Because of changes in the deeming rates, which came into effect last month, a couple with almost $4 million in financial assets could still be eligible for the CSHC and all the benefits that go with it.
The easy way to check if you qualify is to go to my website noelwhittaker.com.au and use the Deeming Calculator.
There, you will discover that assets of $2.5 million for a single person will provide a deemed income of $55,214 a year, which is just under the cut-off point, and for a couple it is just on $4 million. These are the amounts you can have across all your financial assets, such as superannuation, bank accounts, shares and managed funds.
So, is 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 a 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 doctor is happy to bulk bill. And, depending on where you live, there could be a regional travel card and a rebate on your energy costs.
The cream on the cake is that applicants who receive the card before July 10 will receive a one-off $750 stimulus payment.
If the economy tanks in October – as many economists are predicting due to the planned cut-off of JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments and all the loan repayment holidays – there may well be more stimulus payments.
National Seniors chief advocate Ian Henschke said this week: “The deeming rate is still too high but it’s so great to see it’s helping people.
“Some who couldn’t get a part pension might be eligible and others will now be able to get a CSHC and a bit of cash. I urge them to go online and apply.”
It’s been a tough year for retirees, with dividends slashed or suspended, stock markets around the world plunging, and rents vanishing, if you are a landlord. Any assistance you can get is well worth the time spent in making an application.
Depending on your situation, the CSHC could be worth more than $6000. Check your eligibility without delay.
For further information, visit the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card section of the Services Australia website.