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Pensioner Concession Card

Pensioner Concession Card

Concession Cards14

“Retirement is wonderful if you have two essentials: much to live on and much to live for.”  

But in Australia, there is a third essential for a wonderful retirement and that is a Pensioner Concession Card. It is the ultimate card that every retiree wants to have. It provides recipients with the greatest benefits out of all concession cards available in Australia.  

With all its little benefits it can make your retirement life so much more convenient, enjoyable and frankly pretty affordable and economical. 

Who is eligible for the Pensioner Concession Card (PCC)? 

Recipients of the following payments are automatically issued a Pensioner Concession Card: 

  • Payments from Centrelink office such as: Age Pension, Disability Support Pension or Carer Payment 
  • Payments from DVA (Department of Veterans Affairs) such as Service Pension or a War Widow payment supplement  
  • Job Seeker payment and you are 60 years and older and you have been receiving the payment for 9 months or more 

There are even more people eligible, but here we are discussing retirement or pre-retirement age, so I am limiting eligibility to that age bracket.  

Residence Requirements

The card itself does not have residence requirements, however the underlying payments do. If you are not sure about those residence rules, please read: Age Pension explained 

Pensioner Concession Card Retention 

  • If you no longer qualify for the payment, generally you must stop using the card. However, if you no longer receive the payment due to employment income, you can retain the cards for a period of 12 weeks.  
  • If you are a recipient of the Disability Support Pension and your payment stops because you started working for 30 hours or more a week, you can retain the PCC for a period of 52 weeks. 
  • If you are 60 or older, but below the Age Pension Age and you have been on Job Seeker for those 9 months and your Job Seeker payment stops because you started a new employment, you can retain the PCC for a period of 26 weeks.   

There are other retention rules that apply to people in other situations, but again this is not part of our discussion. 

Benefits of Pensioner Concession Card. 

  • Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
    Pensioner Concession Health Card provides you access to cheaper medicine under the PBS. Concession cardholders can use the PBS to pay a maximum of $6.60 ($41.30 for non-concession cardholders) for each medicine on the PBS. You can enquire about a medicine’s PBS eligibility at your local pharmacy or on the PBS website.  

Once you pay an amount in a calendar year equal to the PBS safety net threshold ($316.80 for concession cardholders), your medicine will be free for the rest of the year.  

Where two or more brands offer the same medicine, they may have different prices and therefore a more expensive brand may charge a premium on top of the PBS prescribed amounts. 

  • Bulk billed doctor visits
    Did you know that doctors can receive higher payments from Medicare if they treat a concession cardholder? Therefore, some practices which do not bulk bill for a general patient may bulk bill for a concession cardholder (but are not required to).  
  • Extended Medicare safety net (EMSN)
    The EMSN provides an increased rebate for Australian families and singles who incur out-of-pocket costs for Medicare eligible out-of-hospital services. 

Once the relevant annual threshold of out-of-pocket costs has been met, Medicare will pay up to 80 per cent of any future out-of-pocket costs for out-of-hospital Medicare services for the remainder of the calendar year. 
Concession cardholders are entitled to a lower EMSN threshold. The EMSN thresholds are indexed on 1 January 2021 each year and for 2021 the thresholds are:  

  • $697.00 for Commonwealth concession cardholders, including those with a Pensioner Concession Card, a Health Care Card or a Commonwealth Seniors Card, and people who receive Family Tax Benefit (Part A); and 
  • $2,184.30 for all other singles and families.  
  • Help with hearing services provided by the Department of Health.  

You can choose the service provider, have your hearing assessment done, receive advice and support about hearing loss and if needed you can have a subsidised hearing device filled and that also includes a contribution towards the maintenance of the device. I hear very different opinions about those devices, some people very happy, others not so much, so try if it is working for you before you dismiss it.  

  • Discounts through Australia Post
    As a pensioner you are eligible to receive discounts for stamps and to redirect your mail through Australian Post service. 
  • Discounts through Telstra
    Pensioner discount is offered by Telstra for home customers. Considering how many families no longer have a stationary home telephone connection, very few people utilise this discount, but it could be beneficial for you especially when you live in a country where the mobile connection is not as reliable as in big cities.  

As you can see there are many benefits available to pensioners who are lucky enough to have this card in their possession.  

If you are not as lucky, please read my article: Concession Cards Value – that explains benefits of other concession cards available to retirees in Australia. Also, please contact me to find out if there are ways to improve your retirement income, have access to part Age Pension and ultimately to the Pensioner Concession Card as well. 

Retirement is a Journey not a Destination, so be well prepared for the ride” 

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

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