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Can I apply for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card?

Are you one of the 50,000 more people who could become eligible for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card? Find out more.

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Key Points

  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) gives self-funded retirees access to cheaper PBS medicines and other concessions.
  • Eligibility for the CSHC is based on income.
  • An election promise to raise income thresholds means 50,000 more retirees will benefit.

The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) gives you access to cheaper medicines and medical bulk billing. It also gives you access to several other state and federal concessions. In Western Australia, a CSHC holder receives $1,660 of concessions.

Many self-funded retirees who were previously ineligible for the CSHC could find the situation changes later this year when the income thresholds change – an election commitment made by the new Labor government. A previous start date of 1 July 2022 has been pushed back by the government with the expansion of eligibility requiring a change in legislation. Parliament will not sit again until the end of July.

The income threshold used to determine eligibility for the card will increase from just under $58,000 a year to $90,000 a year for single self-funded retirees, and from just over $92,000 to $144,000 for couples.

It is estimated that an additional 50,000 older Australians will be eligible for the CSHC.

So, if you are a self-funded retiree, it's well worth checking to see if you are eligible. To find out more about what concessions you get on the CSHC try our handy Concessions Calculator.

How Centrelink works out your income

To meet the CSHC income test, once legislated, you must earn no more than the following:

  • Singles: $90,000 a year
  • Couples (combined): $144,000 a year

Unlike the Age Pension, the eligibility test for the CSHC does not include an assets test, but it does use some of your assets to estimate your income.

Assessable income, under the CSHC income test, includes a combination of actual income and deemed income. Actual income is 'adjusted taxable income', which comprises of:

  • Taxable income
  • Target foreign income
  • Total net investment losses
  • Employer provided benefits
  • Reportable superannuation contributions.

Deemed income is only from account-based income streams (not from any other financial assets you own). An account based income stream is purchased with superannuation money, and commonly known as an allocated or transition to retirement pension.

Deeming rates currently sit at 0.25% for first $53,600 of your financial assets and 2.25% for anything over $53,600.

However, if you’re a couple and neither of you get a pension the deeming threshold is different. The first $44,500 of each of your joint financial assets is deemed at 0.25% per year. Anything over $44,500 is deemed to earn 2.25%. 

And thanks to another election promise, these deeming rates will be frozen for two years, even if interest rates keep going up.

National Seniors Concessions Calculator

To see what you’re eligible for with a CSHC (or any other concession card), take a look at the National Seniors’ Concessions Calculator.

This simple and easy-to-use tool lists a range of available benefits, making it easier to understand what concessions you may be entitled to. We encourage you to check it out and share with your friends and family so they too can make the most of their benefits. If you think you are eligible for the CSHC, go to the Centrelink website for more information about making an application.

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