Centrelink Q&A: Which concession cards do you qualify for?

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Bernadette is over pension age but still working and wants to know what concession cards she may be eligible for.


Q. Bernadette
I am 67 and am only working six hours a day because I can’t get a pension as my partner works. He is 11 years my junior and won’t be retiring for quite some time. Though we are partners, we still keep our will and finances separate as we both have two non-dependent children from previous marriages. I have worked and paid taxes all my life and find it very unfair not to be able to receive a pension card or health card. I am unable to get any discounts that a pensioner with a card can get. Am I entitled to anything at all?

A. As you are over the pension age and not eligible for a payment from Services Australia, you may still be eligible for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

You still need to meet the income test to get a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, which for couples means that you must not earn more than $89,290 a year.

Holders of a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card are entitled to discounts on prescription medicines through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

You may also qualify for additional health, household, transport, education and recreation concessions that may be offered by state or territory and local governments and private providers.

If you and your partner are over the income limit for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, you may still be eligible for a Seniors Card.

A Seniors Card is issued by state and territory governments and is available to those aged 60 and over who no longer work full-time.

However, eligibility varies depending on the state or territory in which you reside, as do the concessions available to you, so it’s worth checking if you qualify.

Concessions are provided by government agencies and private businesses.

The main benefit is that Seniors Card holders are entitled to travel concessions in their home state and territory, as well as interstate.

You can read more about Seniors Card eligibility in your state and territory here.

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Written by Ben


Total Comments: 27
  1. 0

    Actually IMO it stinks that people over age pension age can not get a pension or benefits if they are part of a couple and the other partner is working and earning enough to disqualify them. This is yet another example of where a universal basic income would make things simple and equitable.

  2. 0

    it does stink especially when you have worked and paid tax. ( mum used to tell me thats how the system worked in England. )

  3. 0

    It’s about time we had a universal age pension, regardless of income and assets. Someone who saves and earns lots during their life paying lots of taxes is penalized for doing so when they should be rewarded! Crazy system here….To my knowledge there isn’t another developed country that has their age pension assets and income tested

  4. 0

    Ours is much better than you think, only a handful of Countries have a Universal Pension, about 45 have a means tested Pension, we rank 3rd best system in the World.

  5. 0

    Yes, the UK system pays full Government pension even if you receive a former employer pension and everyone is covered by the National Health Service. There is no means test. Even I, who only worked in the UK for 6 years (and bought an extra 3 years), receive a 25% UK pension although I’ve lived and worked in Australia since 1964 and my wife, who was born here and never worked in the UK receives a 12.5% British pension because she’s married to me! The Aussie system is pretty poor – imagine how much of public servants’ wages could be redirected to retired people if they simplified their methods and gave up checking on us all the time.

  6. 0

    Whilst that is unfair, many people are in the same situation. My only suggestion is wrap a towel around your head, hire a boat and row into your capital city harbour flying a white flag with ‘refugee’ on it. You will then get everything you ask for.

    • 0

      You’ll be locked up indefinitely without recourse to even a court hearing. Even if you and your family were fleeing persecution and threatened with death.

      You should try it mogo51 – it might be the only way you’ll unlearn your one-eyed racism.

    • 0

      Be fair – hoohoo. One is still allowed to have an opinion here – where they come from you do not. Or of course you might be one of them.

  7. 0

    The over 60s card. In Queensland to get one that will give me rate reductions and reduced public transport fares I have to be receiving some kind of Federal Government Welfare. But in Victoria you just have to be over 60 and not working full time, I have a Victorian 63 year old friend who works 32 hours a week and has one. Strange thing is Victorian Over 60s card holders can come to Queensland and get concessional public transport but I being an over 60s Queenslander just working 4 hours a week can’t. I rang the State government department that handles this and the public servant I spoke to agreed with me that it was an anomaly. I wrote to the State Minister and I just got back a letter telling me about all the great things they are doing but never addressing my concern.

    • 0

      All you have to get in Qld is the low income health care card at age 60 and you get the Seniors Card. Unless you work in a good job full time you most probably qualify for one. I did with ease; it does require a lot of form filling, you will acquire a Centrelink number which will then stay the same when you go on age pension. Filling in these forms will help you later when applying for the pension as C/L has all your information already. You will not get welfare but you will get cheaper power and council rates in some municipalities, ask them about it. All my mates in Vic and NSW had a Senior Card at 60 and used them when visiting me in Queensland.

    • 0

      Wish that were true Mariner but I am 64 years old earn $200 a week from a casual job but get no welfare from the Federal Government, I do not qualify for a low income health care card as I have too much in savings.
      In Victoria to get the over 60s card you do not need to be on a low income health care card, you just need to be over 60 and working less than 35 hours a week. Qld recognizes over 60 cards from other States so when my millionaire Victorian friends visit me they get concessional public transport but I don’t.

    • 0

      dabi56 – quite right about Vic and NSW re Senior Card. I qualified in Qld for the card but shifted to NSW. I applied for the one in NSW and it is a piece of cake (working less than 35 hours a week and no questions about excess savings etc). Things were better for the oldies in Qld when old Joh was in charge – for a start I was able to have a beer on Sunday as well. Lived in Melbourne for 8 years with total Sunday pub shut down and no Sunday paper either.

    • 0

      So dabi56 you must have a bit over $800k in savings, so you are serious saying you want a Low Income Health Card. You’ll get a Commonwealth seniors Card probably when you are Pension Age, but I think you’ll survive until then.

  8. 0

    If all people of pension age got the pension, everybody would be more inclined to work hard and save because they would not be penalised for it. It would be a fair system and save the worry of trying to get the pension.

  9. 0

    We just squeak past the limit on income so my hubby gets a tiny part pension. (I of course am too youthful!). However that pension card (which also covers me) is priceless. $6.60 for our meds, bulk billing in a lot of cases. It was worth all the blood sweat and tears to get through the humiliating debacle that is centrelink.
    I was recently interviewed for a job that paid a pittance, I would love to do a little job but we would have been worse off!
    I am with all of you calling for a universal pension for all. Cut the bureaucratic nightmare that is centrelink and save money that way. How much simpler it would be if, as ATO have all our details from our tax return, they see our age and non working income and just send us a pension!
    …Yeah dream on!

    • 0

      I like the universal pension as well but we have to take into consideration that in most countries with universal pensions the recipients have to pay tax on it; also the tax exempt threshold is lower than here so even if you have nothing but the full pension you are still on the taxation list.

  10. Profile Photo

    Is anyone doing the sums? How are our kids and grandkids taxes going to pay for a pension that goes to those who already have a comfortable income and many assets? And while they still accumulate funds for their own retirement… and while they are repaying the govt for their tertiary education ? It is painful now for some (who otherwise would not have a care) because the return on investments is minute (even wont bring a good income). And, yes, couple is treated as ‘a couple’ – because they are – they share their dwelling overheads etc. What would be the position of the single aged persons relative to the couple with this rragement – as their overheads are higher per head than the couple? Would those arguing for this support similar treatment for a supporting parent in a relationship with a waged person (if they promised to keep their income separate)? How about a higher unemployment benefit – one that actually allows people to live and afford to catch transport when seeking a job (they dont have that for free?

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