Complete list of Things you can use your Australian Health Care/Pension Concession/Senior Cards for

What Discounts and Help can you get with a Pension or Health Care Card in Australia?

Each state in Australia has different concessions based on the type of card you have and it is not determined by Centrelink, it is at the discretion of local providers. It always pays to ask!

The PBS is about the only consistent discount, where concession card holders are 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 can make it tricky to know what you are entitled to. 

Low income or healthcare cards do not get as many discounts or benefits as pension cards. But always ask and outline your circumstances!

This post covers anything I have found and includes a few affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure for that here.

A Few Immediate Bonuses

These are not specific to your concession card but may help:

Free Cash

ING has $100 for new customers. using the code CNW116. Full details here. Raiz offers $5, Swagbucks has $10 and Up Bank $5 (this one is almost instant when you download the app and sign up to fee-free banking). Check them and more out here

Freebies

We created a full list of Australian freebies, sign up bonuses and discounts here. It has everything from transport to food, stationery to toys and more.

Discounts

If you want to try meal delivery options, EveryPlate offers 40% off your first box and HelloFresh offers $50 off here

The Ultimate Guide to Make and Save Money at Home

In this guide, I cover everything from ideas to make money at home, how to set up a business for under $100, what you can claim on tax, my top frugal tips for every area of the budget, how to create a budget and stick to it, over 100 frugal recipes plus tips on balancing it all, finding the time and ways to entertain the kids. Find The Ultimate Guide to Make and Save Money at Home here.

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    Side note: This post was originally written in 2013, on KylieOfiu.Com, much has changed and while we try to keep it updated, things change frequently.

    Medical Discounts for Concession Cards

    All Australian concession cards entitle you to a discount on health care and prescriptions. This includes ambulance fees in most states. You will be sent the bill then you ring with your details and it will be taken care of.
    Optical discounts such as subsidised glasses.
    Free hearing tests at certain locations.
    Bulk billed doctors and dental work.
    For children, check your eligibility for the $1,000 dental scheme for each child.
    Ask your local health care providers or check with a pharmacist as they often know the options available in your local area.

    Discounted Electricity, Land and Water Rates

    Discounts on electricity, land rates and water rates for all concession cards, even low-income health care cards, are available in some states. You will need to check with your local council, electricity provider and water board.
    It is not automatically entered into the system, you need to call and inform them or let them know when you sign up with them. Some electricity companies and councils also offer an energy audit to help with reducing the cost of electricity by offering tips, light bulbs, power boards, draft stoppers and other products.

    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 plus there is a School Fees Allowance for children 15 years and under, usually paid directly to the school.

    On top of this, depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for an extra payment from Centrelink for studying, for example:
    Education Entry Payment (which may be changing in 2017/2018)
    Pensioner Education Supplement (which may change in 2017/2018)
    Payments for students and trainees

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      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, although some of those concessions apply only to seniors, people on disability or veterans, not single parents or low incomes.

      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. As soon as you are on the pension, go into the registration office and update your details to have this applied.
      Drivers licences are free in some states, as are licence renewals but not the actual driving 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. You can find one program from NAB here.
      Interest-free loans are available for certain items such as white goods or furniture usually through charities. You can find information about NILS here.

      Rubbish Removal

      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.

      Pension Day

      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.

      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?

      More Ways to Save Money

      Check out these articles too:
      50 ways to live for free
      How to stick to a budget as a single mum or single income family
      What to do when you are newly single
      How to reducce your 3 biggest expenses
      7 tips to manage finances when you have mental health issues
      Where are the best Aussie giveaways and competitions?
      How we cleared $90,000 worth of debt in 12 months (they started off unemployed)
      43 ways for single mums to make money (or anyone who wants flexible income options)
      12 ways to get coupons and discounts in Australia

      Check out our complete list of freebies here or Australian birthday freebies here. Join The Thrifty Issue Facebook Group to discuss more ways to make and save money!

      Ways to Make Money on Centrelink

      Given the interest in this article, I have added below things you can do to make money on the side, even if on Centrelink. Remember to be transparent about your income with Centrelink otherwise if you are overpaid, you will have to pay it back.

      Online Surveys – $2,000+ per year

      Online surveys won’t make you rich and if they are the only thing you do with Centrelink payments, the amount won’t change your payments. Most readers make $2,000 to $5,000 per year with the following:

      SwagbucksGet $10 when you sign up to Swagbucks for free, complete your profile and use them to get cashback on an online purchase. Read my free guide to Swagbucks so you can make more!

      PrizeRebel – Pays in USD, is free to join but not as many surveys as Swagbucks. Join PrizeRebel here.

      I have a full list of online survey sites for Aussies you can read.

      Get Cash Back

      Cashback sites are easy to use. My favourite four are Cash RewardsHoneyShopback and Swag Bucks. Basically, you join then add the extension to Chrome and download the ap. Then, whenever you shop online it will pop up with how much you can get back. If you shop a lot, you’ll get more back. I have more cash back sites here.

      Rent Your Space Out

      Got a spare garage? You can rent it to others for storage, to have their special car or anything else. I rented mine to another mum in business who needed sewing space for $50 a week back in 2013. You can list your garage, storage cage or other space on Spacer or try Gumtree.

      Carparks and driveways are other options. They can be used to store boats and caravans or if you live somewhere parking is expensive, you can rent it to office workers. Recent places I have lived it’s been $50 to $100 a week for a car space.

      Fiverr

      Sign up to Fiverr and offer something such as creating videos, graphics, voiceover work or anything else you can do. It’s that simple and no, you don’t have to only charge $5 though that is how Fiverr originally started.

      You can choose how much you charge and upsell other services to make more money. This dad made almost $1,000,000 in a few years and this woman made over $1,000,000 in 6 years on Fiverr. What started as a side gig for both resulted in them being able to quit their jobs.

      Side Gigs

      There are a lot of things you can do on the side to make money such as buy things to resell, freelance writing, tasks on Airtasker etc. Read how to make an extra $20,000 this year or how I made $33,277.57 on the side one year.

      We live in unique times, so while not everything in the articles I have linked to will be possible right now, there is a lot which can help.

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        48 Comments

        1. Hi Kylie,
          I was just wondering if you’ve also heard of the ‘Savers Plus’ program offered via Brotherhood of St Lawrence? http://www.bsl.org.au/Saver-Plus
          One of the conditions of application is that you’re a concession card holder. I used the program to help start up an education savings fund, which paid out 100% increase at the end of 10mths towards the children’s education expenses. Well worth checking out if you’re eligible.
          🙂
          Catherine

        2. Because of my inbetween job/going full time to part time I’ve just become eligible for a health care card & was wondering what they could be used for! Great timing to find this. Sadly in QLD it doesn’t entitle you to concession public transport, which would be the most useful additional benefit for me.

          • That’s unfortunate they don’t offer that. I do wish it we had the same concessions for all states instead of it varying so much.

        3. Hi Kylie,
          I tried getting remimbursed for my car registration using my Health Care Card and VicRoads wouldn’t do it. I paid my car rego about a week prior to receiving my Health Car Card.
          Just wondering where you got your info from? Perhaps it doesn’t apply in Victoria?
          Thanks
          Jean

        4. Hi Kylie, My niece is in Melbourne visiting her Grandmother. She has a Western Australia Health Care Card as she is at Uni . She was using public transport today. When purchasing her ticket she asked if they accepted the WA healthcare card. Ticket person said yes. On the train an Inspector said she couldn’t and would be fined. He said the ticket person was incorrect. She is going to get a $275. fine and it will be a court case.
          So does that mean Melbourne don’t accept WA Health Cards. It doesn’t seem fair when she was tring to do the right thing.
          Can you help us on this Kylie Please.
          Thankyou.
          Joy

          • Hi Joy,

            I have heard of some states not accepting other states student id’s, but not health care cards. I would look into objecting it, as she does have a concession, did ask the ticket person and was trying to do the right thing. Good luck. How awful.

        5. Pensioners in n.s.w. do not pay car rego (apart fro the CTP) why did I have to pay rego in queensland. Same for water rates, in nsw discount is $150, why $30 in queensland?

        6. As far as NSW Car rego, if a couple own two cars and both hold a pensioner concession card each, are they allowed to get free NSW rego on both vehicles? Thanks.

          • Dave, you would need to double check with the RTA. If you own your car and your partner owns there, presumably you should both be eligible for concessions on your respective cars and I can’t find any information online to the contrary. It might help to go in separately/pay them individually as each Centrelink reference number will be applied individually, but I have known of others having issues when doing things together vs going in separately. It came down to the person on the desk knowing what to do. Good luck and if you can, let us know how you go with it please? Thank you!

          • Check with your local optometrist. Otherwise, I highly recommend asking for your prescription including the pupillary distance (commonly known as PD) and ordering your glasses online. If you go to stores that offer ‘two for $199″ or similar deals, their glasses are exactly the same as glasses from places like Zenni Optical. I have been purchasing my glasses online for 5 years now at around $10 to $30 each, I have had them checked and they are exactly what I used to pay $500 for. I’ll do a post about it soon.

        7. Hi Kylie. We have moved from the UK to ACT, we got here at the end of August. I have received a health care card today and obviously have no idea about any of the concessions. We paid for our car rego, would we be able to get this back and whom would I go to and ask? In regards to public transport, is there a concession in the ACT for that as I have been using a my way card up until now. Again, who would I go too to find out that info? With the bills, I’m gathering I would need to speak to the electricity and gas people separately. Any help would be great.

          Thank you
          Kiran

        8. I truely dont understand why each state is different, the federal government manage centerlink payments, or am I a bit dumb on where the money comes from. I also dont get it that home owners assets test limit is lower than non home owners, we had to endured the high interest rates of the eighties where a lot of people just walked away because it was just too damn hard. We went without holidays, dinners out etc ect just to hold onto our property, I was granted a part disability pension about a year ago now and because my husband’s superannuation and the bit we have saved is just over the limit my part pension has been stopped. There is absolutely no incentive in this country to save for a rainy day, renters dont pay rates, they dont have to maintain a property and all the expense that goes with it, I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY I’M BEING PENALIZED. The $200 a fortnight was a big help in paying for my medications. I usually don’t write on public forums but I’m annoyed, if an eighteen year old can walk out of school having put nothing into the system and get payments something is wrong with this country.

          • Hi Veronica, it is frustrating that each state is different. Centrelink payments come from the federal government, however the concessions and businesses or government organisations invloved with those concessions are not run by the federal government, hence the differences. Registration, transport etc are done on a state level. Electrcity etc have different taxes, exemptions and rates in each state and aren’t government owned.

            It is difficult too, with the home owner vs renting and payments given as a result. I never understood why that is, as it is still a huge cost of living and I know many owners who after working hard their whole lives end up losing their home or living in poverty, they would have been better renting at that point.

            And I am sorry to hear about your payments being cut off. There is no incentive to save or improve when it is made this difficult. I hope it can be sorted for you quickly. Always appeal decisions.

        9. Hi I am trying to find information on concessions available on Commonwealth Seniors Health Cards in NSW.
          It would appear that different utilities ( electricity, water etc) and different councils also have different rules!
          Could you tell me if concessions apply on car registration costs.?
          Many thanks
          Christine

        10. Hi I am on a pension card have recently move from another state to nsw my car rego was renewed before I moved am I untitled to a refund on rego

        11. I no this is an old thread but heres hoping ill get a response still.
          I recently put 12 months nsw rego on my car
          But i just recieved my pension n pension card.
          Can i claim money back on it.

          And what steps to do so.
          Thankyou

          • You just ring the transport department who can do most things online or over the phone there are a couple of forms to fill in once then it’s all done and you probably will get a discount but I didn’t when I got my senior card as it became part of my life the day I applied for the concession regarding der registration hope that helps anyone

          • Hi Jennifer, no, they only accept pensioner or senior cards for concession. Check Groupon though, as they often have great deals for the theme parks.

        12. Hi
          I only just found out today that I can get free rego in NSW on the single parent pension . I paid a couple of months ago ( without knowing )
          Would I be eligible for a refund ??
          Do I just go in to the RTA ??
          Thanks for your help 🙂

          • You could try. My ex mother in law got a refund a few years back by going into the RTA with her pension card.

        13. Just renewed my rego, with pensioners rate over $600 for a year in South Australia, I’d like to know how other states can get it for free.

          • Generally, the rego aspect is free but the greenslip is still payable, so $600 would be about right in most states.

        14. Thought I’d add something.
          The NSW Dept of Environment & Heritage have an appliance replacement offer for people with certain concession cards.
          This will give you up to 40% off the price of selected fridges and up to 50% off the price of selected televisions.
          It’s a scheme to replace older appliances with newer energy efficient appliances and help the people on these concessions to lower their electricity bills.
          I replaced a fridge under the scheme a few weeks ago and it’s absolutely worth it.

          The scheme is here: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/households/appliance-replacement-offer.htm

          “To receive this offer you must:

          — be a NSW resident
          — hold one of the following:

          — Pensioner Concession Card
          — Health Care Card or Low Income Health Care Card from Centrelink
          — Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card
          — own a fridge 6 years old, or older, and want to replace it
          — own a plasma or cathode ray tube (CRT) television and want to replace it
          Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders are not eligible for this offer.”

        15. I have always had the disability pension card and just recently got my seniors card I didn’t think you could get your car registration free in Queensland I have always paid the full amount. I get a concession on there is that what you are talking about. ?

        16. Just found this page and am astounded by the concessions I could have claimed.
          As pensioners we manage ok but are by no means rich. Keep this information coming.
          Many thanks, Andy.

        17. My husband needs to see an Opthomoligist, each visit is $200 plus, we cannot afford this, is there any kind of assistance for this kind of service?

          • Hi Terry, for most specialists, it is at their discretion whether they offer a discount or not. You would need to ask them directly.

        18. Hi, We have moved from the NSW to SA. I got my car registry done on Thursday and received my pension concessions card on Friday. We paid for our car rego, would we be able to get this back and whom would I go to and ask? Also what sort of concession do I get when I buy general medicines? Do I get discounts them as well or just prescription medicine? Any help would be great.

          Thank you

          • Hi Sheeba, you would need to check with registration in SA to see if you would get anything back. As for concession on medicines, it is only prescription. Thanks

        19. Hi,
          I have received my health care card two months ago and its valid until 2021.Now recently I have started a part time job. Am I still would be able to get concession by using it? Any feedback would be appreciated.
          Thanks

          • It would depend on how much you make and if you are still eligible. You would need to check with Centrelink. Congratulations on the job though! Not easy at this time so that’s fantastic 🙂

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