Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

 
by Christine Hopper

Benefits of Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card provides discounts on Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) prescription medicines. Holders of the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card are entitled to the Pensioner Concession rate of charges for PBS medications and the Concession levels of Medicare Safety Net.

Some medical practices bulk bill doctor appointments for Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders. Bulk billing for Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders is at the discretion of the doctor: bulk billing is not an entitlement of Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders.

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

Qualifying for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is available to Australian residents who have attained Age Pension Age but are not eligible for an income support payment from Centrelink or DVA. You cannot hold a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card whilst you have a Pensioner Concession Card or a DVA Health Card.

You must be in Australia when you lodge your application for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.
As part of your application for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, you must provide your Tax File Number. If you are a member of a couple at Centrelink, then your partner’s Tax File Number is required also.

Income Test for Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

Eligibility for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is subject to an ongoing Income Test but no assets test.

The cut-off annual income level for a single person is $52,273 as at November 2015.

As at November 2015, members of a ‘couple at Centrelink’ are excluded from the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card if their joint combined annual income is $83,636. Remember that any two adults who share domestic arrangements and present socially as a couple could be treated as a ‘couple at Centrelink’. You will be treated as a member of a couple even if your partner ineligible for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card because she has not attained her Age Pension Age.

The members of a ‘couple separated by illness’ could have $104,546 of combined annual income before being disqualified for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. A couple at Centrelink would be separated by illness if one, or both, members of the couple were admitted to residential aged care.

These income limits are expected to be increased in September each year. The next indexation increase would be effective 20 September 2016.

Income assessment for Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test counts as ‘income’ the amount of your ‘adjusted taxable income’ plus a deemed amount in respect of account based income streams.

Adjusted taxable income for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card includes:
• taxable income
• target foreign income
• total net investment losses
• employer provided benefits, such as private use motor vehicles and accommodation or housing costs; and
• reportable superannuation contributions, these are the ‘salary sacrifice’ or voluntary employer amounts excluding any compulsory Superannuation Guarantee contributions.

‘Account-based income streams’ for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card purposes, includes allocated pension accounts and similar products.

As from January 2015, all new ‘account-based income streams’ and any ‘account-based income streams’ held by new applicants for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card and their partners, will count for this Income Test.

Please be aware that if you buy a new account-based income stream or make changes to an existing products then the new or amended, account based income stream contract will be counted for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test.

The amount included for your total ‘account based income stream’ products would be calculated under the Centrelink deeming rules.

If you held a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card on 31 December 2014, any Account-based income streams you had in force at that date could remain exempt from the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test. This exemption would not apply if you transferred to a Centrelink income support benefit with a Pensioner Concession Card.
If you became ineligible for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card and then later reapplied for this Card your account based income streams would be subject to the deeming rules, you could not resurrect your previous exemption for pre January 2015 account based income streams.

Any other benefits of a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card?

A small amount of Energy Supplement is payable quarterly to Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders who supply their banking details to Centrelink.
The Seniors Supplement ceased to be payable as from July 2015.

Am I eligible for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card?

Before you challenge yourself by completing the Claim form for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card you could consider if you would  be eligible for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card or the Pensioner Concession Card as an Age Pensioner.

Help is available.  Financial Care Services assists clients with the Centrelink Commonwealth Seniors Health Card and Age Pension Income Tests and Asset Tests.

A ‘Short Consultation’ with  Financial Care Services could compare your situation against the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test and the Age Pension Means Tests. You could then apply for the Centrelink benefit appropriate for your situation.

To prepare for your Commonwealth Seniors Health Card and Age Pension Short Consultation email now for the Financial Care Services CSHC /Age Pension Data form. You will also receive the Financial Care Services Financial Services Guide including the Financial Care Services Privacy Policy.

Applying for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

Once you have attained your Age Pension Age you could apply to Centrelink for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

You could download the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Claim form and complete it at home.  You would need to attend your local Centrelink office to lodge your Claim form and to ‘prove’ your identity. You would need to take original documents supporting your status as a permanent Australian resident.

Clients of Financial Care Services can be assisted with completing Centrelink Claim forms.

Christine could also assist you with collating your personal data,  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.

To prepare for your Commonwealth Seniors Health Card and Age Pension Short Consultation email now for the Financial Care Services Age Pension Data form. You will also receive the Financial Services Guide including the Financial Care Services Privacy Policy.

About Financial Care Services

Financial Care Services is an independent aged care financial advisory practice.

Christine at Financial Care Services is experienced with Centrelink financial asset definitions, means tests and Pension Applications.

As an independent financial adviser Financial Care Services charges fees based on the time and expertise required to advise our clients. 

Financial Care Services core value in financial advice is to assist with your money plan in the responsible management of your assets to generate the cash flow needed for your lifetime planning. Christine at Financial Care Services understands both the DVA and Centrelink Pensions systems and the Commonwealth aged care fee arrangements.

To book your consultation appointment for confidential, independent and professional advice about Centrelink, lifestyle or financial issues please contact Christine Hopper 03 9808 0338 to book an appointment or email your enquiry. 

Call Christine on 03 9808 0338 to make an appointment for a consultation.

Financial Care Services is licensed to offer investment strategy advice and to assist you to invest. Financial Care Services does not base fees on the value of your assets nor do we accept any commissions or payments from other service providers.

Contact us to arrange a consultation for further confidential, independent and professional advice about DVA, Centrelink, lifestyle or financial issues. 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is of a general nature only and does not constitute “financial advice”. You should obtain your own personal financial advice before investing any money or moving in to any retirement village, lifestyle community or aged care facility. Financial Care Services is licensed to provide financial advice to individual clients based on their personal situations. © 2015 Financial Care Services Pty Ltd. All rights reserved