What help such as discounts 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, rather it is at the discretion of local providers.
The PBS is about the only consistent discount, where concession card holders (those who have a pension card, health care card, senior card or DVA card) 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. Often, you will need to ask your local providers, local council and anywhere you are seeking a discount from if they provide anything for your specific card in your state.
Here is a list of all concessions we have found for pension, healthcare, seniors or DVA card with links for each state at the end of the post for you to check your local area. Low income or healthcare cards do not get as many discounts or benefits as pension cards.
While you may not be eligible for all the discounts listed here, it pays to ask your providers if they will offer a concession based on your circumstances.
Some providers will reduce your fees, change your plan for a cheaper one, give a one-off discount or assist in other ways. The worst they can do is say no, which leaves you no worse off really.
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:
If you sign up to an everyday account with ING (as a new customer) and change your pension to be paid into it, you can get a bonus $100. Use the code CNW116 when you sign up to get it. You will need to open a savings maximiser as well, have $1000 deposited into your everyday account and make 5 transactions to get the $100.
$50 from Hello Fresh
You can get $50 from HelloFresh with this link. Order a box you like for the first two weeks then pause or cancel so you don’t get charged further but you get some free food delivered to you.
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.
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, 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 rates for home owners 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
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.
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 health care 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!
If you are after some ways to make money, Octopus Group and SwagBucks have been two good online survey sites for many readers. We also have a free 21 Day Money Challenge where some readers have found over $20,000!
More ways to save money
To save money on groceries check out our eBook 26 Ingredients, as featured on channel 9. Only $4.95 and it contains over 100 recipes with a pantry of only 26 ingredients, many under $1 a serve! From gourmet breakfasts to delicious desserts, tips to use up leftovers and ways to make basics such as pasta, cordial and sweetened condensed milk.