We have received a number of enquiries from clients seeking information on whether they qualify for a WA Seniors Card or Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card and how to apply for them. We have summarised the key points for each entitlement and trust you may find this information useful.
On 1 July 2015 the criteria to apply for a WA Seniors Card changed, details are provided below. The Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card is available to self funded retirees who have reached Age Pension age and who are not eligible to receive the Government Age Pension. Legislation introduced from 1 January 2015 means that deemed income is now included in the income test associated with Account Based Pensions; details on eligibility and the changes are also summarised below.
WA Seniors Card – Department of Local Government and Communities
Seniors Card Holders are entitled to a range of government concessions and discounts of 10% to 50% off the price of goods & services:
- Entitled to receive a rebate of up to 25% on Water & Council Rate charges;
- A directory from over 500 businesses is posted to all Seniors Card holders every 2 years and can be sourced online.
- Aged 61 years or more as at 1 July 2015. The age eligibility will increase by one year every two years rising to 65 years of age by 2023-24;
- Working less than 25 hours per week (averaged over 12 month period);
- Permanent Resident of Australia.
The WA Seniors Card is a lifelong card that does not need to be renewed as long as the eligibility criteria are met.
The application Form is available on the Department of Communities website: www.seniorscard.wa.gov.au
Telephone 6551 8800 or 1800 671 233 (country free call)
Commonwealth Seniors Health Card – Centrelink
To qualify for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, you:
- Have reached Pension Age – currently 65 years or older
- From 1 July 2017 the qualifying age for Age Pension increases from 65 years to 65 years and 6 months, it will increase by 6 months every 2 years reaching 67 years by 1 July 2023
- Do not qualify for the Age Pension or Veteran Affairs benefits
- Are an Australian Resident
- Have an annual adjusted taxable income of less than:
- $51,500 singles
- $82,400 couples
- $103,000 couples separated due to ill health or respite care
Note – Adjusted Taxable income is the sum of:
- Taxable income as per your personal Australian Taxation Office Notice of Assessment
- Add total net investment loss – eg. rental property and financial investment losses
- Add any foreign income received that wasn’t taxable
- Add the value of any employer provided benefits above $1,000 – eg. Car, Health Insurance
- Add reportable superannuation contributions
- Plus deemed income from an Account Based Pension entitlement that was commenced on or after 1 January 2015 or if you were granted a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card on or after 1 January 2015. It includes income deemed from an Account Based Pension owned by a card holder’s partner who is aged 60 years or more.
The deeming rate applicable to an Account Based Pension entitlement from 20 March 2015 is as follows:
- For singles – 1.75% is applied to the first $48,000 of the Account Based Pension entitlement and 3.25% over and above $48,000;
- For couples – 1.75% will apply to the first $79,600 of the combined value of the Account Based Pensions and 3.25% over and above $79,600.
Based on the above rates, if you have no other Taxable income, you can qualify for the Commonwealth Seniors card if you’re Account Based Pension entitlement/s are below the following amounts:
- Single $1,606,770 Account Based Pension entitlement = deemed income of $51,500
- Couples $2,572,124 combined Account Based Pension entitlements = deemed income of $82,400
- Couple separated by illness $3,205,970 combined Account Based Pension entitlements = deemed income of $103,000
There is no asset test applicable to the Commonwealth Seniors Card.
The benefits are:
- If you hold a Seniors Card AND a Seniors Health Card you are entitled to receive up to a 50% rebate on annual Water and Council rate charges.
- Discounts on Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) prescription medicines
- Government provides financial incentives for GPs to bulk-bill concession card holders
- Reduction in the cost of out of hospital medical expenses through Medicare Safety Net
- Concessional travel on Great Southern Rail services (The Ghan, Indian Pacific and The Overland)
Apply for Seniors Health Card via Centrelink – Claim form and ‘Information you need to know about your claim’ via the Centrelink website www.centrelink.gov.au or contact Centrelink on 13 2300.
Cost of Living Rebate – Department of Communities
Annual payment to eligible Seniors Card Holder:
- Singles – $83.85
- Couples – $125.78 (both members must hold a Seniors Card and live together)
To claim a Cost of Living Rebate contact the Seniors Card Centre for the Application Form:
Email – [email protected]
Phone (08) 6551 8800 or 1800 671 233 Toll free Weekdays 9am to 3pm.
Applications must be lodged by 31st May to be eligible for that year’s rebate payment.
Paid quarterly in arrears on the basis you qualify for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card and are in receipt of the Seniors Supplement. You do not need to make a separate claim for the supplement.
The amount will vary depending on your circumstances:
- Single – Up to $91.65 approximately per quarter
- Partnered – Up to $68.90 each approximately per quarter
If you would like us to email you the relevant application form for the WA Seniors Card or the Centrelink ‘Claim for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card’ please contact our Superannuation Manager, Helen Cooper on 9316 7000 or email [email protected].