Budget should prompt CSHC reassessment

Budget CSHC

Budget changes to the income threshold for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card may allow more self-funded retirees access to it.

An industry body has welcomed the income test threshold increases pertaining to the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) included in the Labor government’s recent federal budget and encouraged individuals to reassess their eligibility for the Centrelink concession program.

Association of Independent Retirees (AIR) national president Wayne Strandquist noted the increase in the CSHC annual income test threshold from $61,284 to $90,000 for a single person and from $98,054 to $144,000 for a couple, as announced in the budget, would be effective from 4 November.

“Retirees welcome the passing of legislation to increase the income thresholds to be eligible for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC),” Strandquist said.

“This change means that more self-funded retirees can apply for the CSHC to access important health care concessions. These include cheaper medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, access to the Extended Medicare Safety Net, and bulk billed visits to a GP at the Doctor’s discretion,” he added.

“This assistance comes when retirees are facing an increasing cost of living pressures and uncertain returns from their retirement savings.”

Strandquist recommended individuals take action to allow themselves to benefit from the budget measure.

“AIR encourages self-funded retirees who have not applied or qualified for a CSHC in the past to review their situation in light of the new legislation and make an application through their myGov account or Services Australia,” he advised.

“To be eligible for a CSHC, applicants must be an Australian resident and be of age pension age and have annual taxable income less than the new income thresholds, not including withdrawals from superannuation.

“It is important for self-funded retirees to note that there is no asset test threshold to qualify for the CSHC.”

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