Paul Kinsella at Knowledgebank IQ | 25 March 2014 | Pension, Retirement

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

Holders of the card receive concessional prescription medicines and other benefits.

The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is aimed at independent retirees who have reached Age Pension or Service Pension age and who are not entitled to, or have chosen not to claim, an entitlement to social security benefits.

To obtain the Seniors Health Card a person must:

  • be an Australian resident, living in Australia; 

  • have reached Age Pension Age or Service Pension age; 

  • have annual adjusted taxable income of less than the levels set by Centrelink; and

  • not be receiving a social security pension or benefit, or a Service Pension.

The level of the annual ‘adjusted taxable income’ must be less than:

  • $50,000 for singles

  • $80,000 for couples combined

  • $100,000 for couples combined who are separated due to ill health

Holders of the card receive concessional prescription medicines through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). This is a 'safety net', for people requiring a lot of medicines. Once prescription expenses reach a certain threshold amount over a calendar year period, clients are entitled to receive free PBS medicines for the remainder of that year.

There is no assets test for entitlement to this non-cash benefit.

What is adjusted taxable income (ATI)?

The definition of ATI for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card includes:

  • Taxable income

  • Reportable Fringe Benefits

  • Net rental property losses / net investment losses

  • Foreign Income

  • Salary Sacrifice Super contributions

  • Reportable super contributions (personal deductible contributions and other employer contributions excluding SG contributions)

Note:  The income you receive from an account based pension income stream is not taxable income. This income does not count as part of the $50,000 / $80,000 limit above.

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