Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test

 
by Christine Hopper

The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is available to Australians who have attained Age Pension Age and satisfy the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test. There is no Assets test for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card only an Income Test.

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income TestThe Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test requires that the applicant’s assessable income must not exceed the current Income Test limits.
As from September 2016, the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test limit is an assessable annual income not exceeding $52,796 if you are single.

The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test limit is a combined assessable annual income not exceeding $84,472 for a couple at Centrelink. Remember that at Centrelink a couple is any two adults who share domestic arrangements and present socially as a couple. Two adults become a couple at Centrelink as soon as they start living together as well as appearing to the outside world as a couple.

A higher income limit of $105,592 of combined annual income applies to couples who are separated by illness or who have one partner in prison. As soon as one partner moves out of home to respite or permanent aged care or prison, then the couple are treated as being separated by illness.

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test Assessable Income

For the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test assessable income includes adjusted taxable income, and a deemed amount from account based income streams.

Adjusted taxable income includes your taxable income as determined for your Income Tax returns plus some other items. Below are some examples of the additional items included in adjusted taxable income. This is not an exhaustive list. You could have other items that are counted as part of your adjusted taxable income.

If you have negatively geared investments, then the ‘net loss’ in respect of those investments is added back into your adjusted taxable income.

Any foreign income received is included in your in adjusted taxable income for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test.  This foreign income might be exempt from Australian taxation.

If you are employed then the value of benefits taken instead of ‘income’ are included in adjusted taxable income. For example, any salary that you ‘sacrificed’ for an equivalent amount of additional concessional superannuation contributions is included in your ‘adjusted taxable income’. Similarly, the value of any ‘work related fringe benefits’ is added into your adjusted taxable income.

Superannuation income streams could be included in your in adjusted taxable income even though they might be tax exempt.
The ‘taxable part’ of each payment from your lifetime and fixed term annuities is included in your taxable income.

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test Assessable Income from allocated pensions

Centrelink indicate as from January 2015, new applicants for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card will have a deemed amount from account based income streams included for the Income Test. At Centrelink, allocated pensions accounts are included in ‘account based income streams’.

The deemed income calculation could be based on the total value of any allocated pension accounts only. As from July 2016, the deemed amount could be 1.75% of the first $49,200 of the total value plus 3.25% of any excess over $49,200 for a single person.
For a couple, the deemed amount could be 1.75% of the first $81,600 of the total value plus 3.25% of any excess over $81,600.

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test for only one partner

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test counts all of the adjusted taxable income of the couple even if one partner is too young to qualify for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

For example, Barry has just attained his Age Pension Age of 65 years. But his partner, Barbara is aged 60 years. Barbara is happy working full time as a senior high school teacher. Barbara’s annual salary exceeds $85,000. Therefore Barry does not qualify for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card because their total combined income exceeds the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test limit for a couple.

Also consider Colin who has just attained his Age Pension Age of 65 years. Colin and his partner, Cathy, have both retired from full time work. But Cathy has not attained her Age Pension Age.  Colin is excluded from the Age Pension by the Asset Test because of their beach house.  The land under their beach house is very valuable but it generates no income.
The total joint combined adjusted taxable income of Colin and Cathy is well under Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test limit for a couple.  Colin could be eligible for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.  Cathy has not attained her Age Pension Age so she cannot apply for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card yet.  

Personal Help with Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test assessments

Help is available. Christine at Financial Care Services is experienced with Centrelink Pension Applications and the many Centrelink financial means tests.

Financial Care Services offers Short Consultations for ‘personal financial factual information’ to help you check your financial position against the means test for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card or Age Pension.

If you think that you might be eligible for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card you can call Christine on 03 9808 0338 to arrange a Short Consultation, 45 minutes in person or by telephone and/or email to discuss your potential for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. The fee for a Short Consultation for ‘personal financial factual information’ is $99. Please ask for a special ‘short personal financial factual information consultation’ when you book your appointment.

Clients who are unable to attend the Financial Care Services office in Camberwell are welcome to Contact us via email to arrange for a Short personal financial factual information Consultation.

You can start the Short ‘personal financial factual information’ Consultation by emailing for the Financial Care Services Financial Services Guide and the Financial Care Services Commonwealth Seniors Health Card / Age Pension Data form.

Christine could also assist you with collating your personal data, checking your assessable income against the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test limits and completing the Centrelink forms for you to sign. Normal hourly rate consultation fees apply for assistance with personal data collation, completing Centrelink forms and attendance at a Centrelink office with you.

If you would like further confidential, independent and professional advice about Commonwealth means testing, Centrelink, lifestyle or financial issues please contact Christine Hopper.

Disclaimer.

These Insights are a general over view based on our understanding of the Social Security and DVA Pension arrangements. Individual entitlements to Social Security and DVA benefits are determined based on your actual situation as documented to Centrelink or DVA.
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