1 July is set to provide almost 1 million pensioners with a pay rise and there’s good news for self-funded retirees too. From 1 July an extra 50,000 senior Australians will qualify for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CHSC) thanks to a huge hike in the income test.
Under the current income test to qualify for the CSHC Singles can earn up to $57,761 while couples can earn up to $92,416, once income exceeds these thresholds you are not eligible.
From 1 July the income thresholds will increase substantially with singles able to earn up to $90,000 per year (an increase of $32,239 per year) while couples will be able to earn up to $144,000 (an increase of $51,584 per year)
Income for the CSHC is based on Centrelink’s assessment of your Adjusted Taxable Income and deemed income from your account-based income streams.
Adjusted taxable income is not the same as the income you pay tax on, although that is one part of it. Your adjusted taxable income for Centrelink purposes can include income within the tax free threshold, foreign income which you don’t pay tax on in Australia, net investment losses, reportable fringe benefits and reportable superannuation contributions.
Deemed Income is a relatively simple way of attributing income to an amount of assets.
From 1 July the deeming rates will be 0.25%p.a on the first $56,400 for Singles and $93,600 for Couples assets above the lower threshold will be deemed to earn 2.25%p.a
For example, if you are a single person and your superannuation account based pension has an asset value of $500,000 then the deemed income would be $10,122 p.a
In addition to the income test you will need to be living in Australia and be considered an Australian resident to eligible to receive a CSHC. Your residency status will need to be maintained for you to remain eligible for CSHC.
What’s so great about having a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card?
The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card can provide you with a range of benefits and discounts, the dollar value of those benefits will depend on your individual circumstances and the state/territory you live in.
The CHSC will give:
- Access to cheaper medication under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
- Bulk billed doctor visits (subject to your chosen GP).
- A refund for medical costs when you reach the Medicare Safety Net.
And then based on your state/territory government and even your local council you may also be eligible for discounts on:
- Ambulance, dental care, eye care
- Electricity and gas bills
- Property and water rates
- Public transport fares
Navigating all of the discounts and benefits you can access with a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card can be tricky, fortunately National Seniors has created a “Concessions Calculator” to help you find out what concessions you’re eligible for.
With the soaring cost of living getting access to the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card could provide some much-needed financial relief on essential expenses.
*The information contained in this article is general in nature and does not take into account any person’s individual objectives, financial situation or needs. It is not intended to imply any recommendation, opinion or advice. You should seek advice from a qualified professional about your particular financial situation, needs and objectives.