This technical update provides a summary of the July 2017 legislative releases. As always if you have any questions on how this affects you, please contact your financial adviser.


Social security changes

Following legislation that has passed through the Senate and has received Royal Assent, there are some changes to social security that may have an impact on the entitlements pensioners are eligible to receive.


Re-instatement of Pensioner Concession Card

The Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) will be reinstated for pensioners who were no longer entitled to the pension following the changes to the pension assets test from 1 January 2017. These non-pensioners will receive the PCC from 9 October 2017. The card will not be income-tested or assets-tested, however PCC card holders will need to meet other eligibility requirements. One of these conditions relates to portability conditions, whereby the PCC is cancelled for overseas trips taken that are longer than 6 weeks. The Government estimates about 92,300 people benefit from the reinstatement of the PCC.


Following the pensions asset changes on 1 January 2017 some Australians were granted the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC). These pensions will continue to maintain entitlement to this card. The Low Income Healthcare Card issued as a result of the 1 January 2017 changes will now be deactivated.


With the reinstatement of the Pensioner Concession Card, continued support of the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card and removal of the Low Income Healthcare Card this may have an impact on the entitlements you currently receive, or are eligible for. We can help you would out what you may be entitled to and help you through the application process.


One-off assistance payment for pensioners

A one-off non-taxable Energy Assistance Payment in the 2016/17 year of $75.00 for singles and $62.50 for each eligible member of a couple were paid automatically in the week commencing 26 June 2017. These payments were made if pensioners were eligible for qualifying payments on 20 June 2017 and who are residents of Australia.


Qualifying payments are the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Parenting Payment Single, DVA Service Pension, Income Support Supplement, War Widow(er)s Pension, DVA Disability payments and certain permanent impairment payments.


If you think you are eligible and have not received the one-off assistance payment contact Centrelink for more information.


Proposal to cease the energy supplement from 20 September 2017

Under separate legislation that is yet to pass through Parliament, the Government has proposed to cease the payment of the energy supplement from 20 September 2017, to recipients who were not receiving a qualifying payment on 19 September 2016. Payment recipients who first received the energy supplement on or after 20 September 2016 can only be paid the energy supplement until 19 September 2017. From 20 September 2017, these recipients and new recipients from this date will not receive the energy supplement.


If you have been receiving an income support payment continuously since 19 September 2016, you should continue to receive the Energy Supplement.


Want to know more?

Don’t try and go it alone when professional help is close by. It’s always a good idea to review your financial situation and eligibility requirements throughout the year in case there are strategies you can put in place early. For further information, or to set up an obligation free appointment with one of our experienced, holistic advisers – contact us today!


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