Am I eligible for the Age Pension?
According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Age Pension is the main source of income for most retirees in Australia.
Read on to find out how you could access the Age Pension, and how understanding more about it can help you unlock the benefits of passing the Age Pension asset and income test.
What is the Age Pension test?
The Age Pension is a government initiative, designed to support Australians in retirement and provide a safety net. To be eligible, you must meet age and residency requirements, and also satisfy the means test. You can find out the latest information about the test on the Services Australia website.
There are two elements to the test to determine whether you’re eligible for the Age Pension – the assets test and the income test. The assets test is a review of your assets while the income test considers your income from sources other than the Age Pension. You need to satisfy both to receive an Age Pension.
Depending on your personal circumstances, you might be eligible for a full Age Pension, or a partial Age Pension.
For many retirees, a partial Age Pension can be the sweet spot, as you’ll still be able to use your super savings to fund your lifestyle, however, it will be topped up by the Age Pension.
How do I know if I qualify for an Age Pension?
There’s a few aspects to the Age Pension test. The current eligibility age is 66 years and 6 months. This will go up to 67 from 1 July 2023. You also need to meet the residency requirements.
The assets and income limits are also impacted by whether you’re single or in a couple and, in the case of the assets test, if you own your own home. You can check the current asset limits here and income limits here.
Your principal home is not taken into account as part of the assets test, but lower thresholds apply if you own your own home. This is set with the idea that you can fall back on your home as an asset, should you not have enough super and savings to live comfortably in retirement.
The benefits of an Age Pension
What’s the catch?
There isn’t one if you meet the eligibility requirements. The tricky part can be knowing if you meet the requirements.
There’s no risk involved, and you don’t need to put your own investments into risky options to achieve a return or bolster your retirement income, so understanding if you can take advantage of the benefits, and applying them to your own circumstances, is a good place to start.
Of course, everyone’s situation is different, so it's worth understanding what qualifies as an asset, and how they’re evaluated by the government.
Another advantage to receiving an Age Pension is you may be eligible for further payments, concessions and support. For example, once you receive the Age Pension, you’ll also receive a Pensioner Concession Card. This helps with discounts on utility bills, public transport, and some further knock-on savings as a welcome bonus to receiving the Age Pension. You can find out more about the types of payments you could receive here.
Note that the government assesses the test and eligibility requirements regularly, so it’s worth keeping up to date with your eligibility, as you plan ahead to receive the Age Pension.
How do I complete the Age Pension income and asset test?
The test is completed through Centrelink.
Working with a financial planner can help you to understand the forms you need to fill out. They’ll be able to consult with you on your eligibility for the pension, help you fill out any forms you will need, and guide you through the process.
One of the biggest frustrations that can occur for many people, is when they don’t realise they’re eligible for the Age Pension, and have missed out on several years of payments, so it is always worth checking if you could be topping up your retirement income.
Missing out is never a fun feeling. You can book an appointment with a financial planner today and take your first step to better understanding the Age Pension and checking your eligibility.
Meanwhile, you can check the age requirements, purpose of the scheme and further information about requirements and rates with Services Australia.
Speak with a financial planner
Find out how an Age Pension can work alongside your super for a better retirement.
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