Wealthy qualify for Age Pension under new rules

Aussie pensioners have just received the biggest pension increase in a decade and more retirees than ever will qualify for at least a part Age Pension.

This week, the rate for Australia’s age, disability and veterans pensions goes up by $20.10 per fortnight to $987.60 for singles and by $15.10 for each person in a couple for a total of $1488.80 per fortnight.

The generous increase is the largest in more than a decade and includes an increased assets test limit that will result in thousands more qualifying for the pension.

Read: ‘Will my mother lose her pension?’

For a couple who own their own home, the assets cut-off point for receiving any pension is now $901,500, an increase of $10,000.

As your primary residence is exempt from the assets test, this means a couple with more than $1 million in total assets (including the home) now qualifies for the pension. For non-home owning couples, the assets limit is now $1,118,000.

The property boom in Australia over the past 10 years, but particularly over the past two, has vastly increased the number of ‘millionaire’ retirees.

These ‘millionaires’ will now be able to claim at least a part pension, despite their wealth and assets. Although it may just be a part payment, retirees still get more from the pension than just a payment.

Read: Are interest-free loans considered gifting by Centrelink?

Qualifying for the Age Pension provides cheaper access to medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and discounts on utility bills, council rates and transport through the Pensioner Concession Card.

Retirees only need to receive $1 in a pension payment to be eligible for a concession card.

With cost of living pressures accumulating, even more so because of the situation in Ukraine and lingering effects of the pandemic, adding a pension payment to your budget makes sound financial sense for a lot of retirees.

Read: How early do we have to sell investments to claim the Age Pension?

But Tribeca Financial CEO Ryan Watson told the Herald Sun that many retirees don’t realise they qualify for the pension.

“We see quite a few people who think that they actually aren’t eligible for at least a part Age Pension,” he says.

“But, with the right advice and guidance, a part pension can become possible for some and it can make such a difference to their quality of life.”

Superannuation funds, particularly self-managed funds, have had a horror start to 2022, and returns are expected to be down this year, adding even more pressure to retiree budgets.

If you’ve never qualified for the pension, it’s time to check if you’re now eligible.

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Written by Brad Lockyer

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