Explained: The differences between concession cards

On the face of it, the Pensioner Concession Card and the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card both look very much the same, but there are some vital differences between the cards relating to eligibility and discounts.

Here’s our guide for each card and how they can be used.

Pensioner Concession Card

The Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) is available to people who receive certain Centrelink payments.

Those payments are the Age Pension, Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension, JobSeeker or Youth Allowance and the Parenting Payment.

You do not need to apply for a Pensioner Concession Card. Centrelink will send you one if you’re eligible.

The benefits of the PCC include:

If you have any dependent children, they may also be eligible for some of these benefits.

You may also be eligible if you have a partial capacity to work and receive JobSeeker or a Parenting Payment.

Your state or territory government or local council may also offer more benefits including discounts on utility bills, water and rates, discounted public transport and vehicle registrations.

Here is a state-by-state and territory guide to discounts and concessions:

  • Victorians can check here.
  • NSW can check here.
  • Queensland can check here
  • Northern Territory here
  • Western Australia here.
  • South Australia here.
  • ACT here
  • Tasmania here.

You will not need to renew your card. Centrelink will send a new card four to six weeks before the expiry date on your current card. The card is valid for two years.

You can find the instructions to download a digital version to your phone here.

While you will automatically receive a card if you are eligible, you will have to let Centrelink know about changes in circumstances if you hold a card, including if you:

  •  change or correct your name
  • you marry or start or stop living with your partner
  • you start or stop being the main carer of a child
  • your home address changes
  • your or your partner’s income or assets change
  • you don’t have to lodge a tax return
  • your work or study load changes
  • you are leaving Australia.

You will need to inform Centrelink of any changes within 14 days by visiting an office or using your online Centrelink account or myGov account.

If you receive payments you are not eligible for through the card, because your circumstances have changed, you may have to pay the money back plus a fee.

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card 

The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card allows you to receive cheaper healthcare and some discounts if you have reached Age Pension age.

You may be eligible if you are:

  • Age Pension age or older
  • meet residence rules
  • not getting an income support payment from Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
  • meet identity requirements
  • meet the income test.

When you apply for the card, you must supply your tax file number and that of your partner, unless you are exempt.

You can begin the application process here.

You may need to provide your identity, including a Centrelink Customer Reference Number.

If you have a partner, they will also have to prove their identity if you are claiming a Low Income Health Care Card or Farm Household Allowance.

Health Care Card

A Health Care Card will give you access to cheaper medicines and some discounts if you receive the following payments from Centrelink:

You can also get a card for up to one year if you get any of the following payments:

You must also live in Australia and meet residency rules.

Benefits could include:

  • bulk-billing for doctor’s appointments, as decided by your doctor
  • more refunds for medical expenses through the Medicare Safety Net
  • discounted mail redirection through Australia Post.

State and territory governments and local councils may also offer concessions for costs such as:

  • energy and electricity
  • healthcare, including ambulance, dental and eye care
  • public transport
  • rates.

Check with the above links mentioned in the Pensioner Concession Card section to see what discounts are available.

Do you have any of these cards? Have they been helpful? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments section below.

Also read: How Centrelink will value your investment property

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisherhttp://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/JanFisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.
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