How can age pensioners ensure they are making every dollar count?
It can be tough making ends meet when you’re renting on an Age Pension, so here are some of the many ways you can save, find discounts or enjoy free activities.
Payment and Service Finder
At the top of the list is Centrelink’s Payment and Service Finder. It helps you to find, estimate and compare payments and services for which you may be eligible. You should be taking advantage of all allowances you’re entitled to, and the finder is a great way to work through what’s on offer.
Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is a valuable resource. Provided by the Australian Department of Human Services, it offers older Australians access to cheaper prescription medicines, government medical services and other federal concessions, including travel discounts, and may deliver discounted gas, electricity and water rates.
To qualify for the Seniors Health Card, you need to have reached age pension age, have a tax file number (TFN) or a valid reason for not having one, be an Australian resident and earn no more than $54,929 per annum for singles or $87,884 combined per annum for couples.
According to finder.com.au, the card can also help you obtain discounts on:
- rail travel, including on Great Southern Rail services, such as the Indian Pacific, the Ghan and the Overland
- out-of-hospital medical expenses through the Medicare Safety Net
- health, household, transport and education concessions, as offered by different businesses and retailers in each state.
Pensioner Concession Card
Another card from the Australian Government, the Pensioner Concession Card, provides some health concessions and access to other discounts.
You may be able to get a Pensioner Concession Card if you receive any of the following benefits:
- Age Pension
- Bereavement Allowance
- Carer Payment
- Disability Support Pension
- Newstart Allowance.
- Parenting Payment.
You’re also eligible if you’re aged over 60 and have been receiving any of the following allowances for more than nine months:
- Newstart Allowance
- Partner Allowance
- Sickness Allowance
- Special Benefit
- Widow Allowance.
The Pensioner Concession Card entitles you to reduced-price medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). You may also be eligible for other concessions, including:
- bulk billing for doctor's appointments (at your doctor's discretion)
- refunds for medical expenses through the Medicare Safety Net
- assistance with hearing services
- discounted mail redirection through Australia Post.
Depending on your state or territory, you might also be entitled to:
- reduced property or water rates
- reduced energy bills
- reduced fares on public transport
- reduced cost of motor vehicle registration
- free rail journeys.
Many private businesses offer discounts for seniors, although some don’t advertise that fact too widely. It’s always worth asking in every store you visit.
In Victoria, the Seniors Business Discount Card provides holders with access to discounted goods and services from more than 4000 Victorian Seniors Card businesses.
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