Your guide to universal concessions for seniors

Feb 09, 2023
Finding what concessions are relevant to you can be a confusing endeavour. Source: Getty

As retirement approaches, a main concern people have is whether or not they have enough savings for a secure and comfortable future.

However, reaching retirement age opens you up to an array of senior discounts, designed to support and recognise the contributions of older Australians.

These concessions can ease the cost of living by offering discounts on expenses such as transportation, utilities, entertainment, and more.

Although, navigating the many types of concession cards available can be confusing.

Some cards and concessions are administered by the Commonwealth Government, while others are administered by state, territory, and local governments, as well as some private organisations. Furthermore, some are restricted to those receiving government benefits, while others are open to anyone over 60.

To simplify the process of finding what entitlements are available to you, Starts at 60 has been creating a free, downloadable e-guide, called ‘Seniors Concessions Guide 2023’, which will be released in March 2023.

This e-guide will share what concessions are available for the following cardholders:

  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Card;
  • Pensioner Concession Card;
  • Health Care Card; and
  • Seniors Card.

For ease of reference, these concessions are organised by state and category such as:

  • Universal concessions;
  • Energy and utility concessions;
  • Health and Ambulance service concessions;
  • Driving and Transport concessions;
  • Legal concessions; and
  • Extra concessions.

To give you a sneak peek of what’s to come, we’ve compiled all the universal concessions for you here. These concessions can be accessed across the country.

Concessions available Australia wide

Pensioner Concession Card and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders are entitled to discounted medications under the Pharmaceuticals Benefits Scheme (PBS). Prescription medications that fall under the scheme, will cost no more than $7.30 per script until you reach the threshold, in which all PBS medications become free for the remainder of the year. These cardholders are also entitled to bulk-billed doctor’s appointments – at the discretion of the doctor.

Pensioner Concession Card holders are eligible for free vouchers that will pay for approved hearing aids in full. However, you can choose to purchase a hearing device with a partial subsidy instead.

Click here to apply for subsidised hearing services.

If you’re needing a little bit of extra help, Pension Concession Card holders earning less than $45,000 a year, are entitled to access the No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS). The scheme provides no fees and no interest on essential loans for goods and services. The scheme allows pensioners to borrow up to $2,000 without a credit check and provides the option to set up affordable repayment plans over 12 to 18 months.

The loan is intended to be used for: 

  • household items (fridges, washing machines, stoves, dryers, freezers, and furniture)
  • some medical and dental services
  • education essentials such as computers and textbooks
  • some other items as requested.

The loan cannot be used:

  • as cash
  • to pay rent arrears
  • debt consolidation
  • for holidays
  • to pay bills

Find a NILS provider here.

Eligibility requirements for concession cards

In Australia, the Age Pension age is 66 years and 6 months for people born from July 1, 1955, to December 31, 1956, inclusive.

However, as of July 1, 2023, if you were born on or after January 1, 1957, you’ll have to wait until you turn 67.

Aside from the Seniors Card, the Centrelink benefits you receive, such as the Age Pension, determine the type of card you are given.

Pension Concession Card requirements

You must be 60 years or older and receiving one of the following payments:

  • Age Pension
  • Disability Support Pension
  • Carer Payment.

You may also be eligible for the card if you’re over 60 and you’ve been receiving one of the following benefits for more than 9 months:

  • JobSeeker Payment
  • Parenting Payment partnered
  • Special Benefit.

Health Care Card requirements

If you’re below Age Pension age, you may still be able to get the Health Care Card if you’re receiving one of the following benefits:

  • JobSeeker Payment
  • Special Benefit
  • Carer Allowance
  • Mobility Allowance (if you’re not getting Disability Support Pension).

Eligibility for this card is assessed yearly.

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card requirements

Beneficial for self-funded retirees who are not eligible for the Age Pension, this card’s eligibility requires you to meet the following conditions:

  • be Age Pension age
  • meet residence rules such as:
    • hold an Australian citizenship
    • have a permanent visa
    • have a Special Category visa.
  • not be getting an income support payment from Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
  • provide a Tax File Number or be exempt from doing so
  • meet identity requirements
  • meet the income test
    • $90,000 a year if you’re single
    • $144,000 a year for couples
    • $180,000 a year for couples separated by illness, respite care or prison.

Seniors Card requirements

Eligibility requirements for this card are dependent on the state you’re living in.

However, once you turn 60 and stop working full-time, you are typically eligible to apply for a Seniors Card from your state or territory government in Australia.

While the cards are non-means tested, the eligibility criteria and benefits you are entitled to may vary based on your location.

Find your states eligibility requirements below:

Register your interest for our FREE e-guide now

If you’d like to receive your free copy of the ‘Seniors Concessions Guide 2023’ once available in March 2023, register your interest here.

 

Disclaimer: The information in this e-guide was gathered from websites affiliated with state and territorial governments as of January 2023. Although utmost care was taken to ensure its accuracy, it’s always best to confirm the available concessions with the relevant card provider if you have any doubts. This guide is meant to serve only as an informational reference and presents the maximum available entitlements. The results from the calculator are just estimations and should not be considered as a definite entitlement. The figures and formulas used in this guide may be subject to change without notice, as determined by state governments.

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