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Centrelink Concession Cards for your Retirement

Centrelink Concession Cards for your Retirement

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Retirement is the time when you can no longer rely on your monthly or fortnightly salary to support your lifestyle. Instead, you have to make adjustments and start calculating your savings, your investments, your superannuation, because this is it. That’s all you’ve got and this is what is available to you to provide for your whole retirement.

So not surprisingly, it can feel scary and a bit overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to. With some help, explanation and correct set up and management of your savings, your retirement could be very enjoyable and maybe even more affordable that you realise.

I have written extensively about retirement, forms of income and Age Pension and how to improve them all. You can refresh your knowledge by viewing the following articles:

Obviously, it is impossible to explain everything, as each situation requires a different strategy, different financial set up or different income streams.

But what is even more important is the fact that each person and each family are different with different needs and wants. Different understanding of money, different priorities, and principles. No wonder there is not such thing as one size fits all and that’s where professional advice can really help and put you on the right track.

But outside of the actual money and income, there are other benefits available to many retirees which are concession cards.

So today we will go over most of those retirement benefits including concession cards, who is eligible and what are the benefits.

“Government’s first duty is to protect the people not run their lives” those are the words of Ronald Reagan.

It would be great to see all government’s applying this simple motion, but today’s let’s not be political, but rather talk about some of the few benefits created by Australian government for those that need such assistance.

1. Pensioner Concession Card (PCC)

This is the most beneficial card of them all and every person or every household that receives even the lowest level of payment from Age Pension, Disability Support Pension or Carer Payment will automatically receive Pensioner Concession Card. There is a lot to explain about this card, therefore it requires its own time. And I will prepare a separate article that will explain all the benefits of that card.

2. Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC)

If you are not eligible for Pensioner Concession Card (obviously because you are not eligible for Age Pension either under Income or Assets Test) you could be eligible for Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

You have to be of Age Pension age or older, you have to meet residency rules. If you don’t know what they are, just watch this video: Age Pension – Are you eligible? IF NOT, WHY NOT?. Obviously you are not receiving any payment from Centrelink of Department of Veterans Affairs, you provide satisfactory ID documents and you meet the income test.

Income Test for CSHC is quite generous. From 20 September 2021 your annual income cannot be greater than:

  • $57,761 a year if you’re single
  • $92,416 a year for couples
  • $115,522 a year for couples separated by illness, respite care or prison.

There is an additional payment of $639.60 for each child in your care.

There is no assets test.

3. Low Income Health Card (LIHC)

This card is designed for people who have retired but are not old enough for the Age Pension, which will give you the same benefits as the PCC & CSHC. This one is based on Income Test and no assets test applies.

In order to be eligible, your income needs to be below:

Single $644.00pw $33,488pa
Couple combined $1,107.00pw $57,564pa

 ·         Concessional card benefits

Concession card holders can enjoy benefits such as:

  • Discounted rate on medicines listed under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
  • Bulk billing for doctors’ appointments
  • 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

“Retirement is a Journey NOT a Destination, so be well prepared for your ride”

 

By: Katherine Isbrandt CFP®
Money Strategist & Retirement Planner
Principal of About Retirement

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