Budget 2017: good news for pensioners

Pension Concession Cards will be reinstated to 92,000 pensioners.

Budget 2017: good news for pensioners

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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    COMMENTS

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    Old Geezer
    10th May 2017
    11:52am
    What a stupid move by the government!
    musicveg
    10th May 2017
    12:55pm
    why? Just because you don't need it many other may find it a blessing when they use public transport and pay their energy bills.
    jackie
    10th May 2017
    1:46pm
    Old Geezer I agree it should only be going to those that don't have enough money, not those that do as well. But then the rich can never have nor get enough.
    Sundays
    10th May 2017
    3:47pm
    Not what you were expecting then OG, and I thought you were in the know as you intimated before the Budget. The Government changed the retirement plans of too many, so this is a sweetener for those who feel robbed of the card.
    Old Geezer
    10th May 2017
    4:14pm
    Why would I be in the know?
    Sundays
    10th May 2017
    4:53pm
    Because I recall over a week ago, you telling us what big changes were going to be made
    Old Geezer
    11th May 2017
    10:04am
    Well big changes were made!
    Anonymous
    11th May 2017
    10:25am
    Nothing remotely like the changes you predicted, OG. Quite the opposite, in fact.
    Old Geezer
    11th May 2017
    10:49am
    I'll just have to keep lobbying then.
    mike
    10th May 2017
    12:00pm
    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?
    AutumnOz
    10th May 2017
    1:25pm
    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.
    Rodent
    10th May 2017
    2:08pm
    Mike Update the cost is $3.1 Mill over 4 years , says AFR
    Charlie
    26th May 2017
    10:08pm
    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.
    Ted Wards
    10th May 2017
    12:39pm
    Although I see this as a good thing, I wonder how much this back flip is going to cost us?
    Rodent
    10th May 2017
    2:04pm
    Ted

    According to media reports the "cost" is $3 mill and its a one off cost, BUT I will check further
    Rae
    11th May 2017
    8:00am
    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.
    Anonymous
    11th May 2017
    10:14am
    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.
    Old Geezer
    11th May 2017
    2:50pm
    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.
    Renny
    10th May 2017
    12:52pm
    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.
    Chat
    10th May 2017
    12:53pm
    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.
    Renny
    10th May 2017
    12:56pm
    Yep. Not sure super under a certain amount should be counted as an asset. It still doesn't feel right.
    casey
    10th May 2017
    1:11pm
    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.
    Anonymous
    10th May 2017
    1:26pm
    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.
    Sundays
    10th May 2017
    3:55pm
    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
    Anonymous
    11th May 2017
    10:32am
    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!
    Anonymous
    11th May 2017
    10:32am
    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!
    musicveg
    10th May 2017
    12:55pm
    I don't think it is going to cost 'us' anything, not that many things you can use the card for.
    Anonymous
    10th May 2017
    1:15pm
    It makes a huge difference to some retirees. Makes a major difference to rates and car registration costs in NSW.
    Old Geezer
    10th May 2017
    4:34pm
    I don't pay rates or car rego so it's not much use to me anyway.
    Anonymous
    11th May 2017
    10:35am
    All about you OG? Situation normal. The narcissist can't think beyond his own selfish interests.

    10th May 2017
    1:23pm
    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!
    Rae
    11th May 2017
    8:07am
    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.
    grounded
    10th May 2017
    1:45pm
    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....
    Slimmer Cat
    10th May 2017
    3:45pm
    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.
    grounded
    10th May 2017
    4:16pm
    @ 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.
    shanners
    10th May 2017
    2:01pm
    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
    (CSHC).
    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".
    disillusioned
    10th May 2017
    3:10pm
    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!
    shanners
    10th May 2017
    4:07pm
    Please note that the media release I sent earlier makes clear the card won't be reinstated until October 9. The cost to the Federal Government is only a one-off $3.1 million because most of the discounts are borne by the states. They will still have the final say.
    saintagnes
    10th May 2017
    4:39pm
    if you have enough cash to loose the pension in the first place you do not need the concession card
    stupid move
    Old Geezer
    10th May 2017
    4:45pm
    I agree.
    Rae
    11th May 2017
    8:19am
    IT won't cost the taxpayer anything but will boost discretionary spending which if the drought of money being available to spend downtown goes on will cost in record unemployment figures and bankrupted businesses.

    Besides which self funded retirees are pulling out of insurances in droves which has the financial system in a bit of a funk.
    Old Geezer
    11th May 2017
    10:03am
    After seeing a lot of those funeral insurance policies I can't understand why any one would take them out.
    Anonymous
    11th May 2017
    10:48am
    So, saintagnes, you agree with punishing people who save and rewarding those who don't - thus creating a much higher demand on the welfare system? Makes no sense to me. Or maybe you are just insanely jealous of those who put a little aside for old age? If so, wake up call... most of them are WORSE OFF in income terms than pensioners. Yes, they can spend their savings. Why should they? If Jack and Tom earn the same amount over a lifetime and Jack enjoys lavish holidays, gambling, drinking and regular restaurant dinners to retire with just $300,000 in savings and no home, while Tom lives frugally to pay off a home and put aside $800,000 in savings, tell me why Jack should get taxpayer-funded handouts as a reward for being irresponsible while Tom suffers reduced income for being careful?

    The simplistic argument that people who have savings should be excluded from benefits is ill-informed and driven mostly by jealousy. Nobody with a brain believes it's good for the nation to punish savers and reward the irresponsible. And nobody with a brain thinks ''pensions for the needy only'' can ever work in our self-centred society.

    The taxpayer benefits by ensuring those who save can enjoy increased spending power. Their spending creates more jobs, more tax revenue, more business growth, reduced demand on welfare and their improved financial status creates incentives for more people to save for old age and rely less on pensions. A cruel and unfair means test DRIVES PENSION COSTS UP.
    Anonymous
    11th May 2017
    10:48am
    So, saintagnes, you agree with punishing people who save and rewarding those who don't - thus creating a much higher demand on the welfare system? Makes no sense to me. Or maybe you are just insanely jealous of those who put a little aside for old age? If so, wake up call... most of them are WORSE OFF in income terms than pensioners. Yes, they can spend their savings. Why should they? If Jack and Tom earn the same amount over a lifetime and Jack enjoys lavish holidays, gambling, drinking and regular restaurant dinners to retire with just $300,000 in savings and no home, while Tom lives frugally to pay off a home and put aside $800,000 in savings, tell me why Jack should get taxpayer-funded handouts as a reward for being irresponsible while Tom suffers reduced income for being careful?

    The simplistic argument that people who have savings should be excluded from benefits is ill-informed and driven mostly by jealousy. Nobody with a brain believes it's good for the nation to punish savers and reward the irresponsible. And nobody with a brain thinks ''pensions for the needy only'' can ever work in our self-centred society.

    The taxpayer benefits by ensuring those who save can enjoy increased spending power. Their spending creates more jobs, more tax revenue, more business growth, reduced demand on welfare and their improved financial status creates incentives for more people to save for old age and rely less on pensions. A cruel and unfair means test DRIVES PENSION COSTS UP.
    scratch
    11th May 2017
    8:28am
    The "Snouts in Trough"Gang should never have interfered with it in the first place, they did not get rid of any of their perks when they decided to pick on savvy retirees!
    Swinging voter
    11th May 2017
    8:43am
    Self-funded retirees are the most under-valued group in Australia. They should be held as an example of self-sufficiency and saving for later life. Some may only be earning a similar amount to that which hey would receive from the pension, but even with a Low Income Health Card they miss out on the small discounts and "qualification status" that fully qualified pensioners receive. The low income card gives similar discounts and some medical services will allow people with the Australian Seniors Health Care card to be bulk billed. It is all too complicated and should be simplified. Just give the basic pension to all Australians and save millions $$$ from continually harrassing and chasing pensioners for every small adjustment and every last dollar they might receive.I would like to see a thorough examination of costs and benefits from scrapping what must be massive staff and paperwork involved with delineating and investigating every old person regardless of how their finances have panned out in old age.
    Old Geezer
    11th May 2017
    10:01am
    I agree they should look after these people first not treat them like second class citizens. One should not have to be classed as chronically ill to be bulk billed. What's worse is we pay full price plus extra to cover discounts given to those who are financially better off in many cases. Let's face it there are a lot more people on the OAP then there is self funded retirees so your argument has merit.

    If you fail the assets test you have little hope of getting a health care card either as your income is deemed higher than the amount you need to qualify.

    What's worse is that I could quite easily arrange my affairs so I qualify for the OAP but that is not what I want or desire to do. Many do this which is not fair to those who don't have the knowledge or wish to do this. Should the old lady living in a $20 million mansion get the full pension? It is actually good way for the family to store and accumulate tax free wealth.
    Anonymous
    11th May 2017
    10:24am
    I agree, Swinging Voter. Seems this government has a stupid notion that people who save should be worse off than people who don't. They are destroying all incentives to plan and save responsibly for retirement and encouraging more and more people to simply rely on the pension. That's ridiculous.

    OG, you obviously can't make up your mind on the issue, as elsewhere you say slashing the incomes of those who saved was a good thing. The reality is, as anyone with a brain knows, giving pensions to all and taxing other income would slash administration costs and restore incentives to try to be as self-sufficient as possible, as well as enabling those who saved to spend more to stimulate economic growth. The current pension system is a hideous mess and economically unsustainable.

    Scrap the current mess and simply pay pensions at a flat rate to everyone over retirement age who worked and paid taxes in Australia for 20+ years, pro-rata for those who worked for less than 20 years, and disability/sickness pensions for those resident Australians who were unable to fulfil the 20 year requirement due to health issues, disability, or early retrenchment accompanied by inability to find acceptable alternate employment. The country would be far better off.
    Old Geezer
    11th May 2017
    12:53pm
    There would be quite a few OAPs today who would have not worked for over 20 years so you want to put them back on sickness or disability benefits? Rainey you make some silly comments at times.
    mike
    11th May 2017
    9:37am
    What is it going to cost us? Please remember MONEY is no object. The Gov just gave $400million to Indonesia and $340million to Afganistan. I remember my economics lecturer telling his class 30 years ago, its not about money, its about control. The Gov needs to be able to control the working middle class. If you found a mountain of gold, and donated it to the Gov, they would say thank you very much, build a couple of aircraft carriers, and still out the squeeze on the working middle class, the pensioners etc, because the gov, ANY GOV has to be able to control the middle and working class. Communism is a classic example, and our Greens are very close to being the same control freaks.
    fastbucks
    12th May 2017
    4:54pm
    So does this mean that everyone once they reach retirement age will get the pensioners Health Care Card??
    HONEST PENSIONER
    14th Jun 2017
    2:29pm
    As from the 2nd June 2017 the reinstatement of the pensioner concession card has not yet passed through legislation .If it does get passed, those who lost it on the 1st January 2017 will have it reinstated on the 9th October 2017. pensioners that exceed the threshold from January 2nd 2017 and onwards will lose the pensioner concession card.
    Both pensioners before and after the 1st of January have been affected by the change in legislation, yet those on the 1st of January could have assets , lets say $200,000.00 over the threshold and have the pensioner card reinstated, where pensioners from the 2nd January 2017 who may exceed the threshold by lets say $3,000.00 will lose the pensioner concession card and have to re apply for it once they drop below the threshold.
    How unfair and uncompassionate can this government be.


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