Which one is for you?
When it comes to saving money in retirement, it’s fair to say that discount and concession cards can make a huge difference. The difficulty is that there are so many different types of cards for retirees that it becomes confusing as to which card you might need for which purpose.
Retirement Essentials covered the specific difference between cards and how to apply for them in one of our most popular articles in January.
Today we are revisiting this topic to complement our main article on ways to cut household spending.
Quite simply, we really can’t talk about reducing bills without noting the many ways your concession and discount cards can contribute.
So here’s a brief overview of how these cards work and some of the many savings you can make by using them.
The first important distinction is between concession cards and discount cards.
The main concession cards are issued by the Federal Government, through Services Australia, to those who have applied for and received a social benefit. Or, separately, to those who are of Age Pension age, do not qualify for a pension, but do earn below a certain amount of income and so can receive a different concession card.
Federal Government concession cards include:
Pension Concession Card (PCC)
Automatically issued to those on an Age Pension, Disability Support Pension or in special circumstances, for those receiving a JobSeeker payment or Special Benefit.
Veteran Affairs Concessions Cards
A Pension Concession Card, issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) for those on a service pension. Veterans and partners may also qualify for White, Gold or Orange Veterans’ cards with additional concessions.
Health Care Card
For those receiving payments from Services Australia, including those on Carer Payments or a mobility allowance.
Lower Income Health Care Card
As the name suggests, a Health Care Card for those who are earning very low income.
As described above, for those of Age Pension age (who do not qualify for the Age Pension), earning below the income threshold.
Most of the benefits of these national concession cards are for lower medical and allied health costs, cheaper pharmaceuticals, cheaper transport and discounts on energy and other household expenses.
Seniors Cards are issued by state and territory governments. These cards are both concession cards and discount cards as they can deliver significant savings on some state or territory services, as well as discounts with participating businesses. The level of savings varies according to the state in which you reside. Seniors in Queensland seem to have won the lottery, with savings ranging across electricity, gas, car registration and more. Western Australian seniors also get concessions on driver’s licence fees. Those in NSW and Victoria are doing it tougher with few state government concessions. However both these states seem to have a wider range of participating business discounts, covering travel insurance, life insurance, motoring organisations and food delivery services. Many hotel chains such as Best Western and Choice Hotels also offer up to 10% discounts nationally, as long as you have a senior’s card.
You can find links for each state or territory Seniors Card program here.
If you’d like to check your card entitlements in one easy session, why not try the National Seniors Concessions Calculator which determines your combined concessions and seniors card discounts, based upon the state where you reside?
And don’t forget, as in many other aspects of modern life, it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the oil. So if you are not offered a discount by a retailer, it’s on you to step up and ask if one is available – they often can be.
We can help with the Pension Concession Card and the CSHC. Get started by checking if you are eligible.