Pensioner concession card reinstated

Did you, or a member of your family, have the Pensioner Concession Card cancelled because of the changes to the asset test? If so, it’s time to check your letterbox for a pleasant surprise.

If you’re retired or close to retirement, you’ll probably recall that the government changed the assets test for pensioners in January 2017. You may also have been one of the Australians that had their pensions cancelled because of the changes – and with it, lost your entitlement to the Pensioner Concession Card. If you had your Pensioner Concession Card cancelled, you would have received a Health Care Card and, if you’d reached age pension age, a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. However, the Pensioner Concession Card provided some benefits not provided by the replacement cards, so losing it put a dent in many pensioners’ hip pockets.

But here’s some great news: the government has decided to reinstate the Pensioner Concession Card to those who had theirs cancelled as a result of the January 2017 assets test changes. The change took place from October 9, 2017 onwards – so if you’re one of the 92,000 plus people affected, you should receive your reissued card in the post soon.1

Valuable concessions

Former pensioners will now be able to access some of the card’s valuable benefits again that may not have been provided by the Health Care Card/Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

These include:

  • Discounted hearing services from the Department of Health, such as hearing assessments and subsidised, high quality hearing devices
  • Various state-based concessions depending on the state or territory in which you live. For instance, you might get cheaper gas and electricity bills, discounted water or property rates, cheaper glasses or a discount on your motor vehicle registration. You could also pay less for public transport (eg. train travel) – and may even receive a perk or two from private businesses.

What to do next

When your Pensioner Concession Card is reinstated, you’ll still be able to keep your Seniors Card (if you received one), so you won’t lose your Energy Supplement – but your Health Care Card will be cancelled. From now on, your Pensioner Concession Card will be automatically reissued every two years – and it will remain exempt from the income and assets tests.

If you think you’re entitled to a Pensioner Concession Card but haven’t received it by the end of October 2017, you can make an enquiry online by setting up a myGov account, or call 132 300, Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm.

Talk to your financial adviser

If you’re in retirement, your adviser can help make sure you’re getting any benefits that you’re entitled to.

1 Minister for Human Services website, October 2017