Government

Welcome to the YOURLifeChoices Government page. Here you will find information and resources on the various services provided by state, territory and federal governments through the departments of Social Services, Health and Veterans’ Affairs. On these pages we feature the ‘need to know’ shortcuts to relevant government departments, what they can offer you or your family and how to claim your Seniors Card when you qualify.

Visit our Pension page for the latest changes or pension increases. Government centrelink seniors card pension veteran affairsOur Centrelink page has a wealth of information on the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension and how to claim your pension overseas. We regularly update our Centrelink page with questions from subscribers, answered by Centrelink, so you can easily find the information you need.


Helpful Government Websites


1. One stop health shop
If you’re battling a health concern, looking to get fitter, or trying to find out more information about a specific illness, the Federal Government sponsors many initiatives to keep Australians healthy. Discover useful information about recent studies, the latest updates to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and what services are available to you.
www.health.gov.au

 

2. Understand your Centrelink benefits
Find out if you qualify for the Age Pension, Newstart Allowance, or Disability Support Pension. Claiming a benefit, reporting your income or applying for an advance payment are just some of the things you can do using Centrelink’s Online Services. You can also download useful Centrelink publications.
www.centrelink.gov.au

 

3. Supporting our servicemen and women
Offering practical support to those who have served, or are currently serving, and their families, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) website is a useful tool to help navigate the services available. The site has details of rehabilitation services, benefits which can be claimed and to which health care card you may be entitled. You can also access counselling services and sign up for the DVA quarterly publication, Vetaffairs.
www.dva.gov.au

 

4. Digital TV is coming
The switch to digital television is well underway, with some areas having already made the switch. The Government has a program underway to ensure those on an Age Pension or receiving other qualifying benefits can access digital television for little or no cost.  If you haven’t already switched over, you can find out if your television is digital ready, whether you qualify for the Government’s free set-top box scheme, when the switchover will happen in your area and what are the benefits of digital television.
www.digitalready.gov.au

 

 

5. Managing your money
If you’re looking to keep track of your daily spend, understand your superannuation statement or get ready for retirement – where do you start? Moneysmart.gov.au is a well-organised government site which allows you to search for money tips and ideas depending on your age and stage. While you may not be looking to save for your first home, you might appreciate some tips on how to boost your superannuation balance, manage your Age Pension, find out if a reverse mortgage is right for you or learn how to balance your bank book.
www.moneysmart.gov.au

 

6. Go green and save
The carbon tax was implemented on 1 July 2012 and the first household assistance payments have been issued. If you've missed out, are not sure if you received the correct amount, or are in need of extra assistance, then you can calculate your correct level of assistance, get some tips on reducing your energy use and find out more about why the carbon tax is being implemented. Make sure you're getting what you are due.
www.cleanenergyfuture.gov.au

 

7. Is private health insurance worth the money?
Each year when your private health insurance renewal arrives you will no doubt ask yourself if it’s worth the money, can you really afford it or can you afford not to have it? While there are a few sites around which help you compare insurance premiums, you may not fully understand for what you are signing. PrivateHealthInsurance.gov.au will enable you to understand what clauses such as lifetime coverage mean, how much your Private Health Insurance Rebate will be and what is your health funds obligation to you.
www.privatehealthinsurance.gov.au

 

8. Protect your online information
Many Australians think nothing of banking, shopping and chatting online, but how many consider the implications of an unauthorised person getting hold of your personal details and passwords? When you hear cyber-bullying reported in the media, do you understand it, or do you have family and friends who have experienced it first hand? Interacting online can be safe and secure if you follow a few simple tips.
www.staysmartonline.gov.au

 

9. Accessing Medicare services
If you’ve ever stood in a queue to claim a Medicare benefit or waited on the phone to update your personal details, you may be pleased to know that certain Medicare items can now be claimed online, you can update your details in minutes and you can register for the Organ Donation Scheme.  You can find out what services are covered by Medicare and which medications are funded by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
www.medicare.gov.au

 

10. Before you go
Whether you’re heading across the Tasman to New Zealand or going trekking in deepest, darkest Peru, you need to be aware of any travel warnings, health recommendations and visa requirements to ensure a safe and happy trip. Smart Traveller will give you details of any travel warnings, allow you to register your travel details and help you find out if you need any vaccinations before you travel.
www.smarttraveller.gov.au

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Centrelink

Human Services industrial action

Human Services officers will commence industrial action on 11 December.

Who will be affacted?

Deeming rules confusion

John believes many of the rules surrounding the changes to deeming rules are detrimental.

Are self funded retirees being penalised?

Lump-sum withdrawals

Beth wants to know if a lump-sum withdrawal will affect her Age Pension.

Will her pension be affected?

Centrelink

Centrelink reporting and payment dates

Centrelink will be closing over the Christmas and New Year holiday period

Will your payment date change?

Parental gifting

How will granny flat arrangements and gifting an inheritance advancement affect the pension?

Granny flats and gifting

Investment property and the DSP

Lily isn’t sure what moving home will mean for her pension or tax liability.

How will your home be assessed?

Medicare

GP co-payment ‘dumped’

The $7 GP co-payment has been ‘dumped’, but GPs may still be able to charge.

Will you have to pay?

Medicare to close on Saturdays

Medicare offices are set to close on Saturdays.

Will this affect you?

Net medical expenses tax offset

Will you still be able to claim the net medical expenses tax offset next year?

Changes to net medical expenses tax offset

Seniors Card

Tap into unlimited travel for $2.50 a day

You never pay more than the current Pensioner Excursion Ticket.

Simply tap and travel

Opal for seniors and pensioners

Tap into transport made easy with the new Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card.

Simply tap and travel

Discover Canberra and save

You’ll also be able to save 20 per cent on a stay at the Crowne Plaza Canberra.

Stay and save

Federal Government

Make your vote count

there’s a website which has simplified the process of selecting your Senate preferences.

Select your preferences

What older Australians want

Advocacy groups release their political demands for older Australians.

But do they know what we want?

Do I need to vote?

Can you be excused from voting if you’re of unsound mind?

Remove yourself from the electoral roll

State Government

Property stamp duty concessions

Would there be any stamp duty concessions for a woman buying her deceased mum’s home?

Will she get a stamp duty concession?

Taxi subsidy schemes

If you can’t access public transport then you may be entitled to a taxi subsidy

Are you eligible for a taxi subsidy?

Free transport alternative to driving

Free public transport for pensioners may make not driving more appealing.

Free public transport for pensioners

Veterans’ Affairs

Supporting veterans

The Government has allocated additional funding for mental health programs for veterans.

ANZAC Centenary

Veteran’s service goes online

Accessing support services and providing information online is a time saving way to deal with large organisations.

Find out more

Veterans Organisations and Web Sites

Find information about Veterans Organisations.

Get more information

Pension

Changes to DSP claims

The assessment process of claims for the Disability Support Pension changed on 1 January.

Will you be affected?

Will more super affect my pension?

Would extra super payments be assessed by Centrelink and affect the Age Pension?

Is extra super OK?

Deeming rules confusion

John believes many of the rules surrounding the changes to deeming rules are detrimental.

Are self funded retirees being penalised?

News

Centrelink reporting and payment dates

Centrelink will be closing over the Christmas and New Year holiday period

Will your payment date change?

Are you a dole bludger?

If you’re claiming Newstart Allowance then the chances are that you are considered a dole bludger.

Are you looking for work?

New rules for reversionary pensioners

Many pensions ‘grandfathered’ under existing rules could lose their special exemption.

Are you prepared?

Federal Budget 2013-14

Medicare changes

Changes to the EMSN may mean more of your medical expenses will be covered.

But less bulk billing doctors

DisabilityCare Australia

DisabilityCare Australia will be rolled out at a cost of $19.3 billion over seven years.

Launched from July 2013

Superannuation reforms

The Government’s plan to make the retirement income system stronger, fairer.

Maximum age limit abolished

Federal Budget 2014-15

Sneaky cuts will cost

The removal of commonwealth funding for certain concessions could hit pensioners hard.

Did you hear about these cuts?

Bill’s Budget response

Bill Shorten delivered a stinging attack on the Abbott Government’s first budget last night.

Broken promises and willful lies

Best budget comments

YOURlifeChoices covered the Federal Budget 2014 topics which matter most to our members.

Did you have your say?

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