Government Returns Over 90,000 Pensioner Concession Cards

Of the 100,000 former part-pensioners who lost access to concession entitlements in January 2017, just over 90,000 could be eligible to have the card reinstated.

Senior Pension Coffee

The decision to reinstate the card was announced by the Government during the 2017-18 Budget in May when it was revealed 92,000 former part-pension cards would be returned from 9 October 2017.

Minister for Social Services, the Hon Christian Porter MP said as a consequence of the reforms, pensioners with higher levels of assets lost a number of local government and private sector benefits including discounted rates and rail travel.

“The January reforms to the assets test were a crucial step in ensuring that our pension system remains sustainable and affordable for future generations,” he said.

“In reinstating the PCC, the Turnbull Government is ensuring that these 90,000 former part-pensioners will be able to access those benefits again in the future.”

What is a pensioner concession card (PCC)?

As Australian seniors choose to retire from the workforce, the pensioner concession card (or PCC) helps low income earners afford the cost of living. It can be used towards basic goods and services including public transport, electricity bills, medical equipment and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

For more information about the PCC and other eligibility requirements click here.

What happened in January?

As of 1 January 2017 the federal government reduced entitlements of more than 330,000 pensioners, including at least 100,000 having their entitlements cut altogether.

Asset test thresholds (Effective from 20 September 2017): 

Australian seniors lose their ‘part’ age pension entitlement if:

  • A home-owning couple held more than $830,000 in assets
  • A non home-owning couple held more than $1,033,000 in assets
  • A single home-owner held more than $552,000 in assets
  • A single non home-owner held more than $755,000 in assets

Australian seniors lost their ‘full’ age pension entitlement if:

  • A home-owning couple held more than $380,500 in assets
  • A non home-owning couple held more than $583,500 in assets
  • A single home-owner held more than $253,750 in assets
  • A single non home-owner held more than $456,750 in assets

So what’s next?

From 9 October 2017, the Department of Human Services began reissuing the PCCs. The process will be completely automatic and those eligible can expect their card anytime over the next two weeks.

Minister for Human Services, the Hon Alan Tudge said people expecting a reissued card do not need to do anything to receive it – the department will send it to them automatically.

“This change means people can regain access to discounts and concessions offered by states, territories and private businesses,” Minister Tudge said.

“Part-pensioners will also retain the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, which continued to be provided after the January 2017 pension changes. This means they will continue to be paid the energy supplement to help with energy costs.”

Pensioner concession card reinstatement numbers by state

Australia Capital Territory 950
New South Wales 29,460
Northern Territory 204
Queensland 17,499
South Australia 6,190
Tasmania 2,002
Victoria 24,085
Western Australia 7,593
Unknown 735
All DSS 88,718
DVA 3,600
Total 92,318
Source: Australian Government – Department of Human Services

For more information about reinstatement of the PPC, click here.

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