Health and Ageing

Age pension and related entitlements

The age pension is subject to both assets and income tests and a myriad of other eligibility criteria.  There are different rates of Age Pension payments for single people and couples. There are also different rates for some people who were getting a pension in 2009.

The Department of Social Services regularly reviews and adjusts these rates to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index.

To get the most up to date figures, visit or call Centrelink on 13 23 00.  You can also read about how your relationship status can affect your payment rate.


Deeming is used to calculate income from financial investments for social security payment assessment.  Deeming assumes that a person’s financial investments are earning a certain rate of income.  If a person earns more than this rate, the extra income is not assessed. The deemed income is added to any additional income the person has from other sources, such as salary or wages.

For more information about deeming, including the current pension asset test limits, go to

Asset test thresholds

To get the most up to date figures, visit


Assets test taper rate

The assets test taper rate was set at $1.50 to $3 per $1,000 of assets on 1 January 2017. It has not changed since then.

Cap on deductible amount for the income test for CSS and PSS pensioners for the Age Pension

From 1 January 2016, the deductible amount applying in relation to the income test for the Age Pension is capped at 10% for the recipients of a PSS or CSS pension. The deductible amount is the tax-free component of a PSS defined benefit pension or the tax-free component of the non-indexed additional CSS pension. The tax-free component of these pensions is shown on the pension increase advice issued in January and July each year. ACPSRO has tried to persuade the government to repeal it or at least grandfather it.  So far without success.

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

You may be eligible for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) if you meet the following criteria.

  • You have reached age pension age
  • You do not qualify for an age pension or a pension from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
  • Meet the income test (the income test does not apply if your age pension was cancelled on 1 January 2017 because of changes to the pension assets test)
  • You are an Australian resident living in Australia



The income test for the CSHC

The income test has regard to your adjusted taxable income and deemed income from any account based income streams. There is no asset test. To obtain the most up to date information about the income test, visit



The deeming rules in relation to account based income streams do not apply if
  • You bought or changed the account based income stream on or before 1 January 2015;
  • You own the account based income stream and were granted a CSHC after 31 December 2014; or
  • Your partner owns the account based income stream and they are 60 or more years old.


You may not have to wait to turn 60 to qualify for a Health Care Card

You may be eligible for a Health Care Card if you are below Age Pension age and your income is below a certain threshold, or if you receive certain Centrelink payments; for example, the parenting payment, a partner allowance, a widow allowance or youth allowance, or a special benefit payment. See Centrelink’s publication “A Guide to Australian Government Payments”.

This publication is available on line at

The special benefit is a payment granted to people who find themselves in severe financial need due to circumstances outside their control and who do not receive any other Centrelink pension or benefit.

Qualifying for a Low Income Health Care Card – Income Test

If you do not receive any of the above Centrelink payments, you may still be eligible for a Health Care Card.  To see the income limits, visit

Your income must be below the limit that applies to you for a period of 8 weeks before the day you apply for the Card. If you are assessed as eligible, the Health Care Card is valid for 6 months. If you apply to renew the Card, you must again meet the “8 week” income test in the above table.

Definition of income:


What are the benefits of a Health Care Card?

If you have a Health Care Card, you may be entitled to receive concessions on a wide range of goods and services, including dental, optical, ambulance, electricity and other utilities, telephone services including line rental, the cost of technical and further education, public transport fares and entertainment.

However, concessions vary between States and the Commonwealth. Some concessions that are available in one location may not be available in another. You should enquire about concessions or discounts that may be available in your State or Territory.


Private Health Insurance Rebate and the Medicare Levy Surcharge

Most Australians with private health insurance currently receive a rebate from the Australian Government to help cover the cost of their premiums. The private health insurance rebate is income tested. The table below details the different rebate amounts and Medicare Levy Surcharge levels.

The rebate applies to hospital, general treatment and ambulance policies. It does not apply to overseas visitor cover.

The rebate levels applicable from 1 April 2018 to 30 June 2021 are:

Base Tier Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3
< Age 65 25.415% 16.943% 8.471% 0%
Age 65-69 29.651% 21.180% 12.707% 0%
Age 70+ 33.887% 25.415% 16.943% 0%

Single parents and couples (including de facto couples) are subject to family tiers. For families with children, the thresholds are increased by $1,500 for each child after the first.

The income thresholds are indexed and will remain the same to 30 June 2021.

For further details, see

See also


Medicare Levy Surcharge from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2021

For current rates of the Medicare Levy, go to the ATO website at

The Medicare Levy Surcharge is levied on Australian taxpayers who do not have an appropriate level of private hospital insurance and who earn above a certain income.  Click on the following link which shows how the ATO calculates your income for the Medicare Levy Surcharge.  It is not the same as your taxable income.
Go to


Standard Tier 1  Tier 2 Tier 3
All ages     0.0% 1.0% 1.25% 1.5%

Single parents and couples (including de facto couples) are subject to family tiers. For families with children, the thresholds are increased by $1,500 for each child after the first. The income thresholds are indexed and will remain the same until 30 June 2021.