The Age Pension is income support designed to encourage older Australians to optimise their money. It is paid to older Australians who meet age and residency requirements and pass a means test. The rate is indexed to ensure that the benefits keep pace with growth in the cost of living.
In 2021, the government adjusted the eligibility age to 66 years and six months for those born between July 1, 1955, to December 31. 1956. For those born after January 1, 1957, the age requirement is 67.
The applicant also needs to be a citizen or resident of Australia to qualify, have lived in the country for at least ten years, and meet the income and asset tests. If your income or assets exceed specified limits, you may lose [part of your pension benefits or be ineligible.
Here are other essential facts about Age Pension and retirement government claims:
1. The Amount of Money That the Age Pension Pays
You can claim the Age Pension if you’re an Australian citizen or a permanent resident. If you’re not an Australian citizen, you must be an Australian permanent resident. You can also claim the Age Pension if you’re a New Zealand citizen who satisfies the residency requirement.
As of April 2022, the maximum basic Age Pension rate is $900.80 a fortnight for singles and $1358.00 a fortnight for a couple. These are per-year rates for eligible applicants who can pass a means test to ensure their income and other assets fall below certain levels. Otherwise, the Age Pension payment will be reduced, or the applicant may not be approved.
There is also an additional Pension Supplement and Energy Supplement to help fund the cost of living expenses and utilities.
2. The Benefits of Having Age Pension
You may be eligible for other Age Pension benefits such as the following:
- Work Bonus: This payment helps you earn more without reducing your pension.
- Centrepay: This free direct bill-paying service is available as a regular deduction from your Centrelink payments.
- Pensioner Concession Card: With this card, the pensioner is entitled to concessions related to medical costs, public transport discounts, and benefits at some shops
3. How to Apply For Age Pension?
An Age Pension applicant needs to complete an application form either by post using a paper application, at a Centrelink office or through the myGov online portal. The approval process can take up to several weeks, so ensure you provide all of the necessary support documentation to help your claim go smoothly and avoid delays.
If you require your Age Pension to commence as soon as you become eligible, you can submit your claim in the 13 weeks before you reach Age Pension age.
Centrelink will send you a letter either confirming your claim, requesting further details or rejecting your claim. If you fail to meet the request for further information, your claim will be rejected. Additionally, if your claim is rejected and you believe Centrelink has made a mistake, you can request a review of your application.
Be Prepared for Retirement
Being financially stable in your retirement is one crucial consideration you must assess long before you retire. Thankfully, it’s good that there are benefits such as Age Pension to supplement personal retirement savings that are not enough to sustain your entire retirement.
Remember to manage your finances smartly from when you get your first pension payment – don’t stop yourself from saving and investing because you’re now retired. A financial adviser can show you means of optimising your funds and benefits, so you go beyond just getting by.
If you have a few years before retirement, now is the time to start saving money and assets. A specialist retirement financial adviser can help you financially prepare for the retirement you want, into your senior years.
To get the best retirement planning on the Central Coast area, connect with Central Coast Financial Planning Group. You can get superb advice on retirement planning, including superannuation, wealth management and estate planning. Retirement financial planning should not be a burden if you work with the best financial advisers to make the process light and easy for you. Book a complimentary first meeting with our team today to discuss your options!
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