Commonwealth Seniors Health Card: am I eligible?
The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) is available to all Australian citizens of “Age Pension” age who qualify for government-provided income support.
There are some exceptions, which include self-funded retirees.
It provides support if you are not eligible for either the Age Pension or the Veteran Affairs Pension.
Some criteria include:
You have reached Age Pension qualifying age
Your income is below the Eligibility Annual Income Limit which is based on Adjusted Taxable Income (ATI), consisting of your taxable income with some items added back in, such as investment losses and reportable superannuation contributions
You are living in Australia (as either an Australian resident or a special visa holder)
To pass the income test, your taxable income, including superannuation payments from account-based pensions, must be less than the following annual amounts:
Couples combined (living together): $87,884
Couples separated by illness, respite care, or prison: $109,858
For each dependent child in your care add: $639.60
These amounts are valid as at 9 November 2018 and are reviewed by the Australian Department of Human Services on 20 September each year in line with inflation.
There is no asset test for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. This is a big help for some people as it removes one of the challenges often encountered with Centrelink eligibility.
If you intend to leave Australia for a holiday or to live overseas, you must tell Centrelink before your departure, as it may affect your entitlement to the CSHC.
The card is fairly limited but it does have features which are beneficial. These include:
cheaper medicine under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
bulk billed doctor visits (if your doctor approves)
a larger refund for medical costs when you reach the Medicare Safety Net
Your local council and your state/territory government may offer you more. They may lower your:
electricity and gas bills
property and water rates
public transport fares
health care costs, including ambulance, dental and eye care