Frequently asked questions

About the reform:

  • From 1 July 2018, there will be two schemes. The existing Northern Territory Pensioner and Carer Concession Scheme will become the Northern Territory Concession Scheme. This scheme is about supporting eligible pensioners, including aged pension recipients, with the cost of living in the NT. This is a means-tested scheme aimed at providing assistance and support to those most in need.

    The Seniors Recognition Scheme is about acknowledging and valuing the contribution that seniors make to the Territory, and all senior Territorians 65 years and over are eligible for this scheme. All members of this scheme will be entitled to a $500 concession per year for utilities and/or travel, which now includes intrastate travel (travel within the NT).

    The NT Seniors Card is a separate initiative managed by COTA NT from February 2018, which is available for free to all Territorians 60 years and over. Free bus travel for all senior Territorians 60 years and over will continue.

  • The current scheme is unfair and open to fraud, which is unacceptable.

    The Northern Territory Government wanted to ensure that concessions and their administration was modernised. We also needed to improve the accessibility to concessions.

    It is important that the scheme was reviewed to ensure it is relevant to Territorians today, and in the future.

  • The new schemes will come into effect on 1 July 2018. Until that time, there will be no changes or impact to current members. Eligible members of the current scheme will be grandfathered over to the new scheme.

  • The new schemes will provide an opportunity for more Territorians living in remote areas to be supported with the cost of living in the NT and ensure senior community members are recognised. Specific strategies will be developed to make the scheme more accessible to Territorians in remote or regional areas, such as improving awareness of, and access to, the scheme and available concessions.

  • No, there is no cost to apply or register for the new scheme. However, you will be required to confirm your entitlement annually.

NT Concession Scheme:

  • The NT Concession Scheme is about supporting eligible pensioners and carers with the cost of living in the NT. The NT Concession Scheme is not an aged-based scheme. It is a means-tested scheme based on eligibility criteria, to assist the most vulnerable members of our community.

    Recipients of this scheme will include those on long term means-tested Commonwealth pensions and payments including:

    • - age pension
    • - disability support pension
    • - carer payment
    • - parenting payment (single)
    • - some Department of Veterans Affairs benefits*

      *Benefits include the Repatriation Health Card TPI/War Widow/Widower(Gold Card),Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Card (Orange Card), Department of Veterans Affairs Pensioner Concession Card (Blue Card), Department of Veterans Affairs Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

    The Northern Territory Concession Scheme will operate the same as the current scheme and include the same concessions but with capped amounts for electricity and water concessions.

    The eight nominated concessions are:

    • - electricity
    • - water
    • - sewerage
    • - property rates
    • - garbage
    • - motor vehicle registration
    • - drivers license
    • - spectacles

    The travel concession will be available via the Seniors Recognition Scheme.

  • From 8 November 2017, people joining the scheme will need to meet the new eligibility criteria. Please contact the Territory Families Concessions Unit. Ph: 1800 777 704, email: pensionconcessionunit@nt.gov.au.

  • Yes, if you were a previously eligible member of the NT Pensioner and Carer Concession Scheme before 8 November, you will be grandfathered into the NT Concession Scheme. You will be asked to reconfirm your eligibility. If you are 65 years and over, you will be eligible for both the NT Concession Scheme and the Seniors Recognition Scheme.

    Pensioners and carers under 65 years old will also be grandfathered while they are still eligible for the concession they received on their initial entry into the scheme.

  • The new scheme will provide an opportunity for more Territorians living in remote areas to be supported with the cost of living in the NT, ensuring senior community members are recognised. Specific strategies will be developed to make the scheme more accessible to Territorians in remote or regional areas, such as improving awareness of, and access to, the scheme and available concessions.

  • Grandfathering honours the previous level of commitment that former governments have made to scheme members. If you are an existing eligible member, you will continue to receive your current range of benefits. The only change you will experience is capping of the power and water concessions.

  • More information about the NT Concession Scheme is available on this website.

    You can also visit a Territory Families shopfront or contact the NT Concessions Unit on 1800 777 704 or email pensionconcessionunit@nt.gov.au

  • Territory Families will be proactively engaging with service providers to ensure members receive the correct entitlements. If you are eligible for the schemes you will qualify for the concession. People in retirement villages can currently claim for reimbursement of utilities, by taking a bill receipt to a Territory Families shop front, or by emailing pensionconcessionunit@nt.gov.au

  • Those receiving power tokens and electronic meter credits will to continue to receive them, up to the value of the capped concession amount.

  • Yes, it is important that the Northern Territory Concession Scheme remains sustainable into the future.

    The electricity concession will now be limited to a total of up to $1,200 each year. This is based on an average usage for a household of 8,000 kWh per year.

    The water concession will also be limited to a total of up to $800 each year. This is based on an average usage for a household of 471 kL per year.

    Most concession scheme members use less than the average consumption amounts for electricity and water and will not be affected by this.

    All electricity and water concessions will continue to be deducted directly from member bills.

  • Additional support will be available for members experiencing hardship, due to higher than normal bills, such as for medical reasons. Hardship provisions will be assessed on a case by case basis.

    For further details please contact the Territory Families Concessions Unit. Ph: 1800 777 704, email: pensionconcessionunit@nt.gov.au

Seniors Recognition Scheme:

  • More senior Territorians than ever before will now be recognised under the Seniors Recognition Scheme. It is the most generous scheme of its type in Australia.

    It is not means-tested and all seniors 65 years and over are eligible to apply for the scheme.

    Under the new scheme, all seniors 65 years and over will be offered a $500 concession every year to be used towards travel and/or utilities.

  • Men and women in the NT become eligible for the Seniors Recognition Scheme at 65 years old. Women who are 64 years old, who were grandfathered into the scheme from 2014, will be grandfathered into the new scheme as seniors.

  • Yes, if you are 65 years and over and receiving one of the eligible pension payments, you are eligible for both schemes.

  • The reform is good news for the 3,000 senior Territorians who were previously excluded from the old scheme, when means testing was introduced in the 2014. All Territorians 65 years and over are now acknowledged through the Seniors Recognition Scheme and entitled to up to $500 in concessions for utilities and/or travel, which now includes travel within the NT.

  • No, all Territorians 60 years and over are entitled to a free Seniors Card.

    From February 2018, COTA NT will be managing the Northern Territory Seniors Card Program. This program is also being reformed to provide more business discounts and other exciting initiatives for senior Territorians. Visit the COTA NT website for more information.

  • The NT Government made an election commitment to restore concessions to those seniors disenfranchised by the May 2014 decision to means-test access to the scheme. This is being delivered through the Seniors Recognition Scheme.

    The new Seniors Recognition Scheme goes beyond the election commitment (of $700 every two years) to reflect the valuable and significant contribution our seniors make to the Territory by providing a $500 concession every year for every Territorian aged 65 years and over.

More Information:

  • Access to both the schemes is available only to residents of the NT, as proven by an NT Drivers licence, utilities invoice or alternative method as informed by the concessions unit. You are not eligible if you move away, are not living at the registered address, or if the Northern Territory is not your primary place of residence.

    It is important to notify the NT Concessions Unit if your circumstances change to avoid penalty.

    Under the new scheme, members will need to verify their details annually.

  • Territory Families will be contacting existing members of the NT Pensioner and Carer Concession Scheme in the coming months to provide information about the new schemes and what changes are relevant to you.

    No changes will be made to the existing scheme until 1 July 2018.

    If your contact details have changed, please call 1800 777 704 to update your information.

    You can also contact the NT Concessions Unit on 1800 777 704 or email pensionconcessionunit@nt.gov.au . You can also visit one of the Territory Families regional shop fronts.


Read the brochure about the new schemes