Eligibility for concession cards and other benefits in retirement
|For financial adviser use only|
Find out more about the scope of benefits from concession cards and how you can include them in your clients’ retirement income strategy. For many retired clients, Government payments and benefits are an important consideration within their overall retirement strategy. As well as providing income in retirement, holders of concession cards can allow retirees to make savings on certain bills, medical services and products, and open the door to other types of financial assistance from the government.
Concession cards for retired clients: a summaryPensioner Concession Card (PCC)
For those receiving the Age Pension, the Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) can deliver additional benefit to their household budget and cash flow. Retirees eligible for the Age Pension also hold a PCC, regardless of how much their Age Pension payments are. Even those receiving the minimum amounts of $52 per fortnight for singles or $78 per fortnight for couples, will be entitled to hold a PCC. A PCC can also be issued to clients of Age Pension age who are receiving a Disability Support Pension or Carer Payment.
Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC)The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) may be available to self-funded retirees of Age Pension age who don’t satisfy the means test (income and assets test) requirements for the Age Pension. Retired clients who meet the eligibility criteria (including an income test) can benefit from savings available to CSHC holders even when they are not eligible for the Age Pension.
The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) may be available to self-funded retirees of Age Pension age who don’t satisfy the means test (income and assets test) requirements for the Age Pension. Retired clients who meet the eligibility criteria (including an income test) can benefit from savings available to CSHC holders even when they are not eligible for the Age Pension.
Low income Health Care Card (LIHCC)
For retired clients who aren’t old enough for the Age Pension, the Low Income Health Care Card (LIHCC) will give them access to many of the same benefits as the PCC and CSHC. Eligibility for the LIHCC is based on an income test only, no asset test applies.
Concession card benefits
Holders of the PCC, CSHC and LIHCC will all enjoy the following discounts and benefits:
- Discounted rate on medicines listed under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
- Bulk billing for doctors’ appointments1
- Discounted out-of-hospital medical expenses above the concessional threshold of the Medicare Safety Net
- Discounts on certain services provided by Australia Post, such as mail re-direction
PCC card holders also enjoy discounts on hearing services2 and Telstra home services.
Extra payments for Age Pension recipients
Being eligible for the Age Pension can also enable retired clients to claim other support payments from Centrelink:
Energy supplement – this is a regular extra payment to help with energy costs. Clients who hold the CSHC may also receive the energy supplement, depending on when they became eligible for their CSHC. The amount they receive will depend on whether they are single or partnered.
Rent assistance – an extra payment towards rent or fees in a retirement village and the amount they receive depends on how much rent they pay.
Pension supplement – this is a regular, extra payment to help with bills such as phone, internet, utilities and medical costs. The amount they receive will depend on their Age Pension entitlement and whether they are single or partnered.
Advance payments – if they have been receiving the Age Pension for more than three months, they can apply to receive some of their payment in advance. In any six-month period, they can apply for a single advance at the highest amount, two advances of a smaller amount or three advances at the lowest amount. These amounts will depend on their Age Pension entitlement and whether they are single or partnered.
Strategies to help with Age Pension eligibility
There are a number of strategies that asset-tested retired clients may wish to explore to reduce their assessable assets and increase their Age Pension entitlement, either now or in the future. A lifetime income stream provides retired clients with the dual benefits of income for life and a reduction in their assessable assets. Up until age 84, 60% of the purchase amount of a lifetime income stream will be assessed as an asset for a minimum of five years. After this time, or from the day they turn 84, this reduces to 30% of the purchase amount
For more information on how to help your clients improve their Age Pension and retirement income outcomes, click here.