What counts as income for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card?

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Vicki wants to know if she and her husband are eligible for the CSHC but doesn’t know how their payments from their superannuation funds are assessed.


Q. Vicki
Both my husband and I are 67 years old, retired and receive fortnightly payments from our superannuation funds. What we would like to know is if we would be eligible to apply for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) and what constitutes income in this instance when we submit our application. We also have income from an investment property of approximately $15,000 each and no other forms of income. Are we going to qualify for the CSHC as we are not registered for any other payments from Centrelink?

A. The income test for the CSHC will look at both your adjusted taxable income and a deemed amount from account-based income streams.

Account-based income streams include account-based pensions and account-based annuities. The balance of an account-based income stream is subject to deeming.

Deeming assumes that financial investments are earning a certain rate of income.

The income deemed by Centrelink to be received from financial assets is then added to income that you may receive by any other means, in this case your investment property.

Taxable income is your gross income minus allowable deductions. It’s the income you have to pay tax on. It includes income from your investment property.

Income under the tax-free threshold still counts as taxable income.

To pass the income test, you must earn no more than the following:

  • $55,808 a year if you’re single
  • $89,290 a year for couples
  • $111,616 a year for couples separated by illness, respite care or prison.

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Disclaimer: All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer, financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.

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Written by Ben


Total Comments: 12
  1. 0

    Do you have to apply for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, or is it issued automatically by Centrelink?

  2. 0

    I realise this is outside the context of this forum however was wondering if anyone had any experience applying for the $5000- Qld govt, so called Senior’s and Accessibility renovations program. It ostensibly “will support works of up to $5,000 for safety, repairs, maintenance, and security works.
    See here

    • 0

      johnp – yes, I applied for it. Applications have closed (I THINK they closed around end of July). And quite simply, it is really a bit of a shimozzle. I rang and applied for it 8 weeks ago, and after going through the required questions, was told – yes, you are eligible. I was then told my local coordinator (for the scheme) would contact me within 2 weeks to arange someone to come out to discuss requirements. I have still not heard anything.
      So last week I spent considerable time on the phone following this up. NOW I am told that my local area looking after this grant, will contact me to tell me if I qualify. Seems that each area is given a certain amount of money, and when that money runs out – tough for those still on the list. Not each area gets the same amount of money.

    • 0

      I have had similar experience. An email I received basically said as follows

      Thank you for your enquiry about the Seniors and Accessibility Assistance initiative. We received an overwhelming response and applications have now closed. You will be contacted in relation to the outcome of your enquiry.
      If you would like to be notified of any similar initiatives in the future, please reply to this message: YES.
      For more info go to
      So of course I replied with YES.
      I believe the nature of this initiative is in my opinion quite misleading and bordering on fraudulent.

    • 0

      John – Yes, got the same email and think the same about this scheme as you. I suppose it’s another scheme with an amount allocated, but most of the money will be chewed up by ‘admin fees’.
      I’d really like to know how many people actually get this grant, as opposed to those who applied.

    • 0

      Someone I know wrote to their local member about this issue. Do not think they have had a response so far.
      It is unconscionable for a govt to announce and chest thump about giving such largesse, when in reality it is only available to a very small minority who apply right at the beginning.

  3. 0

    With the lower deeming rates (0.25% on first 88 k and 2.25% thereafter), which includes super balances, it is also worth investigating getting the Lower Income Health Care Card as, usually, more state/ territory discounts than the Comm Seniors card. ($985 pw for couples to initally get the card).

    • 0

      Good advice, Garyand. Had one of those before adjusting all my affairs at 65 when I applied for a part pension. Cheaper prescriptions, electricity discounts. My council did not recognise it though for a rate reductions. Was told some councils do.

  4. 0

    Our 35 y.o. Hot water system failed
    Called for quotes and also Home Assist to see if they could assist
    They said they could, but only one plumber in our area could be used
    That plumber would only install electric unit
    On financial grounda, we accepted their help and new unit installed at ground level at a cost to Home Assist for $4,400. They would not remove old unit from roof.
    (Solarhart had quoted $4,800 t0 replace solar unit on our roof)
    We are thankful that we do have hot water, but would have preferred solar and would have paid difference if we could.

    • 0

      Seems very high to me. We had our electric water heater replaced, was 27 years old which was a good age according to the plumber. All up he charged me $1750 with removal of the old unit. Good to have some cash for jobs like that, he did not want a card payment for that price. The ATM was not too far away from the house.



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