Age Pension: when will Pension Concession cards be returned?

Why and when are Pensioner Concession Cards being reinstated?

Age Pension: when will Pension Concession cards be returned?

Last week the second reading of the Bill to reintroduce Pensioner Concession Cards to those who lost them as part of the asset threshold changes that happened on 1 January 2017. With no opposition the Bill is likely to now pass seamlessly through the Senate so why are they being reinstated, who will get their Pensioner Concession Cards back and when?

Former age pensioners who lost their entitlement to the Pensioner Concession Cards when they ceased being eligible for an Age Pension on 1 January 2017 were issued a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. Although this grants access to concessions funded by the Commonwealth, such as access to cheaper medicines through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and the lower extended Medicare safety net, it does not give access to many concessions funded by state and territory governments.

The Government has decided to reinstate the Pensioner Concession Card to almost 93,000 pensioners to maximise concessions to this cohort. 

Those who were entitled to a Pensioner Concession Card immediately prior to 1 January 2017 but who lost it due to the rebalancing of the asset test thresholds will have their cards reinstated. Consistent with the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card they now have, the Pensioner Concession Card will be automatically reissued from 9 October 2017 with an ongoing income and assets test exemption.

To maintain their current Commonwealth benefits, those former pensioners issued with a Commonwealth Seniors health card will also retain that card.

Although both the Pensioner Concession Card and the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card have an ongoing exemption from the income and asset tests, there are other conditions that apply.

These conditions include portability requirements where cardholders will have their card suspended after being overseas for six weeks. The card will be reactivated on return to Australia. The Pensioner Concession Card will also be cancelled if the cardholder is in jail.

RELATED ARTICLES





    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    Quickdraw
    5th Jun 2017
    10:27am
    That's very generous however, what happens to the benefits for the five months it will take the Public servants in Centrelink to reinstate the concession.
    Registration of Motor vehicles, Electricity, Council rates, Drivers Licences, Water etc. that fall within this period. Already Sydney Water and the RMS in NSW have advised the Retired that lost their concession cards that the discount has been pulled.
    KSS
    5th Jun 2017
    12:34pm
    Well it is not being backdated so if any of those things falls due before the card is reinstated you will have to pay the cost without discount. As indeed have all those whose bills have fallen due since 1 Jan this year.
    Anonymous
    5th Jun 2017
    4:36pm
    KSS, when I received my aged pension card, the RMS in NSW sent me a refund cheque for the period between the date of the pension concession and the renewal date.
    PlanB
    5th Jun 2017
    10:57am
    I am sick to death of this lot they make so many mistakes that cost those that have bugga all a heap
    Alexii
    5th Jun 2017
    11:16am
    They need to now reinstitute the old assets test so all of those who have lost part or all of their pension will have it reinstated.
    KSS
    5th Jun 2017
    12:34pm
    Why?
    AutumnOz
    5th Jun 2017
    1:15pm
    KSS,
    The old assets test was a lot fairer then the one that come into force on 1st January 2017 especially for those who have a rental property as their main source of income.
    Don't forget that many people in their 80s and 90s had no access to superannuation and had to do the best they could to provide for their retirement.
    When our income fell below the poverty level we applied for a part pension, we lost most of it on 1st January and are now living well below the poverty level. We couldn't manage without our pensioner concession card.
    Mad as Hell
    5th Jun 2017
    1:55pm
    KSS
    If the Liberals and Greens ever want my vote again they need to reverse the January 2017 Assets Test changes.
    Because on the eve of the last election Tony Abbott promised there would not be any changes to pensions.
    Labour won't reverse the changes if they are returned to power.
    Nick Xenophon thinks $75 is all pensioners are worth.
    This mob has squandered our national wealth through greed, corruption and incompetence and now wants to kick pensioners in the teeth.
    Time they are left in the political wilderness till they get a conscience.
    KSS
    5th Jun 2017
    2:08pm
    AutumnOz; If people 'lost' their Government funded pension it is because they had sufficient funds to support themselves. The fact that they don't want to spend it to cover their living costs (perhaps to leave it to their kids, or grandchildren) which is exactly why they amassed the assets in the first place is no reason to give them a taxpayer funded pension.

    There are self funded retires who make do on incomes equal to or less than the state pension (because of the low return on their assets) and they do not get the concession cards or health cards either.

    Sorry I cannot weep for those that have assets and have been made to forgo the state pension because of them.
    Anonymous
    5th Jun 2017
    3:06pm
    KSS, I agree that some self-funded retirees are hard done by, but the fact is that those who lost their part pensions under the changed assets test have substantially less than their always-self-funded counterparts, and lowering the assets test was entirely unjustifiable in an environment of falling returns and investment income well below aged pension level - ESPECIALLY given the promises made by the Libs to win government.

    This argument that people should spend their capital is just wrong given the retirement-funding terms that existed during their working lives and the fact that no distinctions are made for age, level of likely future need, and source of assets. I agree that superannuation was set aside for retirement, but many had little or no superannuation. I don't agree that it's either fair to individuals or good for the nation to punish those who lived frugally and saved, regardless of their motivation and future needs, while those who squandered their wealth or bought very expensive homes are funded by the taxpayer.

    The Greens struck a deal demanding a full review of the pension system. It never happened - another massive fraud by a lying mob in power. It Is long overdue and greatly needed. There are ways to be fairer and to better support federal budget improvement, but it requires moving away from simplistic arguments that people should spend their capital and focusing on incentives and rewards for those who work hard and plan responsibly, and acknowledgement that those who make personal sacrifices to try to enhance the lives of their children and grandchildren should not be denied the benefits of their sacrifice.
    AutumnOz
    5th Jun 2017
    4:25pm
    KSS,
    what happened was C'link revalued the rental house at 4 times the value it was a few years ago, they then assumed that the rent we received would be in the region of $500 per week - we are rural and rents do not go that high as no-one could afford to pay them - Centrelink have used the same standard they use for deeming bank interest which has no relationship to reality.
    We could sell the house and live off the proceeds. However if we did that some overseas investor would probably buy the house and an Australian family would become homeless.
    It is a lose/lose situation for pensioners especially women.
    One of the problems is that everyone seems to forget that very few women aged 65 and over had any superannuation as most were required to leave work once they married. Now they are being penalised because of that old ruling which was made so younger women could find a job.
    Pamiea
    5th Jun 2017
    11:17am
    Its the Liberal government looking after the very wealthy. Unless you are very wealthy who in their right mind would vote for them??
    Alexii
    5th Jun 2017
    11:50am
    That's correct, Pamela. i know some very ordinary "Joe Bloggs" who vote for them and I just can't understand why they would do so as the coalition does nothing to help such people.
    Retired Knowall
    6th Jun 2017
    7:25am
    Both Parties are the same "entitled" bunch. The reality is that we are controlled by the Bureaucrats that aren't voted in, set their own pay scales. What's needed is for the 2 party nexus to be broken with more independents.
    Pamiea
    5th Jun 2017
    11:17am
    Its the Liberal government looking after the very wealthy. Unless you are very wealthy who in their right mind would vote for them??
    PlanB
    5th Jun 2017
    11:24am
    This lot are the scum of the earth -- but Shorten isn't doing much for private truck drivers either -- all for the BIG companies
    Liverpool Anne
    5th Jun 2017
    11:39am
    Trouble is the Governments bring in new taxes RETROSPECTIVELY whether you like it or not.
    Those people who are supposed (probably take 6 months knowing how they work) should get all the money owed, and the appropriate refunds where concessions were taken off. I bet the sods will find a way not to give back what was taken
    PlanB
    5th Jun 2017
    11:40am
    I would not out anything past these bunch bastards
    shanners
    5th Jun 2017
    11:43am
    Just correcting Quickdraw, the electricity and gas discount continues to apply in NSW.
    You are right about the others.
    billie
    5th Jun 2017
    12:39pm
    It was very easy to withdraw concessions January 1. Why will it take so long to reinstate sameThe answer maybe it will take till January 1/2018 to see the benefit.
    Nerk
    5th Jun 2017
    2:05pm
    Better off voting for the village idiot at for at least he knows what he is talking about.
    floss
    5th Jun 2017
    4:03pm
    Must agree Mad as hell some of the effected people were only getting a pension of some twenty or thirty dollars.Allthis after a life time of work.Recent arrivals having paid no tax at all get thousands.This Government did say THERE WILL BE NO CHANGE TO PENSIONS.
    Retired Knowall
    6th Jun 2017
    7:28am
    Might be better if you do some research to get the facts before the post Crap.
    Mad as Hell
    6th Jun 2017
    2:38pm
    This I the crap that comes out of Liberal mouths.

    " I want to give people this absolute assurance. No cuts to Education, no cuts to Health no changes to pensions, no changes to the GST and no cuts to ABC or SBS."
    Tony Abbot the night before the 2013 Federal Election (6/9/13).
    Anonymous
    8th Jun 2017
    11:30am
    ''... and that I and the LNP are the biggest liars and fraudsters alive and anyone who believes a word we say is a prize fool.'' Oh no! He didn't actually add that, did he. But I heard it nonetheless. Sad that so many voters didn't.
    Pat D
    5th Jun 2017
    4:48pm
    These comments make me despair for Australia's future. Nothing but negativity and self-interest with no suggestions of a better way. I agree that there are few politicians who truly represent those who elected them but again they're guilty of self-interest. Do we really get the government we deserve?
    None of us oldies should be focused solely on how well or poorly we are being treated. We need to look at society as a whole and be part of the solution of returning Australia to the land we all enjoyed as we made our way through life.
    I vote for less self-interest and more holistic involvement.
    Triss
    5th Jun 2017
    10:02pm
    Pat D, when someone points out a bad policy of government it doesn't mean that the rest of their life is spent moaning. When you look at society as a whole you have to try to change things that marginalise people in order to return Australia to the land everyone once enjoyed.
    Alexii
    6th Jun 2017
    4:13pm
    I think, Pat D, that those of us who you refer to as being negative and having self interest, would disagree. It is not being negative to object to what is happening to what is happening to people on pensions and part pensions. If we don't object (self interest) who is going to look after our interests? It is obvious that politicians , who are on a pretty good wicket, consider and have stated that part pensioners are "wealthy" and what a joke that is coming from those politicians. If we were wealthy as they have led the community to believe I doubt if there would be many of us who would care less about losing our part pensions or concession cards. Indeed if we were wealthy we wouldn't have them in the first place to lose.
    Pat D
    7th Jun 2017
    4:38pm
    I appreciate your responses and agree that we should all resist bad government policy regardless of which part of society it affects. However, what if, every time we complain, we put forward our suggestions of what should be done, taking into account the economy, the rest of our society and our children's future? This could start a real conversation and perhaps real change.
    Alexi. Of course pensioners are not wealthy. If they were they wouldn't require a pension or deserve taxpayer support Pensions should be realistically indexed to ensure they are not eroded e.g. linked to minimum wage adjustments. Other than that, we can adjust our lifestyles and enjoy the best years of our lives. I am.
    Anonymous
    8th Jun 2017
    7:18am
    Pat D, I do put forward suggestions of what should be done, taking into account the economy, the rest of society, and our children's future. What should be done is the government should change its focus on keeping the underprivileged down and making the rich richer, and start providing encouragement, support, education and reward for responsible living and sensible decision-making.

    Punishing those who work hard and save well is counterproductive. Punishing homeowners and rewarding renters is counterproductive. I believe in supporting the genuinely needy, but our current system doesn't. Rather, it supports the greedy, the manipulators and the cheats, and it punishes those who struggle to be as self-supporting as they are able, while leaving the genuinely needy with far too little.

    We SHOULD complain about pensions, because the system is wrong and it needs to be fixed. The fact that those to whom the problems are more apparent may also be those who appear to be least in need doesn't make their complaints unreasonable and doesn't suggest they are ''greedy''. The problems are often not easily identifiable to those not directly affected. It's too easy for envy or misplaced sympathy to drive a wrong perception. That was never so apparent as in the comments about the asset test changes. The have nots were incapable of thinking past ''he's got more than me so he should give me some'' and the well-off couldn't get past the jealous ''I never got the benefit so why should they?"" attitude. Few paid any real attention to the facts of the issue.

    The problem with our society at present is that too many are supporting simplistic solutions - just hand out more to those who appear to have least and cut welfare to anyone you THINK is less in need or less deserving - rather than considering the more complex issues that suggest we need to think differently about the problems.

    If you punish those who work hard to rise above their difficulties and reward those who stay down, you will have more staying down and putting their hands out. If you take from those who are best positioned to spend to generate economic growth and job creation, you have less growth, less jobs, and less government revenue to support the needy. If you blindly punish those whose disadvantage makes them psychologically incapable of compliance, you create greater desperation and incapacity.

    We need to focus on supporting and rewarding the upper working class and lower middle class and offering education and support for those below those levels to lift themselves up, wherever possible. We need a change of attitude in this country - a focus on making paying tax a matter of pride and tax minimization, legal or otherwise, shameful. We need to develop greater empathy and respect and social conscience. Earning and saving should be applauded and rewarded, but at the same time those who are able to achieve material comfort should be required to, and applauded for, paying as much as they can - rather than as little as possible - toward the support of those who cannot.

    If we abolished the cruel assets test and the ridiculous penalty for home ownership when needing a pension, we would go a long way toward reducing the instances of manipulation and cheating, and we would encourage and assist more people to be at least substantially self-sufficient. Then there would be more for the genuinely needy. At the same time, allowing those who work hard and save well to enjoy the rewards of their endeavours would increase spending that drives economic growth, job creation, and increased tax revenue. Everyone wins.

    Meanwhile, introduce an unavoidable ''wealth tax'' that guarantees that anyone who enjoys benefits in this nation pays their fair share. Condemn openly every form of minimization and avoidance. Put the message out that worthy people are proud to pay to support a healthy society, and that there are rich rewards for doing so. A society where people pay their share of taxes willingly can comfortably afford to offer genuine security to its citizens - world-class roads and infrastructure, free good quality health care, excellent free education, a guaranteed comfortable retirement, fantastic aged care, etc. Only the most contemptible and self-serving prefer to sure up their own and their family's welfare rather than contribute to the welfare of all. Why aren't we spreading that message?

    It's great that you are enjoying the best years of your life, Pat D. So am I. But I won't fall silent while there are others who, as a result of flawed thinking and self-serving policy-making, cannot; especially while I perceive potential solutions.


    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles