We have been pro-active in recommending our clients apply for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card (CSHC) where they do not qualify for an Age Pension. In particular, it is useful for those on medication due to the savings under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Outside of the pharmaceutical discounts the concessions are quite limited, however, a further benefit is now available as a result of the Coronavirus stimulus package.
Those who have held the Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card at any time from 12 March to 13 April 2020, will be eligible for the recently announced support payment. Eligible cardholders will receive two stimulus package installments of $750, one from March 31 and the other from July 13. That’s a total of $1,500 for singles and $3,000 for eligible couples, a welcomed bonus during such volatile times.
To be eligible for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card, you must be 66 or older, and have adjusted taxable income and deemed income from Account-Based Pensions totaling less than:
- $55,808 per year, if you’re a single.
- $89,290 per year, if you’re a couple; and,
- $111,616 a year for couples separated by illness.
It is important to note there is no assets test and that if you hold an Account-based Pension product, the balance of this fund will be deemed for income testing purposes. The amount you draw as a regular pension is not counted in this income test.
Should you or your friends not hold a Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card we strongly recommend you consider applying prior to April 13. Centrelink can take 3 months to process your application (this will likely to be extended in current circumstances), however your card eligibility is back dated to the date you submit your application. Thus, you will receive the stimulus package payments once your application has been approved.
Application for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card can be completed via your MyGov portal, alternatively the application form can be found here