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Retirees and the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

Written and accurate as at: Oct 14, 2019 Current Stats & Facts

In our article, ‘Ageing and health status in retirement: The three chapters’, we discussed the different chapters that you will experience as you make your way through life.

For example:

1. the accumulation chapter,

2. the transition to retirement chapter (where applicable), and

3. the retirement chapter.



From a retiree’s perspective, the retirement chapter can be broken down even further. For example:

3a. the early (active) chapter,

3b. the middle (passive/sedentary) chapter, and

3c. the late (frail/support) chapter.

The defining features of each chapter are evident. Particularly so, when you look at them in comparison to each other over several key areas. For example, in terms of finances, when your age starts to get the better of your health, you will most likely find that your healthcare expenditure increases.

With this in mind, we take a closer look at the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.


Commonwealth Seniors Health Card


In a nutshell, the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) is a concession card that provides those eligible with a variety of benefits. Importantly, these benefits are not just limited to health.


In terms of eligibility (obtaining and retaining) for the CSHC:


Income Test*

(20 September - 31 December 2019)

Family Situation

Income Threshold*


$55,808 per annum

Couple (combined)

$89,290 per annum

Illness separated couple (combined)

$111,616 per annum

*Add $639.60 to the abovementioned income threshold amounts for each child in your care.

Please note: There is a non-income tested CSHC. This was issued to those that lost their pension entitlements on 1 January 2017 due to the changes that occurred regarding the pension assets test.

  • you must not be in receipt of a Centrelink (e.g. the Age Pension and the Disability Support Pension) or Department of Veterans’ Affairs (e.g. Age Service Pension) income support payment.


To submit a claim for the CSHC, you have several options. One of them is online, via your myGov account (linked to Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs); or by paper, by printing and completing the relevant form.

Please note:

  • The CSHC is valid for 1 year. If you remain eligible, you will be sent a new card each year in August.
  • The CSHC only covers one person. If you have a partner that is eligible to receive the CSHC, they will need to submit their own claim.


As previously stated above, the CSHC is a concession card that provides those eligible with a variety of benefits, not just limited to health. Below are examples of some of these benefits:

  • bulk-billed GP appointments (this is at the discretion of the GP);
  • access to pharmaceuticals (prescription medicines) at concessional rates through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS);
  • reduction in the cost of out-of-hospital medical expenses above a concessional threshold, through the Medicare Safety Net;
  • Energy Supplement, a tax-exempt payment to assist with household expenses including energy costs. However, eligibility for this will depend on your personal circumstances.

Also, state or territory and local governments and private providers may also provide health, household, transport, education and recreation concessions. Below is a selection of some of the benefits provided:

  • New South Wales (NSW)
    • access to public dental services in NSW,
    • ambulance services provided free of charge in case of an emergency in NSW,
    • Seniors Energy Rebate, a $200 rebate once a year, to help cover the cost of electricity bills.
  • Victoria (VIC)
    • once-off stamp duty:
      • exemption when you buy a home valued at ≤$330,000 in VIC,
      • partial exemption when you buy a home valued from $330,001 to $750,000 in VIC.
  • Queensland (QLD)
    • access to public dental services in QLD,
    • Electricity Rebate, a $340.85 rebate once a year, to help cover the cost of electricity bills.

If you have any questions regarding this article, please do not hesitate to contact us.


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