Many Australians unaware of Age Pension eligibility

Think you don’t qualify for the Age Pension? Think again.

pension eligibility

Not enough older Australians are aware of the eligibility requirements for the Age Pension, says Lifewise Financial Solutions financial planner and director Emma Arthur.

She said that older people needed to reassess their situation on a regular basis as, over time, the assets that had made them ineligible for the pension may have depleted, making them eligible for a part pension.

She also said that “you only need to receive $1 of Age Pension to be eligible for the healthcare card”, which can be worth thousands of dollars’ worth of benefits over a year.

“[It] definitely helps a lot of people fund their retirement plan, and we often find that clients receive either a full or partial Age Pension and supplement this via drawdowns from personal account-based pensions to meet ongoing living expenses”.

Ms Arthur also commented on how reliance on the Age Pension tended to increase further into retirement.

“We see a higher level of spending in the earlier retirement years where people are fit and well and have the ability to travel more widely,” she told Nest Egg.

“[This] results in a depletion of assets in the earlier years, which in later years can certainly result in an increased reliance on the Age Pension.”

She said it was important to understand the assets test and know how to maximise your entitlements.

“Seek advice, have someone review your situation, build up your retirement nest egg, make sure you have things invested in the best structures to minimise any personal tax [and] maximise any potential entitlements to the Age Pension,” she said.

Have you recently checked whether you’re eligible for the Age Pension?

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    20th Dec 2019
    I must have a word with Joe Hockey about this one.
    20th Dec 2019
    Have a word with your moronic Labor mates too, they being the ones who brought in the highly offensive Assets Test (subject of this article) and Income Deeming Tests, besides increasing the Pension Age to 67 (although Libs take advantage and make everything worse).
    20th Dec 2019
    Interesting but true. We got back our part pension after engaging a financial planner to act for us, How? He used the extra super permitted to absorb some of the bank assets, plus encouraged full payment of the RAD (a massive sum). To do this we sold our home of 35 years and downsized considerably.

    Why then did we have to do this? Why did we need a Financial Planner in the first place.
    Looking deeper into this, we found out that Centrelink will not help to tell you in simple terms whether you qualify for a full or part pension, and will do everything in their power to make it most difficult to achieve an outcome, even though you most likely qualified in the first place. They for example, need you to complete the main application form, a horrendous document even I (with tertiary degrees) found it difficult to comprehend the meaning of some 400 questions, 28 double sided pages, and several other form requests, depending on answers.

    It took me a week to assemble all the paraphernalia. Then when the second meeting took place, we were grilled for several hours, at one stage, completed some forms only by looking up their computer and with special permission to access my bank details. They asked so many personal questions, we lost count. After hours of intense scrutiny, the young interviewer pressed a few buttons, auto scanned some 50 pages of documents and said you will hear from us if you were successful in a few weeks. Our jaws dropped.

    She could see the terror in our eyes, and said they had to be careful and if the results were positive our part pension would start from the interview date. She said Financial Planners always complicate things. I think she really meant, they create more pensions than Josh Frydenberg envisaged.

    The DHS, ATO, Centrelink (whoever), would lead you to believe it's a simple process of determining 1, your income, (or if that's too low) 2) your combined assets exceed a set amount, and they take the higher of the two outcomes. Furthermore, if one of the partners qualifies for aged nursing care, the horrendous fees paid are not taken into account, but it's a cost of living, therefore taxable.

    Tell a business company who pay their measly 27%-30%, they can't claim depreciation, tools, equipment, cars and trucks, trainee employees and other overseas perks, then transfer their income to a low=life country and pay zero tax, they don't qualify for tax deductions. I am deafened by the screaming going on.

    So Mr Frydenberg, where are you on this one. What's that? Can't hear you! Speak up! Is your retirement package sufficient? Have you ever seen a retired politician out on his arse in the street sleeping rough? I bet you my dwindling assets you can't, you greasy politician.

    But then a majority of greedy morons in this land voted you in last election, didn't they! serves them right.
    20th Dec 2019
    thanks for the detail JoJozep, is the application process as daunting for everybody or do some just find it harder than others?

    It's hard to understand how all pensioners made it to the end of this process if it is so challenging. I teach a lot of pensioners and some of these are dopey as drunk parrots. My tertiary educated mother has been going through the application process for almost a decade and at 80 still has not got any pension because she cannot get to the end. She has been verbally informed by Centrelink she is entitled to a part-pension but it seems a new obstacle is in place no sooner than she is past the previous one. It's not helped when her paperwork is lost twice at Centrelink. She realises her procrastination has cost her money but finds the application process confronting and overwhelming. In the meantime she has watched her assets dwindle to the point there is little left. It will make an interesting 2020 for her.
    20th Dec 2019
    I have to agree about Centrelink not making it easy. So many times you read or hear people say (including this site) to 'speak to a Centrelink Financial Person'. I accompanied a friend to one of these, both to help her and to prepare myself for when I went on Pension. I found them extremely reluctant to offer assistance, it was almost as though you needed to be the one to ask about something. A little bit hard when you don't know what to ask about. There seemed to be more reliance on knowing everything about what you have rather than what you can get (from Centrelink). Trying to ensure you get as little as possible instead of what you are entitled to. And I fully understand the horrendous paperwork trail. Constantly losing paperwork, ask for some supporting documentation, provide that, then have to provide more paperwork for an unrelated thing. I did ask why they couldn't ask for everything at once, almost like they read one page at a time, get the paperwork, only when all Ok, go onto the next page. I owned a negatively geared property in a hard to sell area, that I was trying to sell (sold much later at big loss) and the questions they wanted answered proved they had absolutely no idea of how to deal with it. Finally got approved, but made one decision very clear - I would never go through that again. It really should not be that hard.
    20th Dec 2019
    Having to jump through Centrelink's interrogation isn't justified. Time to introduce the Universal Pension and take Centrelink out of the equation.
    ray @ Bondi
    20th Dec 2019
    Never happen, successive governments, starting with labor have sold the money trees for a broken bit of mirror and a plastic trinket, there was no real benefit in the long term, and I suggest how good would the bottom line of the budget be if the government still owned, Telstra, Qantas, and the commonwealth bank, not to mention all the other assets we owned as the constituents of the Commonwealth of Australia.
    That is where e the real problem is.
    20th Dec 2019
    Absolutely right, all civilized developed countries do have a universal pension. Could never understand why someone who built a nestegg and paid higher taxes should be penalized. Our system is a disincentive to work hard and safe for retirement.

    20th Dec 2019
    Excellent advice, which should be repeated often not only by YLC, but also by the rest of the media. A lot of older people give it up, with some feeling not up to it to fight a monstrous Centrelink bureaucracy, thus saving these nasty Govts (BOTH Liberal and Labor) heaps of money.

    Leon - Wonder if Emma Arthur or anyone else can estimate how much the Govt is saving by such disincentives to older people to claim their rights?

    More reasons to scrap the completely Broken Age Pension system and implement Universal Age Pension based on a single application to the ATO at commencement (only to be re-validated to ensure people are still alive). All MUST write to the Retirement Income Review (deadline of 3rd Feb 2020) to insist on this kind of major overhaul.
    20th Dec 2019
    Must say after reading the comments that I agree with most points of view and especially re the urgent need for Universal Age Pension which treats everyone fairly. Plus govt doesnt miss out on revenue with tax rates applying and reduced centrelink bureaucracy

    20th Dec 2019
    It is ethically wrong that you only need to get $1 of the age pension to get the pensioner health care card. It creates a situation where you have pensioners living in houses that are way to big for them which means that others in society are missing out on adequate housing.

    The way to fix this is give everyone over pension age the pensioner health care card.
    20th Dec 2019
    You can be eligible for a Seniors Health Care, even if you're ineligible for a part or full pension. It's income tested but not asset tested. The current income limits are:
    · $54,929 a year if you’re single;
    · $87,884 a year for couples; and
    · $109,858 a year for couples separated by illness, respite care or prison.
    20th Dec 2019
    Pulled the trigger too quickly.
    The eligibility details I posted were for the Seniors Health Care Card.
    The Pensioner Concession Card (PCC), as the name implies, comes automatically with the aged pension, part or whole.
    The PCC provides the greater benefits of the two cards.
    20th Dec 2019
    I believe it is great for everyone here that Jocky has the correct info and I do not think the card name hiccup of his trigger comment is of concern (if that makes sense). Separately; it is obvious that from the comments here and other forums that the centrelink senseless, time consuming, bureaucratic processes are causing a lot of grief and waste for a large section of the retired. How do we get the govt interested in the Universal Age Pension ??
    20th Dec 2019
    There would be an additional 600,000 pensioners and part pensioners if the hypocrital LNP were to fix the DEEMING rates for fixed term deposits and brought it into line with what the major banks offer. The stock market is to volatile for many Senior Australians who would never recover from substantial loses. KISS principle.
    20th Dec 2019
    Where do you get 600,000 from?
    20th Dec 2019
    KSS: This figure was put out in an article in Your Life Choices this year. You will find it in there archives. You must of missed it. It was also put out in the SMH.
    20th Dec 2019
    KSS: AFR 8 July 2019 and SMH 8 July 2019.
    20th Dec 2019
    George M I sorry to touch your greed is good attitude but even you must realise that the Liberal party is in power at this time even if its leader can't be found when we need leader ship more than ever in Australia.
    20th Dec 2019
    Where did you get that dumb "greed is good" conclusion from? Especially as I have encouraged ALL eligible NOT to miss out in my 2nd comment above. Your constant blind attacks against the Lib party are moronic, as BOTH parties, as I have often said, are happy to stuff retirees, however as I have explained Labor has usually led the way. Great that they lost this time with their outlandish, Green-oriented policies pushed by a hopeless leadership team, especially with NO benefits ever expected from them for retirees. So get over it now.

    BTW, try and learn to respond to the same comment chain rather than launching a new thread if you are responding, unless your Labor-type limited thinking makes it all too hard. Just by chance I noticed this comment, as I don't always scroll down to read every comment.
    20th Dec 2019
    Hi All, Interesting reading. At 65 I applied for a part OA pension. The process I found interesting and about what was expected. I set mine up on a Clink office dedicated website access computer and I was assisted by one of the staff members. Time went on - a couple of weeks - I began receiving a small PP. Great, I thought, now I can apply for some of the discounts (I was keen on the council rates discount). Like a contributor here... I found that you have to know what questions to ask. I thought I knew nothing so I asked "what else should I know & what discounts (list?) should I follow up? We (wife) had furnished ALL associated data as my wife turned 65 six months after me and "this would make the process of adding a PP for her (later on), much easier" ... we were told. So far so good. When my wife's Bday approached we again went to the Clink (where they keep everything locked up!) to have things in readiness for when she turned 65 (so that there w'd be a payment from 'day one'). Things are going smoothly... I was getting a small PP and access to discounts. I didn't get the list which w'd have told me that I c'dve gone to get free hearing aids etc. though! The wife got her PP ($22.60 for the first six days - until the end of 2015.. Bday is 26/12). Then she got a call from (you know who - The Colonel). He said "Your first and only $22.60 will go into the bank,, but we have changed OUR rules and as of 1.1.2016, you will get nothing AND we are cancelling your husband's pension too". ( ! ! ). We had started to get a payment from a pension system that we had paid into for 30 years and this 'income' (payback of money put away I call it), puts you at $40 per fortnight over the Clink threshold ! "By the way, you will have to pay us back $1265.00 of the PP we have 'given' you". We will send you an INVOICE for the amount YOU owe US". ( ! ! ) "Because this INCOME (pension system re-payment is over the Income Threshold and is indexed, you will never be likely to get a part OA pension".... from the Gov't to which we both paid mega thousands of dollars during your working lives, without UN-emp. assistance, without First Home Buyer's assistance, blah, blah,,, Unhappy with this??? You bet. So many times the goal posts get moved. It's like the carrot on a stick. You keep believing that doing the right thing and working towards IT (retirement) blah, blah..... Red
    23rd Dec 2019
    Hey Red, do you have a defined benefit pension by any chance?
    20th Dec 2019
    Why did that contribution post twice? Red
    20th Dec 2019
    A relative of mine married a Kiwi. Lived in NZ for 50 years (so far). Never declared any income. Never paid a cent in Inc. Tax. Gets a universal pension. Clearly I've been doing this 'contribute' thing a-about. Too late now!
    21st Dec 2019
    Can someone explain why Julia Gillard did so much for pensioners, reducing tax thresholds, increasing the default income before tax applies, and increasing pensions. Why did the the Libs howl down a good government? Where are you ScoMO? Are you doing another New Start on pensioners? It's all to do with money. yep, the greedy will always win as they are masters at manipulating the system to their advantage. Must keep the status quo.

    Those who try to change the system are called traitors, trouble makers, communists (1917), renegades, low-life, insurgents, even terrorists. The press is supported by the rich to keep the rest of humanity at bay, otherwise, if you give the poor the same rights, the rich will become poor, so the emphasis is on protesting groups being classed as low class "rabble".

    In the old days, there were generations who did something for their pay, be it digging for coal, cutting timber, sowing seed and producing food, all basically physical work. Today we have "experts" telling us what is good for us, getting paid very high salaries, but doing virtually nothing productive. How clever!

    When the 'born with spoon in mouth' brigade are pushed into a conservative political party, what drives them to suck up to the public, obviously arrogance, media exposure, ego phases and a born to rule philosophy. Wake up Australia! Why can't we get a party that looks after every Australian's needs fairly and equally. Why do we pay taxes (our money) and told how it will be spent, as if we have no say and do not count.

    How about we change the constitution so that politicians must work for their living like everyone else, if they don't attend parliament for a fixed time per year, achieve certain milestones and do what the rest of Australians are under strict control (with pain of dismissal )then they can be sacked and must be re-elected to get their job back.

    I think this will never happen. The founding fathers and subsequent rulers weren't that stupid. They made sure they looked after themselves first. There were no poor or uneducated persons amongst them, not in 1900 anyway.

    We need a third world war, so that enough survivors will come to their senses and start a new world were everyone is equal. Unfortunately this will last a few years and the 'smarts and greedy' will still take control, negating the loss of innocent lives and sacrifices made. Why else are we spending almost as much on defence than almost the pensioner budget combined? We cannot fight a superpower like China when we are outnumbered 100:1. They have Nuclear weapons, nuclear ships, nuclear vehicles, plus a war machine approaching that of the US. The only thing that will save us (aside from US help which is becoming questionable under Trump) is that China's officials will laugh so hard, they will suffer strokes and peace might come. That movie with Peter Sellers is a prime example.

    Why are we (pensioners) so silent on our rights. We all thought Pauline Hanson was a joke some years ago, but her innocent comment "please explain" said a thousand things she didn't even realize her statement meant.
    24th Dec 2019
    A pension is not welfare.

    Now is the season for discontent, so do something about it!
    It is time to kill off this insane hugely expensive pensioner whacking bureaucracy.

    It is time for all of us (yes that means you) to rant at our MPs and Senators daily to take action for human decency and a huge stress reduction for pensioners

    Most economist say we will save taxpayers money by dropping asset testing because of the massive overheads cost in running Centrelink and the 10,000 conflicting rules.

    Hiring more Centrelink staff will only increase taxpayer’s costs for processing the creeping insane red tape monster system politicians and well paid bureaucrats have created.

    Help scrap it now. Become a hero.

    Even the UK and poorer New Zealand has a NO ASSET pension, so it is cheaper and user friendly.

    Why worry that few million$ earners get it too. That is peanuts to them, not enough for a good vintage champagne.

    Do retired and retiring people really look forward and want 100++ visits to/from Centrelink and be hassled by their crazed robo-debt scam and then waste even more time in the 3 million people waiting queues and more lost calls?

    We all (that means you) need to tell our MP and senators every day that these criminal asset tests for a pension must be dropped now.

    Ask your MP do they really like being part of the system that allows this indirect abuse of the elderly?

    This abuse is actually sponsored by our government and forced down to Centrelink and borders on a criminal act.

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