27th Feb 2015

How do I know which Concession Card I am eligible for?

concession card, eligible, which card, concession, entitlements

Q. How do I know which Concession Card I am eligible for?
I don’t appear to be receiving the same concessions and entitlements as my friends, despite being in a similar financial position. They also seem to have different concession cards and I’m confused as to whether I have the correct one which helps me get the best concessions. Is there an easy guide to which card offers which concessions?

A. There are several different concession cards available. However, the type of card is determined by the Centrelink or DVA benefits which you are receiving. The likelihood of your having been issued with the wrong card is very slim.

The concession cards which are available are as follows:

1. Pensioner Concession Card (PCC)

PCCs are issued by Centrelink to those receiving Age Pension, Disability Support Pension or Carer Payment. You may also be eligible for a PCC if you are over 60 years of age and have been receiving any of the following payments for at least nine months:

• Newstart Allowance
• Sickness Allowance
• Widow Allowance
• Special Benefit
• Partner Allowance.

You may be able to retain your PCC for up to 12 months if you stop receiving your Centrelink payment due to commencement of paid employment.

As the holder of a PCC, you are entitled to reduced-cost medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and various state and territory government concessions, such as reductions on property and water rates, energy bills, motor vehicle registration and public transport. State and territory governments and local councils offer different concessions.

2. Health Care Card (HCC)

If you do not qualify for a PCC, you may be entitled to an HCC if you are below Age Pension age and receive one of the following payments:

• Mobility Allowance
• Newstart Allowance
• Partner Allowance
• Special Benefit
• Widow Allowance.

An HCC entitles you to the same benefits as a PCC and you may be able to retain your HCC for a short time if you stop receiving your Centrelink payment due to commencement of paid employment.

3. Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC)

Self-funded retirees who are of Age Pension age but do not qualify for the Age Pension, may be eligible for a CSHC if their annual adjusted taxable income is below the following thresholds:

• $50,000 (singles)
• $80,000 (couples combined)
• $100,000 (couples separated due to ill-health).

Holders of a CSHC are entitled to discounts on prescription medicines through the PBS. You may also qualify for additional health, household, transport, education and recreation concessions which may be offered by state or territory and local governments and private providers. Holders may also qualify for the Seniors Supplement.

For more details and to check eligibility, visit HumanServices.gov.au

4. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) PCC

PCCs are issued by the DVA to the following:

• service pensioners
• age pensioners who receive their pension through DVA
• war widows and widowers receiving an income support supplement.

DVA PCCs entitle holders to the same concessions as Centrelink-issued PCCs.

5. Repatriation Health Cards

The DVA also issues Repatriation Health Cards which entitle the holder to DVA funding for health care. There are three cards:

• Gold – these are issued to veterans, or the widow or dependant of a veteran and entitle the holder to funding for health care, whether their condition is related to service or not.
• White – these are issued to veterans for the treatment of service related conditions. It can also be used for the treatment of malignant cancer, pulmonary tuberculosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and/or depression whether or not caused by service.
• Orange – issued for pharmaceuticals only to Commonwealth and allied veterans and mariners who have qualifying service from World War I or World War II and are aged 70 or over.

For more details and to check eligibility, visit the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

6. 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. Eligibility varies depending on the state or territory in which you reside, as do the concessions available to you. 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.

To locate the Seniors Card office for your state or territory, click here.

Tom, concessions card holders find discounts at vets, pet stores, hairdressing salons, clothing shops, restaurants, stationery stores, supermarkets, just to name a few, simply by pulling out their card and asking the question. Some tradesmen will agree to a discount if asked before performing the job. Many of these businesses do not advertise that discounts are available nor are they obliged to offer them. You might just be amazed if you start asking. Good luck!

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