Seniors Health Card just got harder to keep

THE Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) has been a useful tool for retirees who do not qualify for the age pension and the concession card that goes with it.

However, big changes in last month's budget mean some current  holders will be losing it.

To qualify, you must be of age pension age but not be in receipt of an age pension. Also  you must have an adjusted taxable income of less than $50,000 for singles or $80,000 for couples (combined).

Adjusted taxable income is a person's taxable income, reportable fringe benefits, salary sacrificed superannuation contributions and net investment losses.

It is valid for one year only and must be applied for each year.

Anybody who starts an account based pension or annuity after December 2014 will find that the income stream will be assessed under the deeming rules with the deemed income being added to their adjusted taxable income.

Existing pensions that commence before January 2015 will be exempt.

You would need to be wealthy to be adversely affected. For example, if a  couple had $1.2 million in superannuation and were drawing an account-based pension that started after 31 December the deemed income would be about $41,000 a year.

This is way short of the $80,000 cut-off figure, but  of course other income like franked dividends could push them over the cut off point.

It's a reminder that the recent budget changes have changed the landscape for many Australians. As we approach June 30 good advice is becoming more important than ever.

Noel Whittaker is the author of Making Money Made Simple and numerous other books on personal finance.

His advice is general in nature and readers should seek their own professional advice before making any financial decisions. Email: noelwhit@gmail.com.



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