Centrelink Concession Cards – Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card and Low Income Health Care Card
Eligibility for the age pension is a common consideration for those retiring, however there are other Centrelink concessions that are sometimes overlooked.
These cards offer benefits to those that can’t get the age pension due to assets or age and can be surprisingly easy to access. Low deeming rates make these concession cards available to most people, even those with several million in assets.
What is the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHCC)?
The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHCC) offers concessions on a range of expenses, including health care, emergency services levy, and the purchase of prescription medication. It also provides other benefits, the two $750 Corona supplement payments being a recent example.
Who is eligible?
To be eligible for the card you must have reached age pension age and meet an income test. The age pension age is slowly be increased, and depends on your birthday:
|Period within which a person was born||Pension age|
|From 1 July 1952 to 31 December 1953||65 years and 6 months|
|From 1 January 1954 to 30 June 1955||66 years|
|From 1 July 1955 to 31 December 1956||66 years and 6 months|
|From 1 January 1957 onwards||67 years|
Unlike the age pension, the CSHCC does not have an asset test, with only an income test applicable. The income test is relatively simple; your taxable income is combined with an assumed earnings rate of 2.25% on the bulk of your superannuation pensions. If this is lower than the threshold for singles ($55,808 pa) or couples ($89,290 pa) you are eligible. The low deeming rate of 2.25% means the test is surprisingly generous, and couples with almost $4,000,000 in super, or working part-time can still be eligible.
What if I haven’t reached age pension age yet? – Low Income Health Care Card
There are other options for those that have not reached age pension age but are no longer working. One of these is the Low-Income Health Care Card. This offers similar benefits to the CSHCC but is available to those under pension age.
A stricter income test applies, with a maximum income of $29,692 pa for singles and $51,220 pa for couples. All investment assets are deemed at 2.25% for this card, however a couple with over $2,000,000 can still be eligible.
For those who retire early and live of their assets, this card can be a valuable benefit.
Give us a call if you would like to discuss your Centrelink options. We can help you determine what you are eligible for and make the process of applying as smooth as possible.