Confused at what concessions you are entitled to as a senior in your state or territory?
Don't be.... National Seniors Australia has launched a free, simple to use online concessions calculator which takes the angst out discovering exactly what you can apply for, and hopefully puts money in your pocket.
However, the calculator also shows that all is not equal across the states and territories when it comes to concessions with the inconsistencies running into thousands of dollars.
For example a senior in NSW with a Pensioner Concession Card can receive a total of $960 in concessions but if they lived in WA it would be $1714.94 and if they were a resident of the Northern Territory they could get $3105.10.
Victoria is the most concession miserly state or territory for Pensioner Concession Card holders at a mere $642.50, followed by Queensland $732.04 and SA $817. The ACT and Tasmania are more generous at $1748 and $1082 respectively.
The online calculator allows you to tick which concession card you have - Seniors Card, Pensioner Concession Card, Veterans' Affairs Concession Cards (PCC, Gold, White and CSHC) Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, Health Care Card; then click on your state and view all the concession available to you.
It also reveals the Northern Territory and Western Australia extend several concessions to low-income self-funded retirees who hold a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. In most other jurisdictions, concessions are limited to Pension Concession Card holders.
For example If you hold a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (held by some self-funded retirees) you can get a maximum of $450 in NSW or $1660 in WA and $500 in the Northern Territory, but zero dollars in Victoria although you are entitled to an exemption or part exemption on stamp duty when purchasing a property.
What older people want are concessions that are fair and reasonable, and which recognise the hard work and contribution older people have made and the struggles they face.
According to National Seniors, concessions are one of the most talked about topics among older Australians and it is understandable as the ever increasing cost of living and pension poverty makes it harder for people on fixed incomes to keep their financial heads above water.
In its information about the calculator it says, "While there is nothing inherently wrong with jurisdictions offering different concessions, states like Western Australia might be in a good financial position to offer concessions to low-income self-funded retirees simply because they have a lower proportion of older citizens and a booming mining sector.
"However, it is important that seniors are not unfairly disadvantaged because of regional inconsistencies.
"Whether you are a pensioner or a self-funded retiree, we all continue to pay bills as we get older. Older Australians often need a bit help with doctor's fees, medicines, private health insurance, aged care, transport, housing, energy costs and other essentials. That's why governments, whether federal, state/territory or local, offer a range of concessions targeted at older Australians.
"But not all older people are treated equally. Some concessions are set too low and many aren't indexed annually to meet changes in living costs.
"What older people want are concessions that are fair and reasonable, and which recognise the hard work and contribution older people have made and the struggles they face."
Whether you are a pensioner or a self-funded retiree, we all continue to pay bills as we get older. Older Australians often need a bit help with doctor's fees, medicines, private health insurance, aged care, transport, housing, energy costs and other essentials. That's why governments, whether federal, state/territory or local, offer a range of concessions targeted at older Australians.
"These inconsistencies and irrationalities undermine confidence in government."
National Seniors Australia chief advocate Ian Henschke said the calculator was a tool in the advocacy organisation's campaign to make concessions fairer across jurisdictions.
"Given the fact inflation is running at 3.5 per cent, you really do need to find out what concessions are available to you."
The inequality across jurisdictions can also be seen in the electricity concessions for Pensioner Concession Card holders - from $1067 or 60 per cent of the average bill in the Northern Territory to just $146 or 15 per cent of the average bill in Victoria.
Australians can also sign up to the campaign to make concessions fairer: nationalseniors.com.au/advocacy/current/fairer-concessions
To check out the concession calculator visit: nationalseniors.com.au/concessions-calculator