Budget 2017: good news for pensioners

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The January 2017 rebalancing on the asset thresholds saw 92,000 pensioners lose their Age Pension and, as a result, their Pension Concession Card (PCC).

As an interim measure, those who lost their PCC were issued a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC), however, this meant that certain state and territory concessions were no longer accessible.

From 1 July 2017, the PCC will be reinstated to those who lost it under the asset threshold measure and eligibility will be exempt from the income and asset test.

The CSHC will also be retained to ensure the continued payment of the Energy Supplement.

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Written by Debbie McTaggart


Total Comments: 52
  1. 0

    What a stupid move by the government!

  2. 0

    What does the p concession card look like? There is the blue age pension card which was lost but replaced with a commonwealth virtually useless card, so what does a pension concession card look like?

    • 0

      I think it is the pale blue age pension card, as far as I recall that is what my parents had and it had to be shown, along with the Medicare card, at the doctor’s office for them to bulk bill.
      I may be wrong so ask someone who has a current one.

    • 0

      Mike Update the cost is $3.1 Mill over 4 years , says AFR

    • 0

      I have a blue card until 2019. It says pensioner concession card. It has the centrelink number on the front. I am on age pension, actually the exact equivalent, over 65 disability due to early retirement.

      I am revising this concession thing but all of the changes seem to affect borderline cases. I want free travel once a year to any destination in Australia, not a discount. But I am not seeing anything new.

  3. 0

    Although I see this as a good thing, I wonder how much this back flip is going to cost us?

    • 0


      According to media reports the “cost” is $3 mill and its a one off cost, BUT I will check further

    • 0

      It won’t cost you anything Ted. As it is Australian dollars being spent in Australia is is not adding to the debt. In fact the government is stripping so much cash out of the everyday economy that very soon they will have to put some of it back in unless they want a full blown recession.

      The 2015 Fair and Sustainable Pension Act was a betrayal of all hard working savers. There was nothing fair or sustainable about it and will cost the economy dearly in the long term.

      The government has realise the retail figures are falling over from their dumb household type budgeting but they still don’t understand how recessions start.

      Giving $3 million to our people won’t cost you Ted but going all those hundreds of billions to the french shipbuilders, English detention caterers and multinational miners surely will.

    • 0

      Yes, Rae, this government lacks the ability to comprehend economic facts. They are now backpedalling a little on their idiotic decision to make it uneconomical for people to save for retirement.

      Reducing incomes of those who spend in favour of building the stores of gold held offshore by the very rich is DUMB. It means reduced monetary circulation, reduced business profits, reduced tax revenue, reduced job opportunities, and more demand on the welfare system. And it’s compounding, obviously. Fewer job opportunities means less spending and therefore less monetary circulation resulting in further reduced profits, reduced tax revenue, reduced job opportunities. higher demand for welfare… and so it goes on and on an on and on. Only the jealous and mean spirited approve of such ludicrous cuts.

      As for those impacted by the assets test change, many are finding they can be significantly better off over the next decade by spending $100K or more on a luxury overseas holiday and then coming back to reclaim their pension. Taxpayers are actually funding these holidays and paying retirees a bonus for taking them. Sadly, most voters can’t see past the treasurer’s lies and the ill-informed assumption that slashing the incomes of 92,000 people by up to 1/3rd of their net income must somehow save the government dollars. Of course it can’t, because that’s a lot of spending that should have stimulated economic growth, created more jobs, boosted business profits, and generated more tax revenue. And in any case a large portion of that 92,000 will spend on a luxury overseas trip or a bigger house and reclaim their pension.

      The numbers simply don’t add up, and it is mind boggling that our treasurer and his overpaid advisers are too daft to see what is obvious to anyone with a brain.

    • 0

      Rainey I have put your numbers through various calculators and quite frankly what you say does not add up. People would be better saving the $100,000 and not spending it. They would be much better off.

  4. 0

    Would be happy for those who are marginal, but it should not have been unlimited. Too many see their super as money for the kids instead of living off it.

  5. 0

    This is such an unfair turnaround — they should make the card available to all self funded retirees that can’t make the threshold. Why single out one group?
    We are self funded retirees living off our super savings and the payments from that is less than pensioners receive. However because our assets (mainly the Super) put us outside the pension asset threshold we only receive the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card because of our low income. This gives us some concessions but not free hearing aids etc., we have to pay for this from our meagre income.

    • 0

      Yep. Not sure super under a certain amount should be counted as an asset. It still doesn’t feel right.

    • 0

      Yes. We worked hard all other lives , lived frugally and are now penalised. Should have holidayed, drank, gambled and had a riotous time. Get far more with a pension than been self funded.
      Discount on rates, electric, gas, car registration, hearing aids etc. The list goes on. WE get bugger all. You are dead right CHAT I’m with you.

    • 0

      The article is confusing. It says the card will be restored for those who lost their pension under the changes, but then adds ”eligibility will be exempt from the income and asset test”. The latter suggests maybe all retirees will be given a PCC? The meaning is unclear.

    • 0

      Well Casey, you could spend a little more of your Super and enjoy living a little. The retirees who do well, Supplement their super with a part pension, and then get the card. I’m not going to debate the rights and wrongs of this, but it’s a fact and makes life a little easier for them. They worked hard too

    • 0

      This idiotic government is blowing the budget by punishing responsible savers and rewarding those who don’t save as much, so smart retirees are just blowing a pile of money on a luxury cruise or home improvements and then putting their hands out. Not good for the nation, but blame the stupid treasurer and his idiot advisers who have no idea about economics. If enough retirees wrote to the Treasurer telling him they intend to spend up big on overseas cruises and then claim their pension because it doesn’t pay to have substantial assets in retirement given the idiotic means test, the government might eventually wake up and correct their dumb error. But don’t hold your breath!

    • 0

      This idiotic government is blowing the budget by punishing responsible savers and rewarding those who don’t save as much, so smart retirees are just blowing a pile of money on a luxury cruise or home improvements and then putting their hands out. Not good for the nation, but blame the stupid treasurer and his idiot advisers who have no idea about economics. If enough retirees wrote to the Treasurer telling him they intend to spend up big on overseas cruises and then claim their pension because it doesn’t pay to have substantial assets in retirement given the idiotic means test, the government might eventually wake up and correct their dumb error. But don’t hold your breath!

  6. 0

    I don’t think it is going to cost ‘us’ anything, not that many things you can use the card for.

  7. 0

    This is a positive measure, though not sufficient. The government has obviously recognized its error attacking retirees and is trying to win back their trust. It will take a lot more than this I think!

    • 0

      More likely they have noticed the fall in retail figures but don’t know why they are causing it or what to do about it. It appears the economists advising them are all supply side converts from the Chicago School and have little experience of human nature.

      They still think the GFC chaos in the US was caused by Wall Street and that we were lucky because of a mining boom.

  8. 0

    A Pension Concession Card, should be made available to every Pension age person….as to access benefit discounts on rates, drivers license fees and the multitude of other occasions it can be used to access services…i.e. public transport/buses and the like – Local, State and Federal….which there are heaps of…..glasses, hearing aids etc.,

    Additionally, every person of Pensionable age should receive the PBS entitlement….for each and every medicine as prescribed. This goes for both Self Funded Retirees and Government Funded Pensioner’s….

    • 0

      Grounded, I certainly agree with you but it will not happen.
      At the moment many on the OAP are in a far better position financially than FULLY Self Funded Retirees who get no reductions on anything.
      If you receive $1 on Welfare and get the concession card you are far better off financially than the average Fully Self Funded Retiree.

    • 0

      @ Slimmer Cat…..You are undoubtedly correct…I don’t back either a left or right politician persuasion….just an even shake for all and anyone, who has contributed…either as a direct taxpayer, or mother at home carrying out the base necessities that bind the family unit….and hence the Nation.

      I won’t buy into the Cash Amount/Govt stipend allocation debate….but say it is totally wrong, and all ways will be, that anyone over 65 should be ruled out of the benefits and services of the Concession Card and Pharmacy benefits, just because they put a bit a way for their retirement years…be what ever means they put it away by.

      In this regard, one rule of entitlement for everyone…supposedly rich or supposedly poor…their 65th birthday, being the only criteria bench mark to be arrived at.

  9. 0

    This is the official media release: explains it all.

    “This measure restores the Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) to people who stopped being
    eligible for a pension payment due to changes to the assets test.
    Pensioners who lost eligibility on 1 January 2017 were given:
    • a non-income tested Low Income Health Care Card (LIC), and
    • if they were over pension age, a non-income tested Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
    This measure will allow these non-pensioners to access:
    • hearing services from the Department of Health, and
    • discounts and concessions offered by states, territories and private providers.
    These non-pensioners will receive the PCC from 9 October 2017. It will not be income-tested or
    assets-tested. PCC card holders will need to meet other eligibility requirements. These include
    portability conditions.
    These non-pensioners will also keep their CSHC. This will maintain their current Commonwealth
    benefits. This will make sure they continue to receive the Energy Supplement.
    The LIC will be deactivated.
    Questions and answers
    Whom does this measure affect?
    This measure affects people who had their pension cancelled on 1 January 2017 due to changes
    to the pension assets test.
    What date will this measure start and finish?
    This measure will start 9 October 2017 and is ongoing”.

  10. 0

    It will be great for someone like me, who am on my own and live in a smallish apartment (owned) but lost my part-Age Pension because of good Super returns, which constitute my sole income. Therefore, from July 1, 2017, things like water and land rates, and car rego. will revert to discount rates. A small Hooray for a ray of sense at last from this government!

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