Thousands of seniors enjoy cost of living relief after changes to Seniors Health Card

Mar 15, 2023
An additional 10,893 older Australians have been granted the card who would not have met eligibility criteria previously. Source: Getty Images.

Following changes in eligibility criteria in 2022, over 10,000 additional older Australians and veterans in Australia have been issued a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, easing the financial burden associated with the rising cost of living.

More seniors were made eligible for a raft of discounts on healthcare, medication, and even utility bills after income tests for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card were relaxed.

The changes went into effect on Friday, November 4, 2022 with the income threshold for access to the card increased.

In the first four months since the Labor Government introduced the increased income thresholds, an additional 10,893 older Australians have been granted the card who would not have met eligibility criteria previously.

The annual income thresholds increased in November following the passage of legislation. These increased to:

  • $90,000 for singles, up from the previous limit of $57,761; and
  • $144,000 for couples, up from the previous limit of $92,416

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said the Labor Government was upholding its commitment to reduce cost of living pressures and assist older Australians.

“It’s incredible to see such a great take-up in such a short time,” Rishworth said.

“We know that seniors value their concession cards and importantly, this change isn’t temporary. It’s permanent and will provide older Australians with ongoing benefits in the years ahead.

“Initial projections were that an additional 52,000 older Australians would benefit by 2026-27.”

Minister for Government Services Bill Shorten encouraged those who are eligible but had not yet applied to go to myGov to lodge their claim.

“How someone claims will depend on their circumstances and preferences,” Shorten said.

“The easiest way to lodge a claim is to sign into myGov and go to Centrelink. You can make a claim from your homepage or through the new myGov app.

“While using online services remains a choice, support is available for those who need a hand to get started. All Services Australia service centres now offer digital support for people who need help to get set up.

“Customers are also able to submit a claim via the phones or by visiting a Service Centre.

“I would also encourage all Australians to download the new myGov app, where cards like the Commonwealth seniors Health Card are stored in the digital wallet.”

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel, Matt Keogh claimed the changes “will assist many veterans of veteran pension age with cost of living pressures”.

The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card income limits will continue to be indexed annually.

The card allows recipients access to cheaper medicine under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), bulk-billed doctor visits and, depending on the state in which they reside, discounts on utility bills and public transport.

Eligible Australians can find information about applying for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card on the Services Australia website.

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