Daily living costs in retirement can be high. If you receive certain payments from Services Australia and Centrelink, you may be eligible for a Pensioner Concession Card (PCC), with savings and discounts on medical costs and wider expenses. In some circumstances, you may also be eligible even if you might not yet meet the age criteria. In this article:
- What is the Pensioner Concession Card?
- Who is eligible for a Pensioner Concession Card?
- What benefits are available with a Pensioner Concession Card?
- Do I need to apply for a Pensioner Concession Card?
- Who is covered by the Pensioner Concession Card?
- How do I manage a Pensioner Concession Card?
- Is a pensioner concession card the same as the Health Care Card?
- Is a pensioner concession card the same as the Seniors Card?
- What other services and cards are available?
What is the Pensioner Concession Card?
The Pensioner Concession Card helps eligible Australians cover living costs by giving access to specific goods and services at a reduced rate. Examples could include cheaper medicines and more affordable public transport and utilities.
Who is eligible for a Pensioner Concession Card?
According to Services Australia, you can get a Pensioner Concession Card if you receive certain government payments and are aged 60 or older. You may also be eligible if you have ‘a partial capacity to work’ and are receiving selected payments from Services Australia, such as the Parenting Payment (partnered) or Youth Allowance as a job seeker.
What benefits are available with a Pensioner Concession Card?
The Pensioner Concession Card is designed to help eligible Australians out financially, with benefits such as cheaper medicine, bulk-billed doctors visits and help with hearing services.
If you are eligible for the card, you may receive a higher refund for medical costs after reaching the Medicare Safety Net, as well as more affordable medicine under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Product discounts may be available through the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) for example, for people with a disability requiring medication. You may also receive discounts for redirecting your mail through Australia Post.
There may be further benefits offered by your state or territory government, in addition to your local council. For example, you might receive discounts on property and water rates, energy bills, public transport and motor vehicle registration locally. And, if you have a dependent child, they may also be eligible for some benefits.
If you’d like more details from Services Australia in another language, you can contact the Multilingual Phone Service on 131 202 from 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Do I need to apply for a Pensioner Concession Card?
It’s not necessary to apply for a Pensioner Concession Card. According to Services Australia, if you are aged 60 or older, you’ll receive a Pensioner Concession Card if you’ve received certain payments for over 9 months. Some Australians may also be eligible if they have a ‘partial capacity to work’ and receive a qualifying payment.
For Australians under 60, Services Australia lists some qualifying payments that may ensure automatic eligibility to receive a card. These include the Age Pension; the Carer Payment; a Disability Support Pension (DSP); a single Parenting Payment; or certain payments if you are single, caring for a dependent child and looking for work (Youth Allowance or a JobSeeker Payment, at the time of writing).
Pensioner Concession Cards are issued for two years from the date eligible Australians are granted certain payments, but there’s a duty to report any change of circumstances.
Who is covered by the Pensioner Concession Card?
You can get the Pensioner Concession Card if you:
- Are receiving any of these pensions: Age Pension, Bereavement Allowance, Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension, Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance, or Parenting Payment Single
- Are older than 60 and are receiving the Widow Allowance, or have been receiving the Sickness Allowance or Special Benefit for more than 9 months
- Meet an income test
- Are living in Australia
How do I manage a Pensioner Concession Card?
Rules apply for how you manage a pensioner concession card if you have a change of circumstances, lose or have your card stolen, or travel outside Australia. Services Australia says that it must be notified if you:
- change or correct your name
- marry or start or stop living with your partner
- move addresses
- don’t lodge a tax return
- are leaving Australia
- start or stop being a child’s main carer
- have changes with your work or study load
- have changes with your or your partner’s income and assets
A lost or stolen card can be replaced online (through a MyGov Centrelink account) or by calling or visiting Centrelink. It’s also possible to link your card through a Digital Wallet in the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.
Is a Pensioner Concession Card the same as the Health Care Card?
No, the Pensioner Concession Card and Health Care Card are different concession cards offered by Services Australia. The Services Australia website lists eligibility requirements for the Health Care Card. There are some similar benefits offered with a Health Care Card to a Pensioner Concession Card.
Is a Pensioner Concession Card the same as the Seniors Card?
No, the Pensioner Concession Card and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) are different concession cards offered by Services Australia. The Services Australia website lists eligibility requirements for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. Being of Age Pension age is required to receive the CSHC. National Seniors Australia says that the CSHC has ‘greater eligibility restrictions’ with benefits that are ‘not as extensive’ as the PCC.
What other services and cards are available?
In addition to the Pensioner Concession Card, Health Care Card and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, there are a variety of other sources of support and assistance that may be available to help you out financially. Centrelink has a payments and services list that provides links to all payments and services that are available for individuals from Services Australia. It also offers a Payment and Service Finder, that allows you to narrow your search for payments and services you may be eligible for, based on different criteria, and advice about payments for older Australians.
Related: Health Insurance for Seniors
About the author:
Jacqueline Belesky is a Sub Editor at Canstar. She brings over 15 years of experience in corporate communications, media and publishing and holds a Bachelor of Journalism (Distinction) from Queensland University of Technology and postgraduate qualifications in Writing, Editing and Publishing from the University of Queensland. Jacqui was previously a Global Content and Media Manager for ABB in the UK and in Oslo, Norway, and has worked in Australia as a journalist for News Corp and editor for the Queensland Government, John Wiley & Sons and the University of Queensland. Jacqui’s articles have been published in The Courier-Mail, The Gold Coast Bulletin and on www.news.com.au. She also brings experience managing the editorial production of annual reports, financial statements, research papers and supplements on topics such as business sustainability and the global financial crisis. You can follow Jacqui on LinkedIn and Twitter.