Health Card for Seniors

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Wally David

I’m a proud husband and father and I advise people on money for a living. I've been doing this money thing for over a decade and have a keen passion for educating people on their options by simplifying information into everyday language and cutting to the chase.

health card for seniors

There are two main types of health card for seniors currently available:

– Low Income Health Care Card
– Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

Both cards give you discounts on prescription medicines through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Each card also entitles you to a range of other concessions, depending on what state you reside.

Low Income Health Care Card

The Low Income Health Care Card (LIHCC) is an income-based assessment. Centrelink look at your income for the previous 8-week period prior to applying for the card.

The amount of income you can earn to qualify is different depending on your family situation. ie. Single, Couple.

To apply for the card, your income must be below the following limits:

Family SituationWeekly Income8-week period
Single (no children)$524$4,192
Couple, combined (no children)$906$7,248
Single, one dependent child$906$7,248
For each additional dependent child add$34$272

Note the limits in the above tables are current as of 1 January, 2014

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) is only available to those who have reached Age Pension age. So if you’ve not yet reached pension age, the Low Income Health Care Card is your only option.

The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is based on taxable income.  This is an important distinction as it means many self-funded retirees may be eligible for the card. If most of your income is drawn from superannuation, then your taxable income may be lower than the allowable limits. Income drawn from a superannuation fund from the age of 60 is considered tax exempt and therefore won’t be included in the income calculation for the card.

Neither card is subject to an assets test. This means they may be an alternative to those retirees whose assets are too high for an Age Pension.

1 January 2015 Changes

From 1 January 2015, deeming will apply to superannuation pensions, such as account-based pensions, for the purpose of the income test for both health cards. This change will impact how many seniors qualify for the CSHC in the future.

Grandfathering will mean deeming will not apply to existing CSHC holders who have an account-based pension prior to 1 January 2015. However, if you change your account-based pension to a new product after 1 January 2015, deeming will apply to the new pension.

No grandfathering will apply for LIHCC holders.

For more information regarding these upcoming changes, please see my related post.

Comments

  1. says

    Hello Wally,
    Are we eligible for both the Seniors Supplement and The commonwealth health card. Ages 76 & 66 have no pension very low income. Below assets allowable.

    • Wally David says

      Hi Vivienne,

      Providing your taxable income is less than $80,000 as a couple, you should be eligible. There is no asset test for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

      – Wally

  2. Rose Honeyblossem says

    Hi Wally,

    what limit of money you can have in bank ,before you can claim Low Income Health Care Card

    Thanks

    Rose Honeyblossem

    • Wally David says

      Thank you for your question, Rose.

      I’m afraid there is no hard-and-fast amount you can have in the bank to qualify. It will depend upon a range of factors, such as if you’re single or partnered, and whether you have other sources of income to consider.

      – Wally

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