Easy concession applications
Here’s a quick and easy way to lift your income in 2023 if you are a self-funded retiree.
On November 4, the thresholds for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card increased substantially. The Federal Government’s predictions were that an extra 50,000 retirees would now be eligible. But this is probably understating the number who can now apply. By our reckoning, a substantial proportion of the 2.9 million retirees who do not currently qualify for an Age Pension will now get this handy concession card.
Here’s a ‘who, what, why and how’ to do this as painlessly as possible.
The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is available to singles, couples and couples separated by illness as long as their income is under the new, higher thresholds. Assets are not assessed, although deemed income from an Account-Based Pension will be.
What is it?
This concession card mirrors many of the features of the Pension Concession Card (PCC) which is automatically awarded to those on an Age Pension. The major concessions include, but are not limited to:
- Discounts on Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medications
- Bulk-billed visits to doctors
- Higher refunds after meeting the Medicare Safety Net
And, depending upon your state or territory of residence, discounts on:
- electricity and gas bills
- property and water rates
- health care costs, including ambulance, dental and eye care
- public transport fares
Why does it matter?
As we age, it’s highly likely that we will visit our doctors more frequently and require more frequent medical care. So it makes a huge amount of sense to pay as little as possible for all medical support. Similarly when it comes to medication, much of what we are prescribed is covered by the PBS, which makes further discounts very welcome. With inflation increasing 7% year-on-year at the moment, every small saving is a big win.
How to apply
Retirement Essentials offers two services. Many people will only require the standard version which means that they pay just $196 (for both singles and couples) to avoid the long queues and daunting paperwork.
This is how it works.
You can start by checking your eligibility. This calculator will take just a few minutes to determine if you are:
- eligible for an Age Pension,
- not eligible for the Age Pension, but will most likely get a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, or
- not eligible for either.
Need more support?
The Standard Service offered by Retirement Essentials will take care of most peoples’ needs. But if you want to hand over the responsibility of the application (by naming us as your correspondence nominee with Centrelink) then we can lodge your claim and liaise with Centrelink throughout the process. The fee for this Concierge Service is $296 for singles and $346 for couples. It’s useful for those who find it difficult to attend a Centrelink office themselves or require someone to act on their behalf remotely.
And finally, how long will it take?
Allowing for the break over Christmas, the normal application takes between 2-4 weeks to be approved.