The good news this week is that all Age Pension payment and threshold changes are now live. So you can use our Age Pension Eligibility Calculator to check your new payments or eligibility status immediately.
And there are two other important changes which also apply from 20 September.
The first is that eligibility for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) just got even easier.
And the second is that the rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) has increased.
Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
We’ve written about this valuable concession card many times previously. It’s on offer to those who do not qualify for an Age Pension but are over Age Pension age. You don’t have to be retired, simply old enough to receive an Age Pension. Unlike Age Pension eligibility, which is based on an income and assets test, only the income test applies for those seeking a CSHC. The previous thresholds were dramatically increased on 4 November last year, and in the fine print of changes to rates and entitlements on 20 September, we can confirm that the thresholds for the CSHC will also increase.
Given that Commonwealth Seniors Health Cards can offer such significant medical and pharmaceutical discounts, it remains surprising that more self-funded retirees do not bother to apply. Yes, we understand that the thought of gathering documentation and dealing with a government department might be off-putting, but your discounts are activated from the day you apply. (Remember, however, these new limits start on Wednesday 20 September, so don’t submit your application before then). You can save on imaging and other medical tests, be bulk billed by GPs and enjoy a range of other benefits including cheaper postal stamps – yes some people still use them!! You can apply yourself online or in person at a service centre. Or you can use one of two Retirement Essentials Commonwealth Seniors Health Cards support services to fast track this process.
|Taxable Income Limits||Previous limit||From 20 September 2023|
Commonwealth Rent Assistance
For the approximately 15% of older Australians who are renting, the news that the Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) payments will increase on 20 September is very positive. As you can see from the table below, these increases are 17.5% – a significant amount which recognises the shortage of rental accommodation and resulting price squeeze. The maximum amounts are paid to those who have reached the rental ceilings, which have also increased, by 11% for singles and 9% for couples.
|Rent Assistance||Previous amount (per fortnight)||From 20 September 2023 (per fortnight)|
If you are struggling to understand the many different changes to government entitlements and how they might affect you, or if you would just like to test your understanding of how you can maximise all your entitlements, our Advisers are ready and keen to assist.
Do any of these changes affect you?
Do you find entitlements easy to understand?
Are there any questions you would like answered?