Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
Gives older Australians access to cheaper prescription medicines, Australian government funded medical services, and other government concessions.
- you have reached age pension age
- you do not qualify for a payment by us or the Department of Veterans' Affairs, and
- you met the income test
Eligibility & payment rates
To qualify for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card you must:
- have reached age pension age and 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 the income test, and
- meet residence requirements
If we cancel your payment on 1 January 2017 because of the changes to the pension assets test, and you were age pension age or over, you will be automatically eligible for a:
- non-income tested Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, and
- non-income tested Low Income Health Care Card
Read more about the changes to the pension assets test.
Your Commonwealth Seniors Health Card provides discounts on Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) prescription medicines. You may also need to show your Medicare card when submitting your prescription at the pharmacy.
You may also get a discount or concession on:
- bulk billed doctor appointments,
- cheaper out of hospital medical expenses through the Medicare Safety Net, and
- extra health, household, transport, education, and recreation concessions that are offered by state, territory, local governments and private businesses - these providers offer concessions at their own discretion, and the availability of these concessions may vary between providers
The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is subject to an income test which is indexed on 20 September each year and includes:
- adjusted taxable income, and
- a deemed amount from account based income streams
There is no assets test.
You should have an annual income of less than:
- $52,796 if you are single
- $84,472 for couples combined, or
- $105,592 for couples combined, who are 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 provide the holder with a tax free retirement income stream from age 60. These income streams also provide flexible access to your capital. This financial product is considered as part of your income test. The current account balance of an account based income stream is subject to deeming if it is:
- purchased or changed on or after 1 January 2015
- owned by someone granted a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card on or after 1 January 2015, and
- owned by a card holder’s partner who is aged 60 or more
Your adjusted taxable income will be used to assess your eligibility for some payments, supplements, support and benefits.
To be eligible for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card you must satisfy residence requirements. You must be living in Australia and you must be:
You must also:
- be physically present in Australia on the day you submit 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.
If you qualify for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, you may choose to receive the quarterly supplement.
The quarterly supplement is a payment for the Energy Supplement.
Once you have read about eligibility, the next steps are:
- find out what you need before you start
- choose your claiming option
- begin a claim
- provide your supporting documents
- submit your claim
- we will assess your claim and let you know the outcome
Your Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is valid for 1 year and will be renewed automatically each year in August if you remain eligible.
The Digital Wallet is a feature in the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app which displays a digital image of your concession or health care card.
Do your Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support business using self service options, including our Express Plus mobile apps, online accounts and phone self service.
Read more about using self service
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, or
- your work or study load changes
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.
To remain eligible for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card while you are outside Australia, you must continue to meet the qualification rules for this card.
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.
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 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.