The Australian Government provides a range of income support payments and other benefits to assist Australians. Most of these entitlements are administered, and usually paid fortnightly into the person's nominated bank account, by Centrelink, an Australian Government agency.
Other agencies such as the Department Veterans Affairs, may pay entitlements to members and former members, and their families, of the defence forces.
Most government entitlements may be reduced by a Means Test – whereby the assets and income are taken into account in deciding if you are entitled to a benefit and how much that benefit will be.
The definitions of Income and Assets used under the government Means Test are complex and professional financial advice is recommended.
There are a variety of pensions, allowances, payments and concession cards provided by Centrelink.
The Age Pension is a government payment with the purpose of ensuring people who have attained retirement age have an adequate level of income.
Payments under the Age Pension are for men aged 65 and over and for women aged 63 and over, dependent on their date of birth. The age for women is increased half a year every 18 months.
Obtaining the Age Pension allows you to access the valuable Pensioner Concession Card that provides discounted pharmaceutical and other utilities.
The Pensioner Concession Card is automatically issued if you receive a Centrelink pension, Mature Age Allowance, Carer Payment and, if aged over 60 and receiving payments for more than nine (9) months, and several other allowances and payments.
The Pensioner Concession Card may entitle the recipient to a range of discounts on expenditures such as telephone, electricity, council rates and car registration. In addition, the card entitles the recipient to reduced cost of prescription medicines listed under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is designed to reduce the cost of prescription medicines for those people who have reached Age Pension age, but do not qualify for the Age Pension. The card will enable the recipient to reduced cost prescription medicines listed under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
The Health Care Card is automatically provided to people receiving specific (but not all) Centrelink payments or allowances where the Pensioner Concession Card is not automatically issued. Where not automatically issued, eligible persons receiving payments must apply for the card.
The Low Income Earners Health Care Card entitles the recipient to reduced cost of prescription medicines listed under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. as well as a limited number of other concessions.
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