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5.7.1 CSHC Overview
What is the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card?
The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) is intended to assist retirees and other eligible seniors who fail to qualify for an income support pension from DVA or a pension or benefit payable by Centrelink. The card is issued each financial year.
Payments available to CSHC holders
The CSHC entitles the holder to a quarterly payment of Energy supplement (ES) to assist with payment of energy, rates, water and sewerage expenses.
Concessions available to CSHC holders
CSHC holders may also be entitled to the following concessions:
- pharmaceuticals (prescription medicines) at concessional rate through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS),
- PBS Safety Net threshold at concession cardholder rate,
- Medicare Safety Net threshold at concession cardholder rate,
- discounted fares for travel on the Great Southern Railway,
Factsheet IS152 - Southern Railway Travel Concession
- additional concession from state and local government authorities.
These concessions are not determined by DVA. However, when the cardholder presents their card to claim a concession, they are consenting to their CSHC entitlement being confirmed with DVA by the concession provider.
Veterans with qualifying service, their partners (including widows and widowers) and war widows/widowers may be entitled to a CSHC from DVA if they are of pension age or qualifying age and meet other eligibility criteria.
CSHC income test
The CSHC income test is based on adjusted taxable income and income deemed on account‑based income streams. A person is only entitled to a CSHC if their income is below the limit relevant to their relationship status.
Commencement, variation and termination of CSHC
The rules for the date of effect of determinations regarding the CSHC are different to those applying to income support pensions.
Income support pension is:
- a social security pension
- a service pension;
- an income support supplement.
Centrelink is a Government service delivery agency responsible for delivering a range of Commonwealth Government services (including social security pensions and allowances) to the Australian community through a network of more than 400 Centrelink offices.
The energy supplement is an ongoing, regular payment designed to help recipients meet the cost of living impact of the carbon price.
Qualifying service is one of the criteria used to determine eligibility for certain benefits under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986. Refer to section 7A of the VEA for the full defintion.
A war widow/widower is generally a person who immediately before their partners death, was the partner of, or was legally married to:
- a veteran; or
- a person who was a member of the forces; and
- who is receiving:
- a war widow's/widower's pension; or
- a pension that is payable under the law of a foreign country that is, in the opinion of the Commission, similar to a war widow's/widower's pension.
Refer to 5E(1) of the VEA for the full definition.
Currently, the pension age for a veteran is 5 years earlier than pension age for a non-veteran.
Male Pension Age
- If a veteran = 60 years. Veteran pension age is specified in VEA section 5QA.
- If a Non-Veteran = 65 years. Pension age for non-veterans is specified in VEA section 5QB.
Pension age for a female is subject to age equalisation. Pension age for females is being raised by 6 months every two years, so that by 1 January 2014 the eligibility ages for males and females will be the same.
From 1 July 2017, the pension age for both male and female non veterans born on or after 1 July 1952 will progressively increase by 6 months every 2 years, so that by 1 July 2023, pension age for a non veteran will be 67. Veteran pension age will not change so by 1 July 2023 pension age for a veteran will be 7 years earlier than pension age for a non veteran. A table explaining this gradual increase can be found in 3.4.1 Age requirements.