More than 50,000 additional self-funded retirees will be helped to ease their cost of living pressures with the Albanese Labor Government taking action to enable more Australians to access the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.
Legislation introduced into Parliament on Wednesday will see Labor deliver on its commitment to raise the income thresholds for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card to provide medical and pharmaceutical concessions for those who have reached age pension or veteran pension age.
Pending the passage of legislation, the income limits for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card will increase from $57,761 to $90,000 for singles and from $92,416 to $144,000 for couples (combined).
If passed, the increases are due to take effect from 20 September 2022.
More than 44,000 newly eligible CSHC holders are expected to benefit within the first year of implementation. This is projected to increase to an additional 52,000 card holders by 2026-27.
Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Lifting the Income Limit for the Commonwealth Seniors Heath Card) Bill will help older Australians when they needed it most.
“Like other Australians, self-funded retirees are also under pressure in the current economic environment”, Minister Rishworth said.
“Cost of living pressures are hurting and we are determined to do what we can as a Government to assist.
“We’re committed to leaving no one behind and holding no one back and this important legislation is true to those guiding principles.
“Importantly, the new income limits will apply to both current and future card holders and claimants, meaning all connected to the card will benefit as they will be able to earn more and still receive concessions.”
Older Australians can use their Commonwealth Seniors Health Card to access cheaper medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), bulk billed doctor visits (at the discretion of the provider), and the lower thresholds of the PBS and Extended Medicare safety nets.
Eligible Australians can apply for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card on the Services Australia website.