Our Beginner’s Guide helps you navigate the process.
Is it almost time for you to apply for an Age Pension? Do you know how to get started? And when? Do you know where to go? What documents you need?
We can help.
In short, you must be at least 65 years old, meet the income and asset tests and be living in Australia, normally for a minimum of 10 years.
- you can register your intent to apply for the Age Pension 13 weeks before you turn 65
- you don’t need all required documentation just to get your application under way
- you can apply via the Centrelink website, over the phone (call 132 300) or in person at your local Centrelink office.
- you can track your claim online.
You can complete your Age Pension claim online here or by using self-service terminals at your local Centrelink service centre.
If you do not receive any Centrelink payments and never have, you can submit your claim up to 13 weeks before reaching Age Pension age. How long it takes to assess your claim depends on its complexity and the availability of supporting documents.
If you are receiving an income support payment, you can expect to get a letter from Centrelink nine weeks before you reach eligibility age, inviting you to transfer to the Age Pension. You can do this online.
You can start your claim without having all necessary documents, however, to reduce delays you should ensure you submit all required documents within 14 days of starting your claim. This includes submitting the online claim, and any other documents requested. It’s easy to know what documents are required – a checklist is provided after the questions are answered online.
If you haven’t been a Centrelink customer before, you’ll need to apply for a Centrelink Customer Reference Number (CRN) and an online account before you can start your claim. You will need to visit a Centrelink customer service centre to prove your identity and be issued with a CRN. Once you have a CRN, you can create a Centrelink online account.
You will need to link your Centrelink account to your myGov account, which you should have already if you have submitted a tax return online or have had dealings with Medicare. If you don't have a myGov account, you can create one by visiting the mygov site.
The online claim system means you can claim at a time and place that suits you. It also features a claim tracker, which enables you to track the progress of your claim through your Centrelink online account or Express Plus mobile app.
Anyone who has difficulty with the online claim form can ask for help. Staff are available in service centres and over the phone on the Older Australians line – 13 2300 – to guide claimants through the process.
It’s also important to note the ongoing changes to the pension eligibility age.
People who were born on or after 1 July, 1952, will need to be aged 65 years and six months before being eligible, and the pension age will then go up by six months every two years until 1 July, 2023, when the Age Pension eligibility age will be 67.
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