or
- if you paid part of your fees upfront and deferred the rest, you need to provide evidence for both portions as above
- proof of graduation and conferment date (copy of your degree or final transcript)
- Bonded scholarship details, where applicable.
We will advise you, in writing, of your eligibility under the Scheme after we receive your completed application. A 28 day cooling off period prior to your first payment being generated will be allowed. A payment summary will be sent to you after the first payment. You can also view it online via HPOS.
After each six months of continuous medical service or training (after the initial 12 month period), a HECS Reimbursement Scheme Subsequent claim for payment (2843) [PDF, 192Kb]form must be completed and lodged with us along with any necessary documentation.
Alternatively, you can claim online using Health Professionals Online Service (HPOS). HPOS claims will not be considered complete until all mandatory supporting documentation is received. Supporting documentation must be received within 28 days of lodging the application online. Failure to do so will result in the incomplete form being returned to you for completion and re submission. Incomplete application or claim forms cannot be assessed and eligibility will be determined from the date a completed form is received.
More information is available on the HECS Reimbursement Scheme—Rural and Regional Health Australia website.
Call 1800 010 550*.
*Call charges apply from mobile and pay phones only.
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Last updated: 2 September, 2013