The federal government has introduced a wide range of stimulus measures in the aftermath of COVID-19, but one group that appears to be overlooked is self-funded retirees. However, if they know the way the system works, there is still one strategy that may be well worth pursuing. That is to apply for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC).
The criteria are simple. You must be of age pension age but not eligible to claim an age pension, and you must pass an income test. There is no asset test. The income test is $55,808 per annum for a single and $89,290 per annum combined for a couple. Thanks to the changes in the deeming rates, a couple with almost $4 million in financial assets could be eligible for the CSHC and all the benefits that go with it. These are the amounts you can have across all your financial assets, such as superannuation, bank accounts, shares, and managed funds.
The obvious question is whether the CSHC is worth having. It varies somewhat from state to state, but one benefit to all holders is that medicines listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) are supplied at the concessional rate. Once you reach the PBS safety net, you will usually be supplied further PBS prescriptions without charge for the remainder of the calendar year. It may also be possible to save on your medical consultations, if your doctors are happy to bulk bill. Also, depending on where you live, there could be a regional travel card and rebate on your energy costs.
It’s been a tough year for retirees, with dividends slashed or suspended, stock markets around the world up and down, and rents vanishing if you are a landlord. This is why any assistance you can get is worth going for. Depending on your situation, the CSHC could be worth over $6,000 to you.
Please note this article provides general advice only and has not taken your personal, business or financial circumstances into consideration. If you would like more tailored advice, please contact us today.