Many people associate Centrelink with Age Pension needs and payments. But it is also the agency which issues and manages the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC).

Another little known fact is that only 20% of those who might be eligible for this card (Australia’s two million self-funded retirees) actually bother to apply.

There is little hard data on why people don’t do so. But there is a lot of evidence that the rewards far outstrip the work involved in processing the forms.

This week the team at Retirement Essentials was delighted to receive a call from a member from Penrith, NSW who we helped to apply for a CSHC.  Let’s call them Robert and Sue.

They only qualified in March, but Sue went to the trouble of contacting us to share how happy they are with the savings they’ve made to date. These are from recent medical appointments as well as pharmaceutical and energy bills.

Sue and Robert had two recent appointments which, if required to add on out-of-pocket costs,  would have cost the couple close to $550. One was an annual breast scan ordered by her oncologist as she is in remission from cancer. The other was a neurological test for Robert’s arthritis. They were both amazed that these tests were covered due to their having a CHSC. They also told us about savings on prescription medicines – last week they paid just $6.80 for two prescriptions instead of the $80 or so they normally need to pay six times a year. They have also received a NSW Government Seniors Energy Rebate of $200 on electricity charges.

So in the space of just six weeks of having their CSHC, Sue and Robert believe they have saved more than $800.

Their savings are impressive, but far from the full list of rebates available to CSHC holders, which includes various PBS discounts, doctors’ visits, medical tests, hearing, dental and vision checks as well as other energy savings.

Are you eligible?

There is no assets test for a CSHC. The income test, (from 20 September 2021), requires that you earn no more than:

  • $57,761 a year if you’re single
  • $92,416 a year for couples
  • $115,522 a year for couples separated by illness, respite care or prison.

(Add $639.60 per year to these amounts for each child in your care.)

Read the full list of potential CSHC savings here.

You can check if you are eligible for this card below.

Check Your Entitlements