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Are there benefits beyond the Age Pension?

March 2nd, 2021

In Australia, we enjoy the safety net of the Age Pension to help us pay our way in retirement.

But what other concessions could you be entitled to if you are on the Age Pension, or of qualifying age?

We take a closer look at what’s available for the older generations.

Pensioner Concession Health Card

If you are on the Age Pension, this card will be sent to you automatically without any need to apply. It offers a range of benefits, including:

  • cheaper medicine under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
  • bulk billed doctor visits (this depends on your doctor)
  • more money back for medical costs when you reach the Medicare Safety Net (this is where, if you have high medical costs and spend over a certain amount each year, you’ll receive more back for things like seeing a specialist or having scans and tests)
  • help with hearing services, and
  • discounts when you redirect your mail through Australia Post.

Holding this card may even entitle you to further benefits and discounts at a state or territory level.  For example, lower utility bills, discounted public transport fares, reduced vehicle registration, and more.

Find out what Government concessions apply to your state or territory.

Additional payments

On top of the Age Pension, you may be eligible for other payments. Some you need to apply for, others are paid automatically.

For example, when the Government made economic support payments to concession card holders during the COVID-19 pandemic, these were assessed and paid directly into pensioners’ bank accounts. While those payments were out of the ordinary, there are ongoing payments you could benefit from, such as:

  • the Pension Supplement, which is an extra payment to help with internet, phone, utility and medicine costs
  • the Work Bonus, where eligible pensioners can earn up to $300 per fortnight before it starts reducing your Age Pension payments
  • rent assistance if you are renting and on the Age Pension
  • advance payment of the Age Pension, to be paid back later (you’ll need to apply for this one and meet the rules and eligibility criteria).

For a comprehensive list, visit Services Australia’s page on Payments, concessions and support.

What if you can’t get the Age Pension?

There are still some options here, including but not limited to:

  • the Pension Loans Scheme, where you receive a voluntary non-taxable fortnightly loan payment and costs plus interest has to be paid back
  • the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, for cheaper health care and discounts as long as you’ve reached Age Pension age and met other conditions
  • a Special Benefit, if you’re suffering severe financial hardship and not eligible for any other income support.

Some of the “additional payments” above may also be available on their own.

Next steps

Use the Payment and Service Finder to see what payments and support services you may be eligible for.

You can also speak to First Super’s Financial Advice Team, who can help you maximise your entitlements if you are planning to or have recently retired.