What help such as discounts can you get with a pension or health care card in Australia?
Instead of concessions being consistent Australia wide, each state has different concessions based on the type of card you have and it is not determined by Centrelink, rather it is at the discretion of local providers. The PBS is about the only consistent discount across the country with everyone who has a consession card whether it be a pension card, health care card, senior card or DVA card entitled to a discount on medicine.
All other potential discounts on services such as transport, electricity and rates are decided by the local providers and governments in each state which is why it can differ so much.
I have attempted to compile a complete list of all concessions I know of for people who have a pension, healthcare, seniors or DVA card with links for each state at the end of the post for you to check for yourself what you can get in your local area. Remember, it pays to ask your providers if they will offer a concession based on your circumstances. They might not always have a program in place to give concessions for you but they might be able to reduce your fees, give you a different discount or find a better plan for you. Never be afraid to ask for a discount or better deal. Also, look for ways to make more money if you can and shop around for deals. Some of my posts like 31 ways to save over $200 plus ways to make money, 10 ways to make $1,000 in a month and the top Australian online survey sites might help you and lastly, I have a free pdf you can download and share with 51 ways to make money from home.
Side note: This post was originally written in 2013, on KylieOfiu.Com, much has changed and while we try to keep it updated, there were significant changes early 2017, which are yet to be addressed here.
Medical discounts for concession cards
As mentioned, all Australian concession cards entitle you to a discount on health care and prescriptions. This includes ambulance, optical such as subsidised glasses, free hearing tests and dental work. The discount is relatively small sometimes and not all prescriptions are included, but the majority are. Also, if you have kids, check your eligibility for the $1,000 dental scheme for each child.
Discounted electricity, land rates for home owners and water rates
Some states offer a discount on electricity, land rates and water rates for all concession cards, even low-income health care cards. It is not automatically entered into the system, you need to call and inform them.
You might also be eligible for a clean energy supplement from the government plus an energy audit. In some states the energy audit is government run, in other states energy providers offer it. The audits generally include advice on how to save money on your energy bills, power boards, energy saving light bulbs and sometimes adapters, vouchers or draft stoppers, all of which help you save money on your bills.
Education discounts and payments for concession card holders
Fees at Tafe (CIT for Canberra) can be halved for eligible cards and courses. Apprentices and trainees are eligible for health care cards but not for half price course fees. Some preschools, primary and high schools offer discounted fees for pensioners if you ask.
On top of this, depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for an extra payment from Centrelink for studying.
Movies and entertainment discounts
Most movie theatres will offer discounted tickets to all concession cards, but I found years ago that with the health care card it depended on who was on the counter.
Almost all shows, attractions and events have concession rates as well. Not all of them include the parenting pension concession card or the healthcare card though, so check the fine print.
Free and discounted travel
Public transport can be used at a discounted rate for most states on all cards, some states health care cards alone are entitled to discounted transport. You are also entitled to 4 free train trips within your state to the border. You pay a booking fee still and if going past the border you pay the concession rate for the remainder of your trip in whichever states you travel.
Mail redirection and stamps
You are eligible for a reduced rate on mail redirection but only if the redirection is from a home address to home address, not PO Boxes. Australia Post also offers discounted stamps for concession card holders. You get 5 free stamps and up to 50 discounted stamps at a rate of 60 cents instead of $1, purchased in books of 5 for $3.
Registration and licences
Car registration is waived in most states with only the compulsory third party needing to be paid. It doesn’t matter when you start on the pension either. For example, if you have paid 12 months registration then after 6 months end up on the pension, you can either go in and get a 6 months refund right away or when you go to renew if you are still on the pension you will get the previous 6 months refunded then.
Drivers licences are free in some states, as are licence renewals but not the actual drivers test.
Pet registration is heavily discounted as well.
Banking for concession card holders
Numerous fee free banking options are available for holders of various concession cards. Just ask the banks, some even offer free money sessions to help you sort your finances. You can read about Catherine’s experience here.
Bonus saving accounts are offered for either those who save a certain amount it will be matched by the bank or those who get a loan, repay it and then apply for a saver account and save a certain amount will have it matched by the bank. Usually $500.
Interest-free loans are available for certain items such as white goods or furniture usually through charities.
Some states or territories such as the ACT offer free rubbish removal to pension card holders. Some councils offer free pick ups as well for everyone.
Many hairdressers, some supermarkets, chemists, mechanics and other places that offer a service have a pension discount day. It is up to the provider if the discount only applies to seniors, veterans or all card holders.
Check the discounts you are eligible for with your pension, senior, DVA or healthcare card below:
The total value of any of these concession cards has been placed at tens of thousands of dollars. The discounts can be significant. The reduced prescriptions and doctors appointments, free registration, reduced public transport and discounted energy rates are worth thousands on their own.
Do you have a concession card? What do you use it for? Have you ever added up how much money it saves you?
You might also like this complete list of Australian VIP/loyalty/reward cards which shows places that offer sign up bonuses, birthday discounts as well as the buy 5 get your 6th free type deals. Every little bit helps!