Eligibility for concession cards and other benefits in retirement

Retired clients who receive the Age Pension are automatically issued with the Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) which provides access to a range of additional Government benefits.

Even when retirees do not qualify for the Age Pension, it can be worth exploring other concession cards including the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) and Low Income Health Care Card (LIHCC).

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

Pensioner Concession Card (PCC)
For those receiving the Age Pension, the Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) can deliver additional benefits 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.

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.

1. The Government provides financial incentives for GPs to bulk-bill concession cardholders and is dependent on the discretion of the doctor.
2. Includes free hearing test, subsidised hearing aids, maintenance of hearing aids and ongoing support from qualified professionals.

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