On 1 January 2017, because of changes to the Age Pension assets test limit being lowered to $832,000, some clients had their pension payment cancelled.
Most clients had their Pensioner Concession Card replaced with a non-income tested Low Income Health Care Card. Unfortunately this card did not offer as many benefits as the Pensioner Concession Card, eg. train fares, help with hearing services, plus a range of other benefits offered by states, territories and private enterprise.
What’s the good news?
The good news is that from 9 October 2017, the Pensioner Concession Card will be reinstated to around 92,300 former pension recipients, including 3,600 Department of Veterans’ Affairs payment recipients.
Below is a snippet from the Australian Government Department of Human Services website:
Description of the measure
This measure restores the Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) to people who stopped being eligible for a pension payment due to changes to the assets test.
Pensioners who lost eligibility on 1 January 2017 were given:
- a non-income tested Low Income Health Care Card (LIC), and
- if they were over pension age, a non-income tested Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC).
This measure will allow these non-pensioners to access:
- hearing services from the Department of Health, and
- discounts and concessions offered by states, territories and private providers.
It will not be income-tested or assets-tested. PCC card holders will need to meet other eligibility requirements. These include portability conditions.
You can use this card in the same way you did before your pension payment was cancelled. Best of all you do not have to do anything as Centrelink will automatically reissue Pensioner Concession Cards to eligible recipients. The card is also exempt from the income and assets test.
Until your Pensioner Concession Card arrives in the mail, you can continue to use your non-income tested Low Income Health Care Card to access discounts and concessions. After you receive your new Pensioner Concession Card your Low Income Health Card will be deactivated.
The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card will remain the same.