Centrelink Q&A: Does Judy qualify for Newstart?

Illness is pushing Judy out of the workforce, but she cannot yet get an Age Pension.

Does Judy qualify for Newstart?

Judy says she has to retire due to poor health but is not old enough to apply for an Age Pension. She wants to know if she can apply for a Centrelink benefit even though she has $100,000 in superannuation. 


Q. Judy

I am ready to retire for health reasons. I'm not old enough for the Age Pension, but I have $100,000 in super. Can I apply for a Centrelink benefit? Will my super be classed as an asset or income? I do not own a house. 

A. Judy may be eligible for a Newstart allowance. To qualify for Newstart, applicants must be:

  • at least 22 but under Age Pension age
  • looking for paid work
  • under the income and assets test limits
  • prepared to meet mutual obligation requirements.

The maximum fortnightly payment for a single person with no dependent children is $545.80.

The fortnightly income test cut-off for the Newstart allowance is $1139.17 for singles aged 60 and over. The asset test cut-offs for singles is $253,750 for home owners and $456,750 for non home owners.

Centrelink says there are several key commitments to be considered for Newstart. They are:

  • look and apply for jobs as part of your Job Plan
  • attend relevant training
  • report any income for you and your partner
  • tell us about any change to your circumstances. 

Anyone aged 55 and over can receive a Newstart Allowance by participating for at least 30 hours per fortnight in a volunteer activity agreed with your employment service provider or Centrelink, or combining paid part-time work and volunteering activities to a total of at least 30 hours per fortnight. But you will still need to work with an employment service provider, have an Activity Agreement and accept any suitable jobs that are offered to you.

To find out more, visit Centrelink.

Financial disclaimer: All content on the 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 with regard to your circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances. Financial comments provided by readers cannot be relied on as professional advice, but as general comments only. 

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

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



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    East of Toowoomba
    23rd Apr 2018
    She may as well stick to her job as the alternative will be to work just as hard as a volunteer for the much lower income provided by Newstart. At least she won't be called a "dole bludger" if she is working.

    She'd have to be very sick indeed to qualify for a disability pension. Perhaps she should draw down on her super and live off that until she qualifies for the Aged Pension, her lifestyle won't be any worse but she'd have the dignity of not being labelled a "dole bludger".
    23rd Apr 2018
    She did not mention her age so drawing down on super will not last long if she's in her 50s. If have seen what some of the "volunteers" are asked to do and in that East of Toowoomba is correct: She might as well stick to her current job as long as possible. DSP is almost impossible to get as it was too easy in days gone by. The Govt is determined to bring the numbers down
    East of Toowoomba
    23rd Apr 2018
    Another option is to claim sickness support from her Superannuation insurance fund.
    23rd Apr 2018
    No point in retiring to go on Newstart which will mean she needs to look for work. She would do better to reduce her work hours at the current place of employment, unless she can prove she is too sick to work and qualify for disability allowance.I get the impression this is not the case here. Or at least look for other work whilst she still has a job. $100000 in super will not go that far if that is her only income.

    23rd Apr 2018
    Person who has a job want's to quit and go on the dole
    Centrelink should disquialify her from ever getting Newstart
    You are meant to be actively looking for work on Newstart - Judy obviously wont be
    23rd Apr 2018
    Hello? Didn't you read the words "she has to retire due to poor health"? And she said she wanted to apply for "a Centrelink benefit". There are plenty of those. She did NOT say "the dole".
    23rd Apr 2018
    What happened to sickness benefit??????

    23rd Apr 2018
    If she's too ill to work, maybe she's eligible for a Disability Support Pension.
    23rd Apr 2018
    Just try getting that now! I have been helping a single friend having 2nd bout of breast cancer. Has been told that unless it is terminal, she won't get it. And sickness benefit - also jump through hoops. Oops - but is available to asylum seekers....
    23rd Apr 2018
    She can work - she has a job
    You can't get handouts just because you dont feel like going to work
    23rd Apr 2018
    Sunnyoz, do check out the insurance that may be available if your friend has super. A relative of mine was able to get 85% of her income through the super fund while she underwent treatment for cancer
    24th Apr 2018
    She may be able to apply for her super on medical grounds. She can discuss with her specialist.

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