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C23/2006 Date of Commencement for Commonwealth Seniors Health Card


DATE OF ISSUE:  27 September 2006

Date of Commencement for Commonwealth Seniors Health Card


The purpose of this Departmental Instruction (DI) is to alert staff to changes regarding the date of commencement provisions for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC).


Section 118ZH of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) provides that a determination made under section 118ZG that a person is entitled to a CSHC takes effect “...on the date on which the determination is made or such earlier or later date as is specified in the determination”.

The Social Security Act 1991 (SSA) originally contained a similarly broad provision regarding the commencement of a CSHC, but the rules were changed when they were moved from the SSA to the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 by Act No 80 of 2001.

The VEA rules regarding date of commencement of a CSHC have not been changed since the CSHC was introduced.

No previous policy provided

No policy advice has been provided, either as a DI or through CLIK, on how to apply VEA section 118ZH, leading potentially to inconsistent decision making regarding the date of commencement for a CSHC.

While the CSHC initially only provided concessions on pharmaceuticals listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), concessional travel on the Great Southern Railway, telephone allowance and seniors concession allowance have all subsequently been made available to cardholders.  The lack of policy on the commencement date has become more critical now that payments have been attached to the CSHC.

Date of commencement provisions in CLIK

CLIK Part 5, Chapter 7 has been rewritten to include information on the date of commencement provisions.

Information has also been included about the date of effect provisions for determinations regarding the continuation, variation and termination of a CSHC.

Contact officer

Any questions regarding this DI should be directed to Steve Weller, Income Support & Aged Care Policy, on extension 16590.

Jeanette Ricketts

Branch Head

Income Support & Aged Care Policy

27 September 2006