The Lowdown on concession card benefits
Here in Australia, reaching the big six zero is somewhat of a milestone. Not just because you are getting closer to embracing retirement, but because you could become eligible for a range of concession cards.
These cards offer some great opportunities to lower your cost of living and keep some extra dollars in your pocket. Savings are available on lots of regular bills and many commonly used services.
Today, we give you the lowdown on concession card benefits!
You’ve probably already heard of the ‘Seniors Card’. Every state and territory operates their own Seniors Card scheme and it provides you with a range of discounts on goods and services such as public transport, travel and accommodation, professional services and even leisure and recreation activities.
To be eligible for the South Australian Seniors Card, you need to be “over 60 years of age, a permanent resident of Australia, residing in South Austalie.” You also need to be working less than 20 hours a week to apply.
Businesses that offer Seniors Card discounts usually have a sign on display, but it’s always worth asking if you can’t see a notice in-store or online. Or you can check the online directory before you shop.
Pensioner Concession Card
If you currently receive the Age Pension, then you probably hold a Pensioner Concession Card (PCC). This card offers benefits such as cheaper healthcare and medicines, as well as some other discounts like lower utility bills, public transport or vehicle registration.
Eligibility is based on whether you receive the Age Pension – regardless of amount. So, even if you are only receiving the minimum payment from the Government, you are still entitled to enjoy the benefits of the PCC.
Commonwealth Seniors Health Card If you have reached pension age, but are self-funding your retirement, you could be eligible to receive the Federal Government’s Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC). This scheme offers lower cost healthcare and medicines similar to the PCC, but you don’t have to be receiving the Age Pension to have access to it.
The Services Australia website says, “to get this card you need to meet all these conditions. You must:
be Age Pension age or older
meet residence rules
not be getting a payment from us or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
give us a Tax File Number or be exempt from doing so
meet identity requirements
meet the income test.”
Low Income Health Care Card
If you have retired but haven’t quite reached 60 yet, there is still a concession card you might be able to utilise. The Low Income Health Care Card (LIHCC) offers a lot of the same benefits as the PCC and CSHC, but the only requirement is an income test and meeting residency rules. Assets are not included in assessing your eligibility.
Outside these specific concession card schemes, there are also additional benefits you may be able to access. If you are receiving the Age Pension you could also be able to claim support such as:
Energy Supplement is “an extra payment to help with energy costs.”
Rent Assistance is a regular payment to help cover your home rental costs.
Carer Allowance is for “people who give additional daily care to someone with a disability, medical condition, or an adult who is frail aged.”
Talk to a First Financial adviser
There is significant value in holding a concession card. The extra dollars you save could help you enjoy some of the things you might normally consider an unaffordable expense.
We can explore strategies that allow you to reduce your assessable assets and potentially increase your Age Pension entitlements. Contact us to find out more about how we can help you make the most of what you’ve built.