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Centrelink Offices

Centrelink, administered by the Australian Government Department of Human Services has many offices located throughout Australia. To find the one that is nearest to you it is best to check the list at http://humanservices.findnearest.com.au/. This is an online interactive tool that can help you locate your nearest Centrelink, Medicare or Child Support location. Once you type in where you are into the entrance field, a map pops up showing you the locations of the various offices. A list of all of the offices appears on that page in the order of km that is nearest to you. You can also click on the interactive map to get directions to the office.

Tips on Visiting Centrelink

Before you set off to find an open office it is also best to check the main page of the Contact Us site to make sure they are open. Usually there is a notice flagged in a gray box that informs why and when offices might be closed. Usually it is because of a public holiday such as the Melbourne Cup Day Public Holiday. Sometimes, too, not all of the offices are closed on a public holiday. A few in the same region or site might be open while the main is closed or vice versa.
In total there are over 580 agents and access points that provide services in rural, regional and remote communities.
Many people download information from Centrelink Online but if you do not have a computer at home you can also use one of the Centrelink Self Service Terminals on location.
Before you go to the center make sure that you have all of the documentation required with you. If you do not have it then a service representative may not be able to help you. It is also advisable that you come to the center nearest you as early as possible as some are very busy. You need to make sure that the staff at the department is going to have enough time to serve you. It is a good idea to check the opening and closing hours of the service center you intend to visit to avoid a long line up.

Centrelink Service Commitments

Centrelink centers of the Department of Human Services is very dedicated and committed to help people through different stages of their lives through the Medicare, Centrelink and Child Support Programs.
One of their mandates is to have respect for every one who seeks assistance to listen and work with the situation. Centrelink applies special understanding to special cases, disabilities and cultural needs.
Centrelink is also required to provide accurate, up-to-date information to applicants and provide answers to every question. You are also offered fair and transparent services that explain the process to you at every step of the way.

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Centrelink Online

Centrelink is part of the Department of Human Services in Australia. It is responsible for processing applications and dispersing payments for people who need financial help for many reasons including unemployment, child support, disability and retirement. Centrelink also looks after the economic wellness of Australian indigenous people, youth looking for a job and people who pay exorbitantly high rents. Centrelink also provides the baby bonus, a career allowance for daycare costs for parents who work and the family tax benefit.

Online Centrelink Services

You can do almost everything that you can do in person at a service center online at Centrelink. The general link to access every service is at http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/centrelink-online-services.
You need to initially register for the online services and after that you can perform a variety of functions including claim a range of Centre link payments including the age Pension, Baby Bonus, Child Care Benefit, Dad and Partner Pay, the Low Income Supplement, the Newstart Allowance, the Youth Allowance and many more services.You can also register intent to claim a service such as ABSTUDY.

There are some services that you can take care of online that you do not have to be registered for including updating a Healthy Start for School Review, reporting Fraud, inquiring about your BasicsCard Balance or finding a Centrepay, Income Management or BasicsCard organization or business.

Centrelink APPS

Centrelink is distinguished from many other government assistance centers by having many mobile apps that can be downloaded to help you facilitate such functions as reporting your earnings, recording your working hours, updating contact details and accessing online letters. You can get these downloads from Centrelink online at the App Store at: https://itunes.apple.com/au/artist/department-human-services/id499478465 or on Google Play at: https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=Australian+Government+Department+of+Human+Services. On Google Play there are many different targeted apps including Express Plus Family, Express Plus Job Search, Express Plus Student, Express Plus Senior. Express Plus Medic and Express Plus Lite. All of these apps are available at no charge to users of the Centrelink site.

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Centrelink Login

Centrelink, run by the Department of Human Services in Australia, processes applications and arranges payments for people who need financial assistance. Areas that Centrelink covers include child support, disability, unemployment, rent subsidies, retirement and support for Australian indigenous persons. Centrelink also provides the baby bonus and support for daycare and adopted parents.

Almost everything that you can do offline you can now do online on Centrelink. The Centrelink log on ability can only be accessed through a myGov account. This is an umbrella type membership account that offers you online access to all kinds of other services offered by the Australian Government as well.

Centrelink is responsible for processing applications and dispersing payments for people who need financial help for many reasons including unemployment, child support, disability and retirement. Centrerlink also looks after the economic wellness of Australian indigenous people, youth looking for a job and people who pay exorbitantly high rents. Centrelink also provides the baby bonus, a career allowance for daycare costs for parents who work and the family tax benefit.

Registering for Centrelink log on

To create an online myGov account to access Centrelink you have to go to the myGov website at https://my.gov.au/LoginServices/main/login?execution=e1s1. This is the official government log in site that used to be called the australia.go.au account. If you already have an australia.gov.au account then you can use your former password in the new account that you create. Once you create this you can also access medicare, the Personality Controlled eHealth Record System, DVA Services online and Disabilitycare Australia.

The account features secure access to all of the government member services as well as access to myGove mobile apps. You also get an inbox for all of your member service messages. All of your information is in one place at one time.

Centrelink Privacy and Security

In order to have a myGov website and access many of its services means that you will be trusting the Australian government with a great deal of personal information about yourself and also possibly, paternity matters to do with child support.

The account is created using an email address, mobile phone number and a password that contains at least three questions with secret answers. Once the myGov department receives this information you will be given a user name to use for a login on your myGov account. You are then transferred to Centrelink or any other service area of the government to undergo a second authentication process to make sure that your myGov account is linked to the correct records. You can opt out of any of these services at any time by contacting Member Services directly.

For more information about your privacy and security with regards to your Centrelink log on visit https://my.gov.au/mygov/content/html/privacy.html.

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Newstart Allowance

The Australian Government Department of Human Services offers the Newstart Allowance for those looking for financial help while looking for work. This helps support you while you do activities that could help increase your chances of finding a job.

Newstart Eligibility:

To be eligible you need to be older than twenty-two years and actively looking for paid work. You also have to be prepared to enter into the Employment Pathway Plan and meet the requirements. The Employment Pathway plan is a critical path that directs you with a series of outlined activities. You must follow what is on your pathway to help you get a job or you will not be eligible for Newstart Allowance and no longer receive benefits. This is reviewed on a regular basis and can be negotiated with an Employment Services Mentor or counselor.

To keep getting Newstart Allownace you have to always be participating in activities that lead towards finding work such as filling out job applications, training or studying or working part –time. Sometimes you can receive a short-term exemption from having to do some of the tests if you are working.

There are a number of tests you have to take as well, including an income / asset tests and activity test requirement. You also have be a resident of Australia.

Another consideration has to do with whether or not you pay or receive child support. All changes in circumstances can affect the amount that you can be paid.

Those over 55 years of age can apply for Newstart Allowance as well. The rules are a bit more flexible for older applicants. They are also more flexible for those who are caring for children under the age of sixteen.
You can also apply for Newstart Allowance if you are disabled. Job Services Australia or Disability Employment services can help disabled people find work while collecting Newstart at the same time. Training is also available for the disabled who want to learn how to work computers and telephones.

Newstart Payment Basics :

The payment rates for Newstart Allowance are updated each year on March 20 and September 20, with the idea of making sure they are congruent with the Consumer Index Cost of Living. The lowest amount you can make is if you are single with no children, in which case the maximum fortnightly payment is $501.00. If you are a single, principal carer who is foster parenting, home schooling or who has a large family, then you can be eligible for $699.90. There are various waiting periods that can be associated with different types of claims. An ordinary waiting period for a Newstart Allowance is about seven weeks.

If your payments have lapsed and you are reclaiming them, then you might have to wait thirteen weeks for your application to be processed. Your application might be processed faster if you are undertaking a recognized labor market program or rehabilitation program. For more about the waiting periods for assistance go to http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/waiting-periods at the Department of Human Services.

The program also expedites Newstart Allowance payments for those in severe financial hardship. To be eligible for this your total income must be less than the rate of the payment paid according to an income and assets limit, your readily available funds are less than the allowable limit and there is no other course of action that you can be expected to take to better your financial position.

A special calculation is used to determine eligibility for the hardship payment and you might be eligible if your pension is reduced, you own an asset that you can’t sell, you cannot borrow money, you cannot borrow against an asset, you cannot qualify for any other type of Australian Government assistance, and you make less than $13,247 annually. This also applies if you are single with no children or $1,333.80 if you are single with children.

Other Benefits That Can Exist With Newstart Allowance

If you qualify for the Newstart Allowance then you might also automatically qualify for some other types of benefits. Areas to consider looking at are the Health Care Card, the Income Support Bonus, JobSearch Facilities, Jobs, Educational and training Child Care Fee Assistance, Local Connections to Work, Pensioner Concession Card, Pensioner Education Supplement, Remote Jobs and Communities Program and quite a few more.

For more information about the Newstart Allowance programyou can visit the Newstart Allowance page at the Department of Human Services website at
http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/newstart-allowance.

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Child Support ( CSA)

The aim of the Australian Government Department of Human Services Centrelink Child support services is to help parents that are not with each other come up with the support that is necessary for their child or children’s well-being.

How To Apply For Child Support known as CSA :

There are several different types of child support payments offered by the Australia Department of Human Services starting at the very beginning of the child’s life with support for Birth and Adoption. If you are planning a birth or an adoption you are likely eligible for the Baby Bonus which pays out in thirteen fortnightly installments.
You might also be eligible for the Paid Parental Leave scheme that provides financial support to working parents when they have to leave work to care for a newborn or adopted child. This can take the form of Parental Leave Pay for up to 18 weeks or Dad and Partner Pay that gives the Dad two weeks off to enjoy time with the newborn child. Take note that the Parental Leave Pay and the Baby Bonus cannot be paid to the same child. You have to choose one type of child support or the other. If you are not sure which type of supplement is best for you then you can go to the Paid Parental Leave Comparison Estimator on the Australian government website at https://www.centrelink.gov.au/RateEstimatorsWeb/publicUserCombinedStart.do.

How to Apply for Child Support ( CSA)

The Australian Government provides support for families with children in the form of the Child Case Benefit and Child Care Rebate, the Parenting Payment, and the Family Tax Benefit.

The Double Orphan pension is available to help with the cost of caring for children who are orphans, literally, or if the caregiver is taking care of child because both parents are somehow too irresponsible or ill to do it. You can find out more about the Double Orphan Pension by going to: http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/double-orphan-pension.

You can also apply for Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance, which provides families with extra help with approved child care if you are studying, training or being rehabilitated with the idea of entering the workforce.

Another stipend offered under the auspices of the Youth Allowance gives financial help to young Australians who are studying full time, doing an apprenticeship or training, sick, or looking for work.

Families can also apply for the Education Entry Payment that is available to help with the cost of studying, but it only applies if you get specified income support payments. To find out more about the Education Entry Payment go to http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/education-entry-payment

Human Services Website :
Children that are between the ages of sixteen and nineteen years and that are enrolled full time in secondary study are counted as Rent Assistance children so you might be able to apply for subsidies for your rent if they are living at home with you.

How to Apply for Support for Children with Disabilities

There are a few carer programs that can help a family support a child. The Carer Payment is a stipend that can provide economic support if you are unable to go to work because you are caring for someone frail, aged, diseased or disabled. You may be also eligible for the Carer Allowance which is a supplementary allowance for parents or carers who provide care daily for the aged or disabled.

The Carer Adjustment Payment is a one-off payment that helps families adjust to a catastrophic event where a child may be permanently disabled or diagnosed with a severe illness.

The Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme helps parents with the education and health needs of families that live in the very remote areas of Australia.

Other Types of Family Stability Support

The Department of Human Services in Australia is very compassionate and you can use their services online to apply and maintain many of these services. Families in need of support often have mental health or other issues that can require the need of a social worker. Along with the family support, the Australian government provides social workers as well as a crisis line called, Lifeline, to help people in trouble. It also has the Mindhealthconnect website online to help provide support for people having problems coping in life. For more information about this aspect of Family support go to the Mental Health division of the Australian Department of Human Services website at http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/mental-health.

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Child Care Benefit

Carelink, a section of the Department of Human Services for the Australian Government provides support to parents and guardians in the form of a Child Care Benefit. The Child Care Benefit program assists with costs such as long or short termof daycare, after-school care, vacation care, kindergarten and pre-school day care.

How to Apply for the Child Care Benefit

To be approved for the child care benefit you must only be using resources for child care that are on Centrelink’s approved list and you must be responsible for paying the child care fees. This program is not available to parents or caregivers that have not immunized their children.
To be eligible you need to be an Australian resident or meet other residency requirements as defined on the Australian Government Residence descriptions page at http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/residence-descriptions

There are many factors that can affect the amount dispersed including whether or not your child is starting school, change in income, the leaving of a child from day care, or ineligibility because you no longer meet the requirements of the Work, Training, and Study test. Participation in training or educational commitments might also affect how much of the Child Care Benefit you can receive.

Child Care Benefit Payment Rates

Child Care Benefit rates are adjusted to the cost of living on July 1 of each year. In 2013 the approved care rate for a non-school-aged child for up to fifty hours of care a week was $199.50 per week. The current rate, established in 2013, for a non-school aged child for up to 50 hours of care per week is $33.30 per week.

To receive Child Care Benefits you do need to file a claim and enclose any receipts proving your use of child-care.

Child Care Payment Options

The Child Care Benefit can be paid to you either as a fee reduction or a lump sum.
If you choose to have it paid to you as a fee reduction it is paid directly to your chosen approved childcare provider. The amount of the Child Care Benefit is based on your own estimate of your annual family income. You will have to pay any difference in outstanding fees on your own.

This is also the only way you can claim a Child Care Benefit, as a fee reduction, if you want to be paid the benefits on a weekly or quarterly basis.

If you want to be paid a lump sum you have to pay your child care service provider up front and then after the year is up you can file a claim for a single big payment. You have two years in which to file for the fiscal year in which you are claiming.

Note that you cannot use the lump sum payment from Centrelink as a tax write off.

Things You Need to Know About the Child Care Benefit

To qualify for this stipend you need to take an income test. The amount you can get approved for depends on your annual family income and you must not make more than $145,642 if you have one child, $150,914 if you have two children or $170,404 if you have three or more children.

The benefits you receive are also calculated on your adjusted taxable income. You can find out more about this at http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/adjusted-taxable-income.

If you are a grandparent left with the primary care of a child then you might be able to get extra help with child care fees as long as you are the biological, adoptive or step grandparent of the child and receive other types of support payment such as the age pension, bereavement allowance or service pension.

Even if your child is not able to go to the facility where he or she is cared for, you may still be able to collect a childcare benefit. A Child Care Benefit can be paid for each child for up to forty-two absences per financial year and you do not have to explain reasons for the absence.

If you are 18 years of age or older you can also apply to be a registered child care provider. To qualify you will be expected to fulfill a Working with Children (WWC) Check. This must be in compliance with the governance of your state. You can find out more information about this at http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/child-care-benefit.

You can find out more information in general about the Child Care Benefit by going to http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/child-care-benefit.

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Carer’s Allowance

Carelink, a division of the Department of Human Services for the Australian Government provides support to carers in the form of a Carer Allowance. This is a supplementary payment for individuals who give people with disabilities, frailties, sickness or aging issues, care and attention at the sacrifice of other areas in their life.

Eligibility for Carers Allowance:

To be eligible for the Australian Carelink Carers Allowance you must be able to prove that you are providing daily care for a dependent child less than sixteen years with a medical condition or disability, and the child must reside with you. You are also eligible if you have more than one child that has disabilities that amount to being a substantial caring responsibility, even if you only have one child.

The supplement is also intended to provide additional daily care for a person over sixteen who has a medical condition or illness and who is frail or aged either in your home, or the home of the person that you are caring for.

The Carer is not required to go through income or asset tests. This is a payment that can be paid in addition to wages or other income support payment such as the Australian Age pension.

If it is a child that is being looked after, the child must suffer from one of the disabilities on a special list that is posted here at the Australian Guide to Social Security Law on the Australian government website at http://guidesacts.fahcsia.gov.au/guides_acts/ssg/ssguide-1/ssguide-1.1/ssguide-1.1.r/ssguide-1.1.r.90.html.
Care givers for children must meet the resident requirements and be receiving care in a home or a hospital. The condition must also be a permanent one or be suffered from for an extended period of at least twelve months.
When you apply for Carer Allowance inquire to see if you can qualify to receive backdated payments. You might be able to receive up to twelve weeks of support. Often this is the case if the disability was caused by an acute event such as a stroke, brain injury or car accident.

Carer Allowance Payment Rates

The Carer Allowance payment rate applies when caring for a child under sixteen years. The child receives a Health Care Card and a fortnightly payment of $115.40. Sometimes only a Health Care Card is issued depending on the child’s problem.

Every year the payment is adjusted to match the cost of living in Australia. It is adjusted to be in accordance with the Consumer Price Index on January 1 every year. The amount of allowance that you get depends on whether you are caring for more than one person or whether or not you are sharing the care.

Other Facts About Carer Allowance Rates

If you find yourself in a situation where you are looking after a child because a child is diagnosed with a catastrophic illness, medical condition or disability then you may qualify for a Carer adjustment payment. This is the situation where the child required full time care for at least two months. The claim for this must be put into Centrelink within two years of the date of the diagnosis or onset of the major disability.

You can get this one-time benefit as the result of catastrophes such as a car accident, stroke, diagnosis of cancer, fall, burns from fire, poisoning, near drowning or other type of terrible accident that leads to the need for emergency funding. The maximum amount that you can receive as part of a Carer Adjustment Payment is $10,000 and whether or not you get this amount is dependent on a review of your family’s situation.

Carer Allowances of all types are non-taxable payments.

To be eligible for Carer Allowance you do have to be an Australian resident and meet resident requirements. For more information about Australian resident requirements visit the Australian Government Residence descriptions page at http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/residence-descriptions.

You must also be physically present in Australia or your claim will not be approved and processed.
If you are applying for a Carer Allowance it can signify that you might be entitled to other payments and benefits as well including an age pension, a carer adjustment payment, a carer supplement, child disability assistant payment, ex-carer Allowance Health Care Card, a Health Care Card and a Parenting Payment. You can find out all of the information that you need to know at http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/carer-allowance.

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Youth Allowance

If you are a student living in Australia, you may be eligible for financial assistance. That assistance might be in the form of Youth Allowance payments. Australia’s Youth Allowance program can help you to pay for expenses that you may not otherwise have the money to pay for. Here’s how the program works.

What is the Youth Allowance Program?

Youth Allowance benefits are given to people between the ages of 16 and 24 who meet certain requirements. You do not necessarily even need to be a student to collect. You could be an apprentice, or you could also be seeking full-time employment. However, it is mainly a service used to support those who are continuing their education.

Age Requirements for Youth Allowance

If you are either 16 or 17 years old and you have completed year 12, or if you are in full-time secondary school, but living a distance from home, you may qualify. If you are those same ages and declared independent, you may also qualify. If you are between the ages of 16 and 24 and a full-time apprentice in Australia, you may also qualify. Other things that may qualify you for Youth Allowance include being a full-time student age 18 to 24, or looking for full-time employment and being between the ages of 16 and 21.

Other Requirements for Youth Allowance

When you are being assessed to see if you qualify for Youth Allowance, other things will be taken into consideration. One of those things is whether or not you are independent from your parents. If you are at least 22 or have your own child, you will be considered independent. If that’s the case, your parents’ income will not be counted when determining whether or not you need financial help. Only your own income will be taken into account. You may also be considered independent if you meet the following requirements:

  • During the previous two years you have worked 30 hours a week for at least 18 months to support yourself.
  • You are incapable of living with your parents and they cannot meet their parental obligations.

If you live in a remote area, you may also qualify if you have worked part-time for 2 years or more.

The Parental Means Test

If you are found to be dependent, you can still qualify for Youth Allowance benefits. In fact, you may be able to use some of those benefits to help your family, rather than just paying for your own needs. However, your parents will first have to submit to what is called the parental means test. That test will use their income to determine what benefits, if any, you may qualify for under Youth Allowance.

How Much You Might Receive

Youth Allowance payments are made fortnightly (every 14 days). The amount you can expect to receive each fortnight depends on your situation. For example, if you are single, living with your parents, and under the age of 18, the most you can expect to receive is $223 every 14 days. That amount could be lower, depending on other factors, such as how much money your parents make.

Another scenario would be if you are living with a partner and have children. In that case, you could potentially receive as much as about $447 every 14 days. Whereas, if you were single with children, you might be eligible for up to about $533 in fortnightly benefits. Visit http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/centrelink/youth-allowance/payment-rates for more information on how much you may be eligible to receive.

How to Make a Claim

If you think that you are eligible for Youth Allowance, the next step will be to start your claim process. Most eligible parties can claim Youth Allowance online. In order to do that, you should first make sure that you have all relevant information available, such as your tax file and bank account numbers. You should also be aware that, if you want to make a claim that you are independent because you are 22 or over, you must wait until you actually are 22. You cannot start the process early without risking being assessed as dependent.

When you are ready to make a claim, you can visit http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/centrelink/youth-allowance/claiming. Simply sign up for a Centrelink account or log on to your existing account to start the process.

You should be aware that you cannot claim Youth Allowance online if you are a job seeker. You are also not obligated to make a claim online under any circumstances. So, if you are a job seeker, do not have consistent online access, or would simply feel more comfortable applying by phone, you should call 132 490 to begin the process of registration for Youth Allowance.

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Seniors Card

Many countries, including Australia, offer certain benefits to senior citizens. Those benefits can be anything from discounts on medications to discounts on travel, dining, or other fun activities. They serve as a sort of thank you to senior citizens and an acknowledgment of the hard work that they have done throughout their lives. The senior citizen discount card in Australia is known simply as the Seniors Card.

What are the rules for eligibility for Seniors Card

Each Territory or State in Australia distributes Senior Cards to its own eligible residents. There are three main qualifications that you must meet in order to receive one. The first is that you must be at least 60 years old. The second is that you must not still be working on a full-time basis. The third is that you must be a resident of that State or Territory.

Although those are the three primary eligibility requirements, other requirements vary slightly from one Australian State or Territory to the next. For example, in Tasmania you cannot qualify if you work more than 20 hours per week. However, in Western Australia you are allowed to work up to 25 hours per week and still qualify for a Seniors Card.

Shopping Benefits

Your Australian Seniors Card entitles you to a lot of different shopping benefits throughout the country. For example, Seniors Card holders can get 5% off Avis car rentals. Your Seniors Card can also help you to enjoy shopping discounts at your favorite stores, and even meal discounts in many different restaurants across Australia.

Travel Benefits

Your Seniors Card also entitles you to certain benefits while traveling. For example, previously, only Commonwealth Seniors Health Card or Pension holders could enjoy GSR discounts, but their policy has now been expanded to include all Seniors Card holders. You can enjoy travel on the Great Southern Rail (GSR) for as much as 25% off. That can allow you to spend part of your retirement touring some wonderful areas. You can travel on the Overland, Indian Pacific, or Ghana, all while enjoying discounted fares.

Widespread Recognition

Although each Territory or State in the country issues its own seniors cards, a card issued in one Territory or State is usually honored in most establishments that accept Seniors Cards in other parts of the country. Many restaurants, stores, hotels, and other establishments will post signs on their windows or doors saying that they accept Seniors Cards.

Not only should places in other parts of Australia accept your Seniors Card, but now Australian Seniors Cards are also accepted in New Zealand. You can use your Seniors Card in any establishment where New Zealand’s SuperGold Cards are also accepted.

Specific Information on Where You Can Use Your Seniors Card

If you are not sure whether you can use your Seniors Card at a specific establishment, it’s best to call ahead of time and ask. You can also check the establishment’s website for information on Seniors Card discounts.

Another good option is to check your State or Territory Seniors Card website for a listing of establishments that offer Seniors Card discounts. For example, Western Australia’s Seniors Card website offers a directory that you can search. That directory is located at http://www.communities.wa.gov.au/seniors-card/Pages/Find-a-discount.aspx. The Tasmanian Seniors Card website offers a search function, as well as a downloadable directory in .pdf format. Visitor Centres can also offer printed copies of the directory. That information can be accessed at http://www.dpac.tas.gov.au/divisions/cdd/programs_and_services/seniors_card/for_cardholders/find_a_discount. Other Australian Territories and States offer their own search tools and directory assistance.

Replacing a Seniors Card

Your Seniors Card will never expire. However, if it becomes lost, stolen, or damaged, you may need to replace it. You may also need to get a new card if your name changes for any reason, such as a marriage or divorce. Another possibility is that your address may change, requiring you to update your account information. Although, you may not need an entirely new card, unless you have moved to a completely different State or Territory. It depends on the rules in your specific State or Territory.

Luckily, all of the States and Territories in Australia have procedures in place to help you update account information, replace lost Seniors Cards, and perform other actions relating to Seniors Card services. So, you should simply contact your Seniors Card office for more information. Visit http://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/government/seniors-card/seniors-card-offices for a listing of Seniors Card offices across Australia.

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Medicare Australia

The division of the Australian government that handles the universal healthcare system in the country is called Medicare Australia. Some people also refer to the Medicare plan itself as Medicare Australia. The Australian Medicare program helps Australian citizens afford medications, as well as many medical procedures.

How Medicare is Handled

Although Medicare Australia is the larger organization that runs Medicare in the country, Medicare services are actually handled by the Department of Human Services (DHS). It is the responsibility of the DHS to give out Medicare benefits and enforce medicare policies, which are created by the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA).

What do I qualify for under Medicare Australia Benefits

The Australian Medicare system generally pays for 755 of the Medicare Schedule fee, which is a payment limit set for various medical services. The Medicare program can also provide Australian residents with free or deeply discounted optometry and specialty treatment, as well as general medical care.

Another big part of Medicare Australia is the savings that it offers on medications. Many Australian residents would not be able to afford their medications without it.

Reciprocal Health Care

Some healthcare services outside the country of Australia may also be covered for those who are part of Medicare Australia. This is called reciprocal health care. Australia currently has such agreements with New Zealand, Italy, and Belgium, as well as several other countries.

The Medicare Safety Net

The Medicare Safety Net is a program that provides extra benefits for those who are already on Medicare, if necessary. It is mainly designed to cover some or all of the costs for those people that have to undergo regular medical testing. Once the regular Medicare benefits threshold has been met, the Medicare Safety Net benefits will begin.

Individual people do not have to register for the Medicare Safety Net. Medical spending information will automatically be collected by the Department of Human Services and, once you spend a certain amount, your extra benefits will automatically start. However, if you want your entire family to be protected by the Medicare Safety Net, you do need to fill out a family registration form. You can find that form at http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/forms/sn1, get a copy at any service centre, or call 132 011 for more information.

How do I go about claiming benefits

After you are enrolled in Medicare Australia, it is possible that your doctor will do all of the claiming work for you. He or she may do what is called bulk billing, which means that the full service bill will be sent to the Medicare division of the DHS to be paid. If that is the case, you shouldn’t be charged any extra fees or have to take any further actions. However, you should receive documentation in the mail that your medical visit or procedure was paid for under Medicare. If you notice any discrepancies, you should call and report them.

It is also possible that your doctor may not do bulk billing. He or she may actually bill you directly for any doctor’s visits or medical procedures. If that happens, you will need to pay the costs up front, but you can file a Medicare Australia claim to be reimbursed. Your doctor’s office may file the claim paperwork for you automatically. If not, you can download a claim form at http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/forms/pc1 and mail it in.

Medicare Online

You may also be able to claim directly online. For more information about making an online Medicare claim, visit http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/medicare/medicare-online-services. From that page you can also access services that will allow you to:

  • View Your Medicare Claims History
  • Update Your Account Details
  • View Medicare History for Family Members Whose Names Are on the Same Account

Using Your Medicare Australia Card

If you qualify for Medicare Australia, you will receive a Medicare card in the mail. You should keep that card in a safe place. You will need to take it with you to any medical appointments that you may have. You will also need to present it whenever you are picking up medications. If you don’t have it with you, you may not be able to receive discounted medications.

You should also be aware that Medicare cards do expire. However, a new card should automatically be sent to you shortly before the old card expires. When that happens, you should dispose of your old card. If you somehow lose your card, or if a new one doesn’t arrive in time, you should contact the Medicare division of the DHS and request a new card.

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