Did you, or a member of your family, have the Pensioner Concession Card cancelled because of the changes to the asset test? If so, it's time to check your letterbox for a pleasant surprise.
If you're retired or close to retirement, you'll probably recall that the government changed the assets test for pensioners in January 2017. You may also have been one of the Australians that had their pensions cancelled because of the changes – and with it, lost your entitlement to the Pensioner Concession Card.
If you had your Pensioner Concession Card cancelled, you would have received a Health Care Card and, if you'd reached age pension age, a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. However, the Pensioner Concession Card provided some benefits not provided by the replacement cards, so losing it put a dent in many pensioners' hip pockets.
But here's some great news: the government has decided to reinstate the Pensioner Concession Card to those who had theirs cancelled as a result of the January 2017 assets test changes.
The change took place from Monday 9 October 2017 onwards – so if you're one of the 92,000 plus people affected, you should receive your reissued card in the post soon.i
Former pensioners will now be able to access some of the card's valuable benefits again that may not have been provided by the Health Care Card / Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.
- discounted hearing services from the Department of Health, such as hearing assessments and subsidised, high quality hearing devices
- various state based concessions depending on the state or territory in which you live. For instance, you might get cheaper gas and electricity bills, discounted water or property rates, cheaper glasses or a discount on your motor vehicle registration. You could also pay less for public transport (e.g. train travel) – and may even receive a perk or two from private businesses.
What to do next
When your Pensioner Concession Card is reinstated, you'll still be able to keep your Seniors Card (if you received one), so you won't lose your Energy Supplement – but your Health Care Card will be cancelled. From now on, your Pensioner Concession Card will be automatically reissued every two years – and it will remain exempt from the income and assets tests.
If you think you're entitled to a Pensioner Concession Card but haven't received it by the end of October 2017, you can make an enquiry online by setting up a myGov account, or call 132 300, Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm.
For more information
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Robert Julian is an authorised representative of Count Financial. This document contains general advice. It does not take account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider talking to a financial adviser before making a financial decision. This document has been prepared by Count Financial Limited ABN 19 001 974 625, AFSL 227232 (Count) a wholly-owned, non-guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124. Count Wealth Accountants® is the business name of Count. Information in this document is based on current regulatory requirements and laws, which may be subject to change. While care has been taken in the preparation of this document, no liability is accepted by Count Financial, its related entities, agents and employees for any loss arising from reliance on this document. Count Financial is registered with the Tax Practitioners Board as a Registered Tax (Financial) Adviser. However your authorised representative may not be a Registered Tax Agent. Consequently, tax considerations are general in nature and do not include an assessment of your overall tax position. You should seek tax advice from a Registered Tax Agent. If you do not wish to receive direct marketing material from your adviser, please notify your adviser by email, phone or in writing.