A guide to concession cards

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1 A guide to concession cards

2 2 A guide to concession cards

3 Contents Introduction 5 What concession cards are available? 6 Commonwealth Seniors Health Card 11 If your card is lost or stolen 13 Who will appear on your card? 14 What information will appear on your card? 15 Concession cards from the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) 15 What Australian Government concessions do you get with your card? 16 State and territory concessions 17 State Seniors Card 19 State and territory concession information 20 Confirming your eligibility for concessions 24 Leaving Australia (temporarily or permanently) 26 Tell us if things change 27 How to find out more 28 A guide to concession cards 3

4 4 A guide to concession cards

5 Introduction This booklet is a guide to the concession cards that are available from the Australian Government Department of Human Services and Department of Veterans Affairs. It includes information about the different types of cards available, who may be able to get them and details of concessions provided by the Australian Government and the various state and territory governments. Please note: concession cards may also allow cardholders, their partners and dependent children to get other concessions from state and local government authorities and private businesses. Actual eligibility for any state or local government or private concessions is at the discretion of the individual concession provider. We recommend cardholders discuss their concession status with any concession provider directly. A guide to concession cards 5

6 What concession cards are available? Pensioner Concession Card To get a Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) you must meet residence requirements. You must also be one of the following: assessed as being able to work part-time and receiving Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance (job seeker) or Parenting Payment a single principal carer of dependent children and receiving Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance (job seeker) receiving a pension such as Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Parenting Payment (Single), or Carer Payment, or 60 years of age or over and receiving one (or a combination) of the following payments continuously for at least nine months: Newstart Allowance Sickness Allowance Widow Allowance Parenting Payment (Partnered) Special Benefit, or Partner Allowance. 6 A guide to concession cards

7 People receiving Disability Support Pension and Wife Pension, or who have been assessed as having a partial capacity to work and receive Parenting Payment (Partnered), Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance can continue to use their PCC for up to 12 months if they stop receiving their payment due to employment. People receiving certain payments, including some older long-term income support recipients, can retain their PCC for 26 weeks after returning to work and losing eligibility for their payment. Single principal carers of dependent children receiving Parenting Payment (Single) or Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance (job seeker) can continue to use their PCC for up to 12 weeks after they stop getting paid because of a return to work or increase in their employment income. After this time they will then be given a Health Care Card (HCC) which will be valid for six months after their Centrelink payment stops. These provisions are designed to help people to make the transition from income support to work. The PCC is reissued automatically each year near your birthday, depending on your situation you are required to notify us of any change in your circumstances that may affect your eligibility for all PCCs see Leaving Australia (temporarily or permanently) and Tell us if things change on pages 25 and 26. A guide to concession cards 7

8 Health Care Card also incorporates the Foster Child Health Care Card, the ex Carer Allowance (child) Health Care Card and the Low Income Health Care Card To get a Health Care Card (HCC) you must meet residence requirements. You must also be receiving a qualifying payment from us, or be: getting the fortnightly maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A by instalment getting Carer Payment due to either episodic or short-term care a care receiver of a carer or parent getting Carer Allowance (child), or a Mobility Allowance customer who cannot get a Pensioner Concession Card (PCC). People who can get a HCC under these criteria will have their cards issued automatically every three to 12 months, depending on their circumstances. In some instances, you can still use your HCC for a short period after returning to work. This is to help people to make the transition from income support to work. This applies to long-term recipients of Newstart Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Partner Allowance, Special Benefit, Widow Allowance, Youth Allowance (job seeker) and Parenting Payment (Single). 8 A guide to concession cards

9 Assistance for foster children You can make a claim for a Foster Child HCC for a foster child you have in your care. This card is not subject to an income or assets test. To qualify for a Foster Child HCC, the foster child must: be in foster care be living in Australia with an Australian resident or a special category visa holder, and meet the requirements of a Family Tax Benefit (FTB) child for their age, or meet the Regular Child requirements. The foster carer needs to show that: they are an Australian resident or a special category visa holder the child is not their natural or adopted child, and the child is in their care. You do not need to be a formal foster carer for example, caring for a ward of the state. You can be any person caring for a child who is not their natural or adopted child. For example, a grandparent, a sibling who is an adult, or another relative. The Foster Child HCC is automatically reissued every six months, depending on your circumstances. Assistance for ex care recipients An ex Carer Allowance (child) HCC is available to people who are between 16 and 25 years of age, are full-time students and have a disability or medical condition that previously means that their carer could get Carer Allowance (child) on the day before the child turned 16. A claim is required for the ex Carer Allowance (child) HCC. This HCC is not automatically reissued. Cardholders must apply to renew their card every year. A renewal letter will be sent to cardholders. A guide to concession cards 9 humanservices.gov.au

10 Assistance for low income earners A Low Income HCC is available to people with income below set levels. The income test applies to average gross income for the eight weeks immediately prior to applying for or renewing the card. You don t have to do an assets test to get the low income HCC. The Low Income HCC is not automatically reissued. Cardholders must apply to renew their card every six months. A renewal form will be sent to cardholders. Recipients of Youth Allowance (student), Austudy and ABSTUDY may also be able to get this card. You are required to notify us of any change in your circumstances that may affect whether you can get all HCCs see Leaving Australia (temporarily or permanently) and Tell us if things change on pages 25 and A guide to concession cards

11 Commonwealth Seniors Health Card The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) is available to self-funded seniors who are not receiving a Human Services or Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) income support payment. You may get a CSHC if you: meet residence requirements are of age pension age provide you and your partner s Tax File Numbers or provide a valid reason why you cannot do so, and meet an annual adjusted taxable income test. There is no assets test. You do not need to be retired to get CSHC, but your income must be below the limits. For more information on the adjusted taxable test and limits for the CSHC, go to humanservices.gov.au/healthcarecard The CSHC is reissued automatically each year (depending on your circumstances). You are required to notify us of any change in your circumstances that may affect your eligibility for this card see Leaving Australia (temporarily or permanently) and Tell us if things change on pages 25 and 26. A guide to concession cards 11

12 If you meet the eligibility criteria, you may be able to get both concession cards 12 A guide to concession cards

13 Holders of a CSHC are entitled to the Seniors Supplement. For more information about Australian Government concessions available to CSHC cardholders see page 15. Dependants of CSHC holders cannot get concessions through the CSHC. If you have dependants and your income is below the limit, you may be able to get a Low Income Health Care Card. The Low Income Health Care Card offers the same pharmaceutical concessions as the CSHC and also covers your dependants. You may also receive other concessions from other providers that may not be available with the CSHC. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to get both concession cards. If you are caring for a child that is not your own (for example, your grandchild) you may be able to get a Foster Child HCC see Assistance for foster children on page 8. If your card is lost or stolen If your concession card is lost or stolen you can phone us to arrange a replacement card. As replacement cards cannot be issued over the counter, your new card will be mailed to you. If you have an urgent need for a concession card and cannot wait for your replacement card to arrive, you can obtain a Confirmation of Concession Card Entitlement at a Service Centre. A Confirmation of Concession Card Entitlement is a temporary card and is usually valid for two weeks. A Confirmation of Concession Card Entitlement can also be issued to a cardholder for the use of their children who are temporarily in the care of a non-custodial parent. Note: a Confirmation of Concession Card Entitlement may not be accepted for some transport concessions. A guide to concession cards 13

14 Who will appear on your card? Cards display the first name and surname of the cardholder and their partner (where applicable), and the first name only of any dependent children (where applicable). Customers can ask to have their concession card reissued without their partner s name included. However, in order for a customer to access concessions for their partner, they will need to present the concession card displaying their partner s details. As there are different types of cards available, who appears on the card differs from one card to another as follows: Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) and most Health Care Cards (HCCs) the cardholder, their partner and dependent children. Mobility Allowance HCC the cardholder only. Ex Carer Allowance (child) HCC the cardholder only. Carer Allowance and foster child HCCs the child only. The adult claimant is not listed, as these cards are for use solely by the child. Low Income Health Care Cards the cardholder, their partner and dependent children. Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) the cardholder only. 14 A guide to concession cards

15 What information will appear on your card? Customer Reference Number (CRN) is required in any dealings with us and with concession providers. Address can be residential, postal, term (students only), or temporary. The actual address displayed on the card is at the preference of the customer. Customers can ask that no address appear on their card, although this may cause the cardholder problems when attempting to claim concessions. Card start date is the date your card entitlement began. This may not be the same date that your payment began. If you left Australia temporarily before 1 July 2008, the card start date may have changed see Leaving Australia (temporarily or permanently) on page 25. Expiry date of the concession card. If you are on an income support payment, your new card will be issued before the to the expiry date. Concession cards from the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) also issue their own concession cards to eligible veterans, former Australian Defence Force members and their dependants. These DVA cards provide a range of benefits, including: health care pharmaceutical, and travel benefits. They also offer benfits at the state and territory level, which are provided by government organisations and private businesses. A guide to concession cards 15

16 These DVA cards are: Repatriation Health Card (Gold) for all medical conditions Repatriation Health Card (White) for specific medical conditions Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Card (Orange) Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) Victoria Free Travel Voucher New South Wales War Widow s/widower s Transport Concession Card (TC1). For more information about these Department of Veterans Affairs concession cards, go to dva.gov.au What Australian Government concessions do you get with your card? The following table is a guide to the types of concessions you can get with your card. Cardholders are generally eligible for the listed concessions in all instances. In some cases, partners and/or dependant children of Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) and Health Care Card (HCC) holders may also be eligible for concessions. (*) Indicates that the concession is also available to dependants of the cardholder. (#) Indicates that the concession may be available to dependants at the discretion of the concession provider. (SA) Indicates that the concession is only available to those HCC cardholders receiving Sickness Allowance. 16 A guide to concession cards

17 Concession type Prescription medicines listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme at the concession rate. Bulk-billed general practitioner appointments, at the discretion of the doctor. An increase in benefits for out-of-pocket, out-of-hospital medical expenses above a certain threshold through the Medicare Safety Net. Assistance with certain hearing services such as hearing tests and hearing aids. A discount on mail redirection through Australia Post. Eligible card type PCC*, HCC* and CSHC PCC#, HCC# and CSHC PCC*, HCC* and CSHC PCC* and HCC (SA)* PCC and HCC (SA) Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) and Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) holders are entitled to Australian Government concessions on Great Southern Rail (GSR) services. Information is available by phoning Great Southern Rail on These concessions are provided by the Australian Government, state government and GSR. State and territory concessions Concession cards may also entitle cardholders, their partners and dependent children to other concessions from state and local government authorities and private businesses. Not all card types will attract the same type of concessions and the concessions on offer to cardholders may also vary between states and territories. A guide to concession cards 17

18 Some state-based concessions may not be available to cardholders who are travelling through or temporarily living in another state. For further information in these cases, contact the individual concession providers directly prior to travelling. Actual eligibility for any state, local government or private concessions is at the discretion of the individual concession provider. We recommend cardholders discuss their concession status with any concession provider directly. Customers are advised to check the specific concessions available in their state or territory, and always enquire about concessions or discounts on any goods or services. Concessions may be available to certain cardholders in the following areas of state, territory and private services. Examples of concessions may include: Health dental hearing services home care optical, and ambulance Note: ambulance cover varies from state to state. We recommend cardholders contact the ambulance service in their state/territory to discuss what cover their card provides. If travelling interstate, cardholders should also contact the service in the areas they are travelling to, or through. Household council rates electricity/gas/water rates telephone line rental, and housing. 18 A guide to concession cards

19 Education school fee relief Technical and Further Education (TAFE) state government education allowances, and training programs. Transport taxi fares road transport registration fees drivers licence public transport fares, and regional rail travel concessions. For Western Australian, South Australian or Victorian residents, rail vouchers will be issued once a year with Pensioner Concession Cards (PCCs). Vouchers must be used when booking rail travel to claim a concession. All other states and territories have automated rail travel booking systems and do not need rail vouchers. Simply present your PCC to claim a concession. General entertainment, and shopping. State Seniors Card The State Seniors Card is a program that provides seniors with savings on recreational, health, business and state government benefits throughout Australia. The State Seniors Card is not administered by the Department of Human Services. It should not be confused with the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC), which is administered by this department. Our staff can only give customers general information on State Seniors Cards. A guide to concession cards 19

20 The State Seniors Card encourages seniors to be more active in the community and enhance their lifestyle choices. Some of the benefits are accessed through restaurants, travel agencies, clothing establishments and local businesses such as hairdressers and barbers. Most states issue directories, which are distributed directly to cardholders. These directories list participating businesses (not all businesses advertise in this directory). Anyone wishing to apply for a card must contact their state/territory government. State and territory concession information The following websites and phone numbers may be useful for information on concessions and services available in your state or territory. Australian Capital Territory Australian Capital Territory Government act.gov.au Canberra Connect concessions.act.gov.au Phone Department of Disability Housing and Community Services Phone Australian Capital Territory Seniors Card actseniorscard.org.au Phone (02) A guide to concession cards

21 New South Wales New South Wales Government nsw.gov.au Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care adhc.nsw.gov.au New South Wales Ministry of Transport transport nsw.gov.au Phone (02) New South Wales Seniors Card seniorscard.nsw.gov.au Seniors Hotline New South Wales Half Fare Transport Concession Scheme We administer this scheme on behalf of Transport New South Wales. The scheme covers all New South Wales State transport services, i.e. City Rail, Countrylink, State Transit buses and ferries and many local private bus services for eligible jobseekers. For more information about the scheme, please contact us or the New South Wales Ministry of Transport at transport.nsw.gov.au Northern Territory Northern Territory Government nt.gov.au Department of Health health.nt.gov.au/aged_and_ Disability/Senior_Territorians/Information_and_ Services Northern Territory Pensioner and Carer Concession Scheme health.nt.gov.au/aged_and_disability/ Subsidies/NT_Pencon_Scheme Phone Freecall Northern Territory Seniors Card health.nt.gov. au/aged_and_disability/senior_territorians/ Seniors_Card Phone Freecall A guide to concession cards 21

22 The State Seniors Card encourages seniors to be more active in the community and enhance their lifestyle choices 22 A guide to concession cards

23 Queensland Queensland Government qld.gov.au Phone Department of Community Services communityservices.qld.gov.au Phone or Freecall Queensland Seniors Card communities.qld.gov.au Phone South Australia South Australia Government sa.gov.au Department of Families and Communities dfc.sa.gov.au Phone Freecall Seniors Information Service sa.gov.au/subject/seniors Phone Freecall Tasmania Tasmania Government tas.gov.au Department of Premier and Cabinet concessions.tas.gov.au Phone Seniors Card concessions.tas.gov.au/concessions Phone Victoria Victoria Government vic.gov.au Department of Human Services dhs.vic.gov.au Phone Freecall Victoria Seniors Card seniorsonline.vic.gov.au Phone A guide to concession cards 23

24 Western Australia Western Australia Government wa.gov.au Department for Communities communities.wa.gov.au Phone (08) Western Australia Seniors Card communities.wa.gov.au Phone Freecall Confirming your eligibility for concessions Each concession provider has the right to request information to confirm your entitlement to a concession. This confirmation can be a simple presentation of the concession card and possibly some supporting documentation, such as a drivers licence. Pharmacists may be able to confirm your concession entitlement electronically with us. With your consent, other concession providers may also be able to confirm your concession entitlement electronically with us through Confirmation eservices. In some situations we can confirm other limited information that is necessary to establish your entitlement to a concession, such as length of time on payment. The service saves you time and is completely secure. Only the department and the organisation you authorise will be able to see your details. Note: it is at the concession provider s discretion to decide whether to give you a concession without being able to confirm your details. 24 A guide to concession cards

25 Pharmacists may be able to electronically confirm your concession entitlement electronically with us A guide to concession cards 25

26 Leaving Australia (temporarily or permanently) To qualify for a concession card you must meet the Australian residence requirements. This means that if you leave Australia permanently your concession card will be cancelled from the date of your departure. If you temporarily depart Australia for up to 13 weeks your concession card may not be cancelled immediately. If you hold a Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) or Health Care Card (HCC) and you retain entitlement to your payment during your overseas absence, your card will not be cancelled unless you have been overseas for more than 13 weeks. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) may advise us if you leave Australia. The information we receive from DIAC may automatically affect your entitlements if you leave Australia. If your HCC or PCC is cancelled and you return to Australia your card will be given to you automatically on your return if you are still able to get your payment. If you hold a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) or a Low Income HCC and temporarily depart Australia, then as long as you have continuing qualification for our card, it will not be cancelled unless you have been overseas for more than 13 weeks. Holders of a CSHC and a Low Income HCC whose card is cancelled will be required to reclaim their cards once they have returned to Australia. If you hold a Foster Child Health Care Card or an ex-carer Allowance (child) Health Care Card, your card will remain current for temporary absences, regardless of the duration. You are required to advise us, prior to departure, of any plans to leave Australia either temporarily or permanently. We will advise you what will happen to your card when you leave Australia. Note: information from DIAC may be used in assessing claims and can be used to assess future entitlements. 26 A guide to concession cards

27 Tell us if things change For example, you must tell us if: your contact details change, including your address or telephone number your family situation changes such as separation from your partner, starting to live with someone as their partner or a new child your financial situation changes, including income from employment or changes in your assets or income you start receiving a payment from the Department of Veterans Affairs you stop being a full-time student you plan to leave Australia, including holidays (as this may affect any family members covered by your card), or you are imprisoned (for example gaol, psychiatric confinement). Concession cards must not be used after their expiry date or if we have advised you the card has been cancelled. Cards cannot be transferred to another person. A guide to concession cards 27

28 How to find out more Youth and Students ABSTUDY Older Australians Employment Services Parent and families Disabilities, Sickness and Carers Farmers Assistance Freecall Indigenous Call Centre Financial Information Seminar Booking Service To speak to us in languages other than English Customer Relations Line Freecall (for complaints, compliments and suggestions) Australian Government Services Fraud Tip-off Line TTY Service Freecall *TTY is only for people who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment. A TTY phone is required to use this service. Go to our website at humanservices.gov.au Note: calls from your home phone to 13 numbers from anywhere in Australia are charged at a fixed rate. That rate may vary from the price of a local call and may also vary between telephone service providers. Calls to 1800 numbers from your home phone are free. Calls from public and mobile phones may be timed and charged at a higher rate. 28 A guide to concession cards

29 Disclaimer The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to concessions available. What are your responsibilities? It is your responsibility to decide if you wish to apply for a payment or concession card and to make the application, having regard to your particular circumstances. The information in this publication is accurate as at April 2012, but may of course change. If you use this publication after that date, please check with us that the details are up-to-date. From what date are benefits payable? Most government payments and concession cards start from, or after, the date on which the application is made. So the sooner you lodge your application, the quicker you may be paid or receive your concession card. What if you deal with a third party? You may deal with a third party who is not a member of our staff. If you do so, please remember that we have not authorised any third parties to provide information or advice to you about payments or concession cards. Important note: while all care is taken in preparation of information and material in this publication, no responsibility can be taken for any change in the personal circumstances of any person acting on information presented here. You are advised to contact a Service Centre for full details of any entitlements and services for which you may be eligible, or of how any pending changes in legislation, programs or services affect you. A guide to concession cards 29

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32 On 1 July 2011 Medicare Australia, Centrelink, Child Support Agency, the Family Assistance Office and CRS Australia became the Australian Government Department of Human Services. The department now provides their payments and services. You will see changes to our signage, websites, phone messages, references and logos on our correspondence as we change over to the new department. Learn more at humanservices.gov.au CO

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