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Eligibility changes to Seniors Card to help with cost-of-living

Many more older people now have access to cheaper health costs and everyday concessions as eligibility rules for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) have changed.

<p>CSHC income test limits have now been increased. [Source: Pixlr]</p>

CSHC income test limits have now been increased. [Source: Pixlr]

CSHC income test limits have now been increased to $90,000 for a single person (up from $61,284) and $144,000 for couples (up from $98,054), but you still must meet residency requirements and be of Age Pension age.

Increasing the CSHC income threshold will allow more older Australians access to the relevant pharmaceutical and medical benefits discounts and other associated concessions that the card provides.

The Federal Government agreed to lower the income test threshold for the card during its election campaign, and the change came into effect earlier this month.

Chief Advocate of National Seniors Australia, Ian Henschke, has welcomed the change.

“This is good news for retirees struggling with rising living costs,” he says.

“Extending the CSHC card eligibility, according to Government calculations, means an extra 44,000 retirees will now get access to concessions to help ease cost-of-living pressures.”

But Mr Heschke is also advocating for changing pension income test rules to allow more older people to go back to work and fill worker shortages, without impacting their pension.

“Changing pension income test rules to allow them to work without penalty and training more mature age workers, particularly in home care, will boost the care workforce and the incomes of pensioners with limited savings,” he explains.

Benefits of the CSHC card

The CSHC card provides access to cheaper medicines through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and other Federal concessions, as well as concessions offered by some State and Territory governments.

If you are eligible for the car you can access cheaper prescription medicines under the PBS at the concession rate of $6.80 each.

You can also access free prescriptions once you spend up to the PBS Safety Net limit of $244.80 for concession card holders and $1,457.10 for general patients in a calendar year.

You may also get some of your appointments with a General Practitioner (GP) bulk-billed.

However, it is not just medication costs that are lowered with the card.

You can also use your card to access discounts for other life expenses like electricity and gas bills, property and water rates, ambulance services and public transport fares.

To check if you meet the eligibility criteria, including the new income test limits, visit the Services Australia website.

How do you use your Commonwealth Seniors Health Card? Let us know in the comments below.

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