What is a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card?
Sometimes known as an aged care card, or concession card, a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card can be used to access concessions, discounts and cheaper health care for older Australians who have reached Age Pension age. However, you are not eligible for one if you actually receive an Age Pension or DVA Pension.
Please note: The CSHC is different to a Health Care Card or a Low Income Health Care Card – two other concessions cards issued by Services Australia.
Who is eligible for one?
To receive a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC), you must:
- Be age pension age (that’s 66 years and 6 months for people born from 1st July 1955 to 31st December 1956; and 67 years if your birthdate is on or after 1 January 1957).
- Meet residence rules by being physically present and living in Australia when the claim is lodged, or being a special category visa holder
- Not be getting an income support payment from Centrelink or the Department of Veteran’s Affairs
- Meet identity requirements
- Meet the income test by having an annual Adjusted Taxable Income (ATI) less than the relevant threshold (less than $90,000 for a single person, or $144,000 if you’re a couple)
- Supply a Tax File Number or be exempt from doing so
It’s interesting to note that while you have to have reached age pension age, you don’t have to be retired to be eligible for the card. You can find out more about the specifics of these requirements here https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/who-can-get-commonwealth-seniors-health-card?context=21966
How do I apply for one? You can apply for a CSHC online on the Services Australia website https://www.superguide.com.au/in-retirement/commonwealth-seniors-health-card#dc-53885-s-209145-209149-209155-209164-209168
Alternatively, you can download and manually fill out a claim form (accessible here https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/sa296) or call Services Australia on 132 300 for help.
You will need to supply a range of documents to support your application, including:
- financial documents (such as Tax File number, income tax returns, superannuation details, investment and bank details)
- residency documents (these may include visa, dates living in other countries and date of Australian citizenship if you previously lived outside Australia)
- relationship documents (including details of your partner, their work and income)
As the CSHC is given to individuals, you will have to apply individually if you are a member of a couple.
Exactly what benefits can it give you?
For those eligible for the CSHC, benefits can include:
- Cheaper prescription medicines
- Bulk-billed doctor visits
- Access to the Extended Medicare Safety Net (EMSN) – Concessional benefit, which gives you a better Medicare refund for out-of-hospital costs
- Lowered electricity and gas bills, healthcare costs, public transport fares and property and water rates (although this will depend on where you live, as these concessions come from local and state governments)
What happens if my application is refused?
If Services Australia assesses you as ineligible for a CSHC, you will receive a letter to that effect from Services Australia in your myGov inbox or through normal snail mail.
There are other benefits you can access however, and each state and territory also have their own Seniors Card scheme, giving cardholders access to discounts at participating businesses and cheaper public transport.
Can you get the CSHC if you live in aged care? Yes – as long as you meet the residency requirements, it doesn’t matter whether you live in aged care or on your own. There is no asset test for the CSHC, so whether you own your own home or where you live doesn’t make any difference to your eligibility.
Will having a CSHC affect the aged care costs I will need to pay?
No, it won’t. The CSHS is a completely separate thing to any aged care costs you will need to pay. To find out more about the costs you will need to pay in aged care, click here: https://www.finleyregionalcare.com.au/the-cost-of-aged-care/