Can you claim Newstart while taking money from super?

Iris hasn’t reached retirement age but is ready to stop working. So what are her options?

Iris hasn’t reached retirement age but is ready to stop working. So what are her options?


Q. Iris
I am 61 years of age and still working full time. Because I was born in 1957, I know that I am not entitled to a full pension until I’m 67 years of age. My question is: if I retired at 63 years of age, could I get Newstart, which I believe is around $15,000 per year and use $15,000 of my super to give me approximately $30,000 per year to live on? Would I be able to do this for four years until I am of full pension age?

A. You may be entitled to the Newstart Allowance, although this is usually only granted to those actively looking for employment. 

In September 2018, the Government strengthened participation requirements for some people receiving an unemployment payment, including mature age Australians. These changes to participation requirements recognise that many older Australians are working longer. The changes are aimed at encouraging more mature age people to actively undertake activities to improve their chances of getting into paid employment and off welfare, particularly in their first 12 months on payment when they are more likely to have recent workforce experience. Annual activity requirements of 10 hours per fortnight have been introduced for those aged between 60 and the Age Pension age.

As you are over 60, you will also be able to draw down on some of your super, but you should book an appointment to visit a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer to find out exactly how this and your other income and assets will affect any Newstart payment. You can book an appointment by calling 13 2300.

If you have a Centrelink question, please send it to and we’ll do our best to answer it for you.

Are you eligible for an Age Pension? Do you know your rights? The PensionChecker™ tool has all the information you need.


    Disclaimer: All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer, financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.


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    25th Feb 2019
    Having just recently been through this - you do not just automatically get, or go on Newstart. You have to be actively looking for work, and register with a Job Support Provider, until you reach OAP eligibility age. Also not sure where you get the amount of $15,000 from..Newstart full amount for a single is around $520 p/f. Makes that around $13700 per year.
    Because I was struggling, I took out a lump sum from Super - only a small amount, but it worked against me, and my Newstart was lowered. If the money is in super before your OAP due date, Centrelink cannot take it into account. The minute you start taking some out - bad luck. I learnt the hard way.
    almost a grey hair
    25th Feb 2019
    You could have avoided this by spending $40 on Nick Bruinings book which has been recently updated. Also check out the calculators at. Arm yourself with as much credible information as possible and you can stay on the legal and correct side of the line. After all we don't make the rules we just have to use the rules to get in the best possible position for ourselves.
    25th Feb 2019
    but your Newstart will return to usual level as you spend your lump sum?
    almost a grey hair
    25th Feb 2019
    You must be either actively seeking employment or do volunteer work 30hrs a fortnight to get the rock n roll. You can't just simply give up work and go surfing eh what do you think this is.
    My wife is in a similar position. Has been thinking about retiring (I already have at 63) but after realising she would have to volunteer 30 hrs per f/n she said she would be better staying at work on $40 per hour and I take a bit of cream off the top of mine as still in accumulation phase. Whatever you do I would seek fin advice as if you purchase an allocated pension c/link classes it as as regular income and may reduce any Newstart payment you might be entitled to, but you can still take a bit of cream off the top of your accumulation fund.
    almost a grey hair
    25th Feb 2019
    As what happened to sunny up above
    25th Feb 2019
    That's right you have to actively look for work and are not entitle to NSA if you left your job.
    25th Feb 2019
    I made the oap cut off by 3 days 1952 but my wife is 3 yrs younger so she has to go to 661/2 yrs of age . I looked at Newstart as she was worried at her not contributing to the finances . She is not of robust health and is a type 1 diabetic so I said there was no way I was going to have her walking around to 20 businesses a month looking for work or indeed standing for 30 hoipirs in voluntary work either . She has worked hard and raised a family but fallen through the cracks but we will survive .
    25th Feb 2019
    Thanks Spud, your practical answer embodies the Australian spirit that we all know and love. There are too many people looking for ways to rip off the government (taxpayer?).
    25th Feb 2019
    Businesses must be rolling in money from all this volunteering 30 hours a week. Why can't they employ the people they need and we wouldn't have unemployment. It's a crazy system.

    People ripping off the taxpayer and bosses ripping off the workers. What a dreadful situation.
    25th Feb 2019
    Rae it is 15 hours a week, and yes I agree, if the work is there why not pay them, but that goes the same for any work for the dole schemes. Many op shops these days employ people but it used to be that it was staffed by retired people. So now many are full of people doing their 15 hours a week.
    Chris B T
    25th Feb 2019
    Before OAP Super isn't counted as a income or asset unless Drawing Down.
    After OAP Qualifying age and Claiming, It Is.
    Depending on your Total Amount In Super, you can Draw down Less Than Interest Paid to your fund you can go on forever and still increase Total.
    If it isn't Maybe it will allow you to Receive OAP/Part OAP when you become eligible by decreasing the Total.
    All Depends on Your Total and Than Mind Set to Allow Yourself This Opportunity.
    The other is Beholding To Centrelink and so called Actively Looking For Work or filling/passing time in 15 hour/week Voluntary Work.(Some don't mind others it is like having teeth pulled out)
    Just an option out there.
    27th Feb 2019
    Wow this is cryptic answer which i will read a few more times to try to get my head around it as it might be worthwhile for me too if i understand/get a grasp on what it is you are saying
    East of Toowoomba
    25th Feb 2019
    No one seems to have picked up on the fact that you have to declare yourself retired and not working or looking for work in order to claim your Super. Thus you can't rock up to Centrelink the next week and claim the dole, because it is only paid to people who want to work and are actively looking for work.

    You can't claim the dole when you're actually "retired" as declared by you when you drew down your Super.
    26th Feb 2019
    Well, yes you can. Declare yourself retired, at that point in time. take your super. A little later, get a job and you still keep the super. That’s how the system is structured.
    25th Feb 2019
    Seems to me Iris wants her cake and eat it too, you can't do both, just work part time instead.Those over 50 only have to do 15 hours of approved activity but not necessarily look for work at 20 jobs per week.

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