More self-funded retirees are eligible for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card as a result of recent changes to the income threshold. The new income thresholds are significantly higher, so it’s worth double checking whether you now qualify.

How will the CSHC benefit me?

The CSHC gives you access to cheaper health care, including:

  • Cheaper prescription medicines which are listed under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
  • Bulk-billed doctors visits (at you doctor’s discretion).
  • Access to the Extended Medicare Safety Net (EMSN). This means that you have to reach a much lower threshold before you receive the increased rebate for eligible out-of-pocket medical costs. The current threshold for a CSHC holder to access the EMSN is $770.30, compared to $2,414 for all other singles and families.

Am I eligible for a CSHC?

To be eligible for the CSHC, you must meet each of the following criteria:

  • Have reached your age pension eligibility age. This varies depending on your year of birth. It’s currently 66 years and six months of age, but increases to 67 from 1 July 2023.
  • Not qualify or be receiving an age pension.
  • Live in Australia and meet residency rules.
  • Meet an income test.

More about the income test

Unlike the age pension, the eligibility test for the CSHC doe not include an assets test, but it does use some of your assets to estimate your income.

On 4 November 2022, the income thresholds were raised significantly, in the order of 46%. The new thresholds are:

$90,000 for single people, or

$144,000 (combined) for couples, or

$180,000 a year for couples separated by illness (including aged care), respite care or prison.

The CSHC income test will take into account your adjusted taxable income, as well as deemed income from you super income streams (such as account-based pensions and account-based annuities). 

To understand the CSHC income test in more detail, including how deeming works, visit Services Australia.

How do I apply?

You need to claim your CSHC through Centrelink. The fastest way to apply is through your myGov account, provided you have one set up, and it’s linked to Centrelink.

If you prefer, you can complete a paper form, which you will find here.

Each individual needs their own card. But, if both members of a couple are eligible, they can submit their income information on the same form.

A step-by-step process for claiming the CSHC is available online here.

I receive the age pension. Should I apply for a CSHC?

If you receive the age pension, you’re not eligible for the CSHC, because you already hold a Pensioner Concession Card.

If you lose your age pension, a CSHC will not be issued automatically. You need to make an application if you meet the eligibility criteria.

General disclaimer

This content is intended only to provide a summary and general overview of the subject matter covered. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute advice. We attempt to ensure that the content is accurate and current but we do not warrant the content nor its currency. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.

How can we help?
If you’d like to know more, please call us on 1300 623 936 to arrange a time to meet and we can discuss your particular requirements in more detail.

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