- 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 residency requirements
Concessions and discounts for Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
Your Commonwealth Seniors Health Card entitles you to discounts on Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) prescription medicines. You may also need to present 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
- 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 adjusted taxable income test. There is no assets test.
You should have an annual adjusted taxable income of less than:
- $50,000 (singles)
- $80,000 (couples, combined), or
- $100,000 (couples, combined, for couples separated by illness or respite care or where one partner is in prison).
The adjusted taxable income limit is increased by $639.60 for each dependent child you care for.
Residency requirements for Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
To meet residency requirements you must be an Australian resident and in Australia on the day that you lodge your claim.
To be an Australian resident, you must be living in Australia as:
- an Australian citizen
- the holder of a permanent resident visa
- the holder of a special-category visa–that is, someone with a New Zealand passport living in Australia
- a New Zealand citizen who was in Australia on 26 February 2001 or for 12 months in the two years immediately before that date, or who was assessed before 26 February 2004 as 'protected'
Newly arrived residents generally have a two-year waiting period. Some exemptions apply for refugees, holders of certain other permanent visas, Australian citizens, and in some circumstances their partners and dependent children.
Once you have read about eligibility the next steps are:
- register an intent to claim
- read the conditions for claiming
- decide how you will submit your claim, online or in person
- complete your forms
- complete the supporting documentation
- submit your claim
- we will assess your claim and let you know the outcome
Managing your card
Self service options
Our self service options are a quick and effective way to deal with us. You can use self service where it's convenient to you and manage things yourself:
- online - you need to register to use some of the services, then you can do many things where and when it suits you
- on your mobile device - our Express Plus mobile apps are simple, fast and convenient, giving you more choices for dealing with Centrelink
- on the phone - you can self-register for Centrelink Phone Self Service
- using a self service terminal at one of our Service Centres
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
- 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 online services, self service, calling us on 132 300 or visiting your nearest service centre.
Payments paid while outside Australia
There are rules about getting your payment when you leave Australia.
Someone to deal with us on your behalf
You can authorise another person or organisation to deal with us on your behalf and receive your Centrelink payments under a correspondence or nominee arrangement.