COTA SA welcomes new Cost of Living Concession

Media Release - Thursday 14th May 2015

COTA SA welcomes the announcement by Premier Jay Weatherill today that pensioners, low-income earners and self-funded retirees holding a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card will receive up to $200 per year under the new Cost of Living Concession.

It replaces the concession of up to $190 previously available to many older homeowners to offset local council rates.

"COTA SA is delighted that the uncertainty about the concession is now over, and even more delighted that the State Government has seen fit to extend it to Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Holders who are not homeowners," said chief executive Jane Mussared.

"The bonus with this new concession is that people can choose how they use the payment to offset various costs of living expenses.

"Older people are important contributors in their local communities in many ways but mounting cost of living pressures cause many to think carefully about whether they can continue to volunteer, participate in community activities, the arts, keeping fit and so on.

"This $36 million per year investment from the State Government is an important recognition of the cost of living pressure on many South Australians and the great value to our community of helping older people have the means to live full lives."

"COTA SA also recognises the collaboration with SACOSS and the LGA to bring this to a resolution".
The new cost of living concession, to come into effect on July 1, 2015, will provide about 205,000 households receiving the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card with either $100, for non-homeowners, or $200 for homeowners.

"Eligibility for the new concession has been expanded to include pensioners and low-income earners who are tenants - that's 45,000 pensioners and low-income earners who will receive an extra $100 in their pocket each year," Ms Mussared said.

Similar to the outgoing council rate concession, the new Cost of Living Concession is payable per household, not per individual.

The concessions will be paid to recipients in 2015-16 by cheque. It is expected payments will be made to homeowners in about September this year and to tenants in early 2016.

Homeowners who currently receive the council rate concession will not need to apply separately for the new concession. However, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders who do not own a home will need to apply by October 31, 2015.

Application forms for the Cost of Living Concession will be available from July 1, 2015 by contacting the Concession Hotline on 1800 307 758.

Further media information contact Michelle Daw, 0427 430 845

COTA SA is the peak body promoting the rights, needs and interests of over 60,000 older South Australians

Download a copy of the media release in pdf format