Beginner’s Guide: How to apply for an Age Pension

Our Beginner’s Guide helps you navigate the process.

How to apply for an Age Pension

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.

The YourLifeChoices RetirePlanner tool takes the guesswork out of all things retirement. It is available for $29.95.

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    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    Cheezil61
    21st Mar 2018
    12:13pm
    Hhmm .. so if I lose my job or wanna retire (yer haha or be forced to retire in poor health) before I'm 65 (in 2026) I will have to live on fresh air (if it's still free by then)? Not much of an outlook! Worked my arse off all my life (mostly single parenting) & still don't own this dodgey old house myself yet, does not leave many options, does it (early grave will save govt some money I guess at least) :(
    Rae
    21st Mar 2018
    12:25pm
    You'll get there. Keep pumping that mortgage.

    I gave up life for a few years to get mine paid off. Bought nothing except actual needs. It was terrible but it worked.

    Watch your health though. The actual paying not much but the mortgage period was actually good for my health as I took up walking, swimming and reading free books from the library and growing salads from seed. All healthy stuff.

    I worked until 65. Once I wrapped my head around the needing to I actually changed my attitude and it wasn't that bad.

    Half the battle is not getting upset by lousy management decisions. You have to wonder where they find the managers and why they are so lacking in experience and common sense.
    Cheezil61
    21st Mar 2018
    1:00pm
    Such lovely kind & wise words, thanks Rae!
    Cowboy Jim
    21st Mar 2018
    1:09pm
    Remember the Mature Age Allowance for the case Cheezil61 described - what did actually happen to that? Knew a few blokes years ago who got that in their late 50s, was not as good as Age Pension but better than the Dole.
    Cheezil61
    21st Mar 2018
    9:24pm
    Thanks CJim; don't think I've heard of that payment, be interesting to find outt! Sure as hell can't keep working 12hr alternating shifts (3 x 12 on weekends & 2 x 12 during the week; nights & wkends really suck at 57yrs old!) Need the $ like everyone else does tho.
    Rae
    22nd Mar 2018
    8:03am
    I'd go see an accountant. There may be some senior offsets that help with tax refunds. You may also be able to retire and pay out the mortgage and then return to casual shifts depending on your job.

    It might work after you turn 60.

    12 hour shifts sounds like nursing and there is always casual work somewhere for a good nurse.

    Investigate all your options.
    Cheezil61
    22nd Mar 2018
    11:02pm
    Great tips thanks..not nursing lol..machinery operator (blokey job)
    Cheezil61
    22nd Mar 2018
    11:02pm
    Great tips thanks..not nursing lol..machinery operator (blokey job)
    Cowboy Jim
    21st Mar 2018
    1:14pm
    My wife insisted getting the paper version recently and it was quite straight forward to fill in.
    Of course if you have a lot of chattels and treasures it might be a bit more complicated. She
    filled the forms in just 4 weeks before her birthdate. Was told 13 weeks (as stated in above article) was way too early in today's electronic age, haha!
    Cheezil61
    21st Mar 2018
    9:26pm
    That's awesome, hope it works out alright for her & good luck dealing with the lovely Centrelink
    Bren
    22nd Mar 2018
    12:26pm
    Since July 1st 2017 there are no more people left who will get the pension at 65. So contrary to your first paragraph you must be at least 65years 6 months to be eligible to apply for the OAP. As noted this will increase in increments every 2 years until it reaches 67 years - and probably beyond!!
    madashell
    1st Apr 2018
    4:08pm
    I am as mad as hell.
    Aged 78
    On return from a stint overseas (mostly in New Zealand) last July I applied correctly with CentreLink staff help for the Aged (Seniors) Pension.
    "It ought to come through" they told me then "within a month or so"
    How long does the automated IT "system" take for an application like mine take to aid my hard times at this age - until I'm dead?
    No thanks now is good.
    That's why "I'm madashell. !!!


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