Centrelink asset test rules are changing on 1 January 2017. This could mean you lose the Age Pension and the Pensioner Concession Card (PCC).
When the Government announced the Age Pension changes they said people who no longer qualify for the Age Pension and the Pensioner Concession Card will automatically be given a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC). Normally, you must meet the CSHC income test to obtain the card, but this requirement will be permanently waived if you qualify as a result of the asset test changes on 1 January 2017.
Compared to the PCC, the CSHC only offers a limited range of benefits. To ease some of the burden on people who lose the Age Pension and the PCC, they will automatically qualify for a Low Income Health Care Card (LIHCC) in addition to the CSHC. The LIHCC provides more benefits than the CSHC in certain states and while not as generous as the PCC, it could still save you hundreds of dollars per year.
The level of discounts you can receive varies from state to state. Most states and territories offer discounts or rebates on utility costs and some also offer dental health services and cheaper public transport. The map below shows what types of concessions an LIHCC and a CSHC cardholder could be eligible for, but it doesn’t show all of the possible discounts or concessions for CSHC and LIHCC cardholders so check with service providers about the offers they have.
If you’re unsure how you may be affected by the asset test changes on 1 January 2017, and what discounts or offers you might be eligible for, please contact your financial planner.