- reached Age Pension age but do not qualify for a payment by us or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
- meet an income test
Eligibility and payment rates
Eligibility for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
To qualify for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card you must:
- have reached Age Pension age but not qualify for a payment from us or the Department of Veterans' Affairs
- provide us with your and your partner's tax file numbers, or be granted an exemption from doing so
- meet an income test, and
- meet residence requirements
Concessions and discounts for Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
Your Commonwealth Seniors Health Card provides discounts on Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) prescription medicines. You may also need to show your Medicare Card when lodging your prescription at the pharmacy.
You can get a discount or concession on:
- bulk billed doctor appointments, at the discretion of the doctor
- cheaper out of hospital medical expenses through the Medicare Safety Net
- concessional rail travel on Great Southern Rail services, such as The Indian Pacific, The Ghan, and The Overland, and
- in some instances, extra health, household, transport, education, and recreation concessions that are offered by state or territory and local governments and private businesses. These providers offer concessions at their own discretion, and the availability of these concessions may vary between states and territories
Income test for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is subject to an income test that includes:
- adjusted taxable income, which is indexed on 20 September each year, and
- a deemed amount from account based income streams
There is no assets test.
You should have an annual income of less than:
- $51,500 for singles
- $82,400 for couples combined, or
- $103,000 for couples combined, couples separated by illness or respite care, or where one partner is in prison
The income limit is increased by $639.60 for each dependent child you care for.
Account based income streams
Account based income streams provide the holder with a tax free retirement income stream from age 60 as well as flexible access to their capital. The current account balance of an account based income stream will be subject to deeming where it is:
- purchased or changed on or after 1 January 2015
- owned by someone granted Commonwealth Seniors Health Card on or after 1 January 2015
- owned by a card holder’s partner who is aged 60 or more
Adjusted taxable income
We will calculate your adjusted taxable income as part of the income test.
Residence requirements for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
To be eligible for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card you must satisfy residence requirements. You must be living in Australia and you must be:
- an Australian resident, or
- the holder of a special category visa
You must also:
- be physically present in Australia on the day you lodge your claim, and
- continue to meet the residence requirements for as long as you hold this card
Newly arrived residents generally have a 104 week waiting period, with some exemptions.
Managing your card
Renewing a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
Your Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is valid for 1 year and will be renewed automatically in August of each year if you are eligible.
Digital concession cards
If you already have a concession or health care card, you can also access a digital image of your card from the Digital Wallet on your Express Plus Centrelink mobile app. The Digital Wallet lets you present your concession or health care card using your smart device.
To access the Digital Wallet, eligible customers need to download the latest version of the Express Plus Centrelink Mobile app.
Access your digital concession or health care card by:
- logging on to your app
- selecting Digital Wallet from the side menu or rotating your smart device on its side. Your card will:
- drop down from the top of the screen
- swipe vertically to show the front and the back of the card, and
- shimmer slightly
If you have more than one concession or health care card, you can swipe horizontally to access the card you need.
The Digital Wallet provides real time concession entitlement. If your concession or health care card is no longer active, EXPIRED will appear across the card and will be displayed for 28 days before it’s no longer available through your app. There may be circumstances where you should continue to use your physical concession or health care card. If your Digital Wallet is not accepted by a concession provider, please contact us with their details by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can do most of your Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support business using self service options including our Express Plus Centrelink mobile apps, online services or phone self service.
Change of circumstances while receiving Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
You need to tell us if your circumstances change when you are receiving a payment. For example, if:
- your personal circumstances change
- you change your address
- your income changes
- you do not have to lodge a tax return
- your care arrangements change
- your work or study load changes, or
- you leave Australia
If you do not tell us about the changes within 14 days, your payment may be affected. You may be overpaid benefits and you will probably have to pay the money back.
If you deliberately do not tell us about changes, you could be charged with fraud, and a recovery fee may be imposed.
Lost or stolen card
Lost or stolen cards can be replaced. A replacement card will be sent to you by mail. It cannot be issued over the counter at a service centre. You can request a replacement card using your online account, self service, calling us on 132 300 or visiting your nearest service centre.
Commonwealth Seniors Health Card while travelling outside Australia
If you leave Australia to live in another country your concession card will be cancelled when you leave.
If you leave Australia temporarily, your concession card will remain current for up to 19 weeks. After 19 weeks your concession card will be cancelled and you will need to reapply once you return to Australia.
If you left Australia temporarily before 1 January 2015 your concession card may only remain current for up to 6 weeks.
Before travelling make sure your income details are up to date. By doing so, if you need to reapply for your card on return to Australia, the process will be quicker and easier.
Advising us of your travel outside Australia
You should tell us if you are leaving Australia and you will be away for longer than 19 weeks.
Otherwise you do not need to tell us if you are leaving Australia. We will be advised automatically by Australia's immigration department when you leave Australia and when you return.
Someone to deal with us on your behalf
If you want someone else to handle your Centrelink, Child Support or Medicare business you can authorise them to deal with us on your behalf.
Information you need to know about your claim for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
Other concession and health care cards
Concession and health care cards can help you access cheaper health care services and medicines.
Select the options that describe your circumstances then explore a suggested list of possible Centrelink and Medicare payments and services online.
Select your state and topics of interest to find links to government and community organisation support.